Friday, December 9, 2011

Do Books Make Great Gifts?

Books can make wonderful gifts...or not. It depends on the recipient. Since I'm a writer and I get happy heart flutters in a bookstore, I naturally gravitate to giving books as gifts. This season is no exception.

Jody Hedlund, in her excellent blog post, "Even Though Free Is In, Don't Forget to Buy Books Too," reminds us that with all of the free books available (either from giveaways, promotional e-books, or self-published promotions) we should support authors by purchasing their books. I agree. My budget is tight, and I don't buy a ton of new books, but whenever possible I try to buy copies of books from authors I like. I recently purchased A Log Cabin Christmas as a gift because I knew Erica Vetsch, Michelle Ule, and Liz Johnson had contributed novellas, plus, the recipient enjoys the genre.

But are books always appreciated as a gift? The Wall Street Journal featured a lively article by Cynthia Crossen, with great tips, titled, "Giving Books for the Holidays." Ms. Crossen recommends bundling books with something related to make the present more meaningful.

Both Jody and Cynthia got me thinking about my outlook on books as gifts. I keep in mind the following questions.

1. Does this person enjoy reading?
2. With fiction, is the genre something this person normally reads or might read?
3. Would the recipient find the book insulting in any way? (You never know!)

If you truly want to share the joy of reading but have no idea what book to purchase, give a gift card. I recently received a Barnes and Noble gift card and have been saving it for a long afternoon of browsing and shopping. What a treat!

And we have a winner of Linda Glaz's Polar Bear Plunge!! Congratulations, K. B. Owen!! You won!! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Do you ever purchase books as gifts?

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. I do when I know the person will like it. But I don't just buy books b/c I love books. Some people don't get that excited about them. Depends on the person and if I can find the right book!

  2. Great post, Jill! I like to give books, but I like to take time and care in picking them out.

  3. Yep! I purchase books to those I know love to read and I know what genres they like. Most friends trust me not to steer them wrong. My DH doesn't like to read, but I am buying him the Tim Tebow book, because I'm 99.9 % sure he'll read and enjoy that one!

    Great post!

  4. I love buying books for gifts and have already purchased several to give as Christmas presents. But you're so right--like any gift, we have to consider whether the recipient will like it. Some people just aren't readers (which shocks me...but it's true!)

  5. I have a couple on my list that enjoy reading, and, yes, I will buy them books for gifts.

  6. Good morning!

    Laura: So true! I don't always know what genre a person likes to read. I would probably pick up a gift card instead of randomly guessing!

    Katie: Taking care and time to select? Words of wisdom, my friend!

    Jessica P: Great call! My DH is not a reader either, but like yours, certain biographies are appreciated. I know he'll love the Tebow book!

    Elizabeth: I know, shivers just crawled over my back at the thought. :( My kids went through phases where they no longer felt like reading. I switched up the reading medium--my DD read some Anime, and my DS read graphic novels--within a few months they were hooked on novels again. That had no bearing on your comment--I must feel like gabbing today!! Ha!

    Susan M: Ooo, nice! I love buying books, and I get really excited to give them, too!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. I always *ask* for books as gifts, but rarely give them unless it's something that I loved and know the other person would too. Otherwise I just ask people if they want to borrow the books I loved, because it seems like a less-intrusive way to get them to read the books I love.

  8. Such excellent points, Jill! I love books, giving and receiving them, but realize that not everyone does. Fortunately, most of my loved ones adore books. I seek out books that they will enjoy and, ideally, are meaningful to me or our relationship in some way.

    For those who don't dig books, I often give other story-based gifts like movies, audio books, photographs, etc.

    Thanks for the great links!

  9. Absolutely and I'm not shy about Merry Christmas to me book buying either. ;)

    ~ Wendy

  10. Books are always a hit with my grandkids who love to read. For the adults, I get gift cards so they can have the fun of going to a bookstore.

  11. Yes! I've already purchased several, Jill! I'm so blessed to have a family full of readers, and there's nothing that tickles me more than to support the authors I love and then share them with others.

  12. I love giving books as gifts. There are several under our tree this year, and I'm giving some to friends as well. To celebrate the end of her quarter at college, I purchased two e-books for our daughter, which were sent to my Kindle she's borrowing over her break. In between shifts at Target down there in her college town she can enjoy reading, one of her favorite pastimes.

  13. My family is huge on wanting books for Christmas and other occasions. What I do is get a list of what they want and then choose the books off the list because it's easy and I get to go to a bookstore and drool.

  14. Rebecca: I share my books too! And I'm blessed to have a sister-in-law who does the same. :)

    August: Great idea! It's part of the holiday fun to match gifts to the recipient's personality, don't you think?

    Wendy: I hear you! I'm eagerly waiting for vacation--a time to sleep, read, and gain five pounds. :)

    Em: I love buying picture books for my youngest family members--there are some amazing books!

    Cynthia: I'm blessed too! So glad my family loves to read. :)

    Keli: Wonderful! Does your daughter tell you how the book was after she read it? I love talking books!

    Nancy: You are so smart! It takes the guesswork out. Nice!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. I purchase books for specific people. For some I just get gift cards to the book store so that they can pick their own. I feel like I'm still encouraging literacy that way! :)

  16. Most of the gifts I give, particularly for Christmas, are books. Most of them are non-fiction though (also including photographic and joke books) as I generally don't presume what fiction people will like. For my nieces I do buy story books - I have a cupboard of books waiting to gift them!

  17. Hi Jill -

    When I give books, I try to find out the individual's taste and possibly their favorite author.

    Susan :)

  18. Jennifer: I'm the same way. I love spreading words around as gifts. :)

    Charlotte: Same here! I'm giving three non-fiction, one fiction, and one gift card this year!

    Susan: What a thoughtful idea! Books by a favorite author are always appreciated!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  19. i do all the time. sometimes not fiction, though. like i bought my dad a turntable saw book for last year. and i got my husband a devotional last year, too. mom always gets books, usually regifted, though, from something i already bought and enjoyed and wanted her to read (and also didn't want it to collect on my shelves). i love getting books, but i love getting itunes or amazon giftcards even while i don't ask for specific books anymore b/c i don't want paper copies, i DO ask for giftcards. :)

  20. Great post. I give a lot of books.. but lately I've realised they might not always be the best gift for the recipient! :)

  21. Hi Jill--my husband & I decided years ago that, since I'm a writer, we should be the book-giving aunt & uncle of the family--even though not every niece or nephew is as much a bookaholic as I am. It's been a fun challenge to locate books that will engage even the non-readers in the bunch. I admit we strike out some of the time, but for the most part we've been able to find titles that fit the recipient.

    That's my favorite type of gift to give and receive: one that surprises with delight, because you wouldn't have thought of it yourself. :)


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