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During gift-giving occasions, such as Christmas or birthdays, readers can seem as though they are a low-stress recipient. After all, you can always buy them a book. But if that reader already has a well-stocked library or very specific tastes, shopping for a reader may be just as difficult as an out of touch great aunt trying to purchase a gift for a teen girl. What do they have? What do they like? Maybe they are a through and through literary snob, only reading the great classics. Maybe they read everything they can get their hands on, so who knows what they have and what they don’t have. Maybe their tastes are so specific that you are sure they are making up genres when they describe what it is they like. How many steam-punk dystopian lgbtq coming-of-age novels could there possibly be?
It may be tempting to just purchase a gift card to a book store or grab something off the bestseller list and hope for the best, but that removes most of the fun of gift giving – finding that perfect present for someone. By focusing on the personality of the reader, rather than the books, you will be able to find the perfect gift to make a bookworm’s day very bright.
Even if books and reading are a person’s great love, it isn’t their only love. They will have other interests and hobbies. You can combine two of their pastimes by gifting them a book about their interests. It could be a how-to or reference manual for a technical hobby they have such as model building or quilting, or a cookbook for the budding chef. A beautiful coffee table book of paintings for the art aficionado or a travelogue for the wanderer will inspire them in their passions. There’s an endless catalog of non-fiction books for any interest a person may have: military history, transcendental meditation, urban planning, you can find interesting and informative books on all of these subjects and more. You can also find books to help tech them a new skill such as coding, the basics of a foreign language, or how to do yoga. If an interest exists, chances are that someone has written a book about it.
The Local Loyalist
Do you know a reader who haunts the weekend farmer’s markets looking for locally grown produce and goods from local artisans? Is buying seasonal and sustainable the guiding principle of every purchase they make? Those readers would probably be thrilled to receive a new work from a local writer. Your city or state should have a writer’s guild that either publishes a list or can inform you of recently published works by local authors. You may introduce them to a new writer they had never heard of before and help them discover the next big thing in the world of publishing.
It will not require in-depth probing on your part to discover what a reader’s favorite book was when they were a child. In fact, if you ask what books they loved when they were younger, you will likely get a long list in return. It could have been the Harry Potter or the Narnia series. It may have been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little House on the Prairie, or the Phantom Tollbooth. Whatever the book or books the reader loved as a kid they probably still hold in a special place in their heart. A beautifully bound version of their favorite book from when they were a child will be a gift that would be cherished by any reader. This gift, in particular, is one that would be ideal for giving to a romantic partner. You gain extra brownie points for listening.
Many owners of an e-reader still maintain a large collection of physical books, even having both physical and digital copies of the same book: One for display, and one that is portable. This author first deigned to purchase an e-reader to help contain the hoard of books taking over my home. It has not helped. For this and other reasons, many readers have their entire collection of books on their e-readers. Choosing digital books for gifts is no different than choosing physical copies, but with e-readers having the advantage of subscription services. Though, like a gift card, this may not be the personal gift you may wish to give, Amazon offers the ability to purchase subscriptions through either Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime that offer unlimited downloads for a monthly fee. And for any reader, “unlimited” books are the best kind of books.
If you are still utterly stumped by what book to get your book lover as a gift, reading accessories would be just as appreciated. A beautiful bookmark made from sturdy material to replace all of those receipts and slips of paper tucked between pages, or more than one for those who have more than one book on the go at a time, would make a great gift. An attractive protective cover for their e-reader adds a personal flair to their device while having them think of you every time they use it. A clip-on light would be ideal for those who like to read under the covers. Gifts that create a bookish atmosphere can create an oasis for the reader to relax and feel at home. An “antique book” scented candle that captures that subtle spicy and vanilla/cinnamon scent of old books, book themed art on the walls such as a print of a vintage book cover, or a photograph of a row of orange-spined Penguin soft cover classics create the scene. Add in a great book, a cozy throw, and a rainy day and you have heaven for a reader.
As with any gift, it is truly the thought that counts. Any book or book accessory given from the heart and with the best intentions is sure to be appreciated by the readers in your life.