Bookish Rants and Raves: Book Gifting!

Filed in Bookish Rant or Raves , The Needy Lover Posted on June 21, 2012 @ 12:00 pm 12 comments

“Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a book and he’ll teach himself how to fish.”

…isn’t that how the saying goes? No? Oh, well. Close enough.

You’ve recommended books to friends and book buddies before, right? Being a bookish lot, we are all likely to partake in gushing about beloved books and ranting about reads that didn’t resonate. Heck, it’s sort of what the book blogging community is all about.

Buying books for other people, however, seems to be a whole other ballgame. I must admit that I absolutely love giving books (or even magazine subscriptions) as presents; if I even suspect you’re a casual reader, I’m getting you a book for a birthday/Christmas/random day present. This means my friends and family members that like to read are some of my favorite people to gift shop for. It’s so fun getting to contribute to something that can become an opportunity to connect through a shared pastime. It’s also comforting to know that a friend/family member can appreciate the magic and entertainment that a book can bring. Not to mention the fun of getting to do what you do anyway: check out books.

Of course, buying for a person who loves to read can also be a curse if that individual is a voracious and prolific reader…because they’ll likely have read anything you get for ’em. ^_^ Case in point–I recently went book shopping for a family friend, one who reads widely and has done so all his life (which is now past 60 years). Knowing that he likes history, I got an interesting yet obscure-ish title, confident he couldn’t possibly have read the book. WRONG. 🙂 Not only had he read the book, it was also one of his favorites. D’oh!

That, my friends, is why Goodreads is great. Why Amazon wishlists are fabulous. Failing those, it’s all about old-fashioned asking around for good material. Or just getting a gift card. ^_^

There are some people in my life that I know will not touch a book to save their lives. Obviously, they are exempt from the “auto-book” rule…mostly. In such cases, oversized clothing or loads of extra socks is the way to go. ^_^ And even then, I’ll never give up the quest to find “the book” that transcends reading tendencies. (I’ve found that humorous books are a good way to go with many friends. The book 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, by The Oatmeal, is a good go-to choice for people who “don’t like to read.”) In my opinion, everyone likes to read–some people just don’t realize it. ^_^

So, do tell. Do you gift books often? For whom? When you do, how do you determine what to get for the gift recipient? Do you like being the recipient of books as gifts, or do you prefer to buy your own reads?

About Alisha

Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • Susi June 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    My sis usually has the same problem with bf- he reads so many different things she is never sure what to buy him. So she buys the quirky stuff. Well quirky for bf (e.g. Bukowski, Nick Cave, Hornby and stuff like that aka no scifi or fantasy). He loves it and reads them all. I’m not so easy to please so she gets a wishlist from me each year. 😉

    • draconismoi June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      I get a lot of books about dragons. Which is awesome. Because you can never have too many.

  • LSUReader June 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I prefer getting Amazon gift cards–I’ll use them for KIndle books.

    I do love giving books, especially to kids and new parents. These are safe choices! There are a few adults I’ll give books to, but as you mentioned, there is a need to be very careful in choices.

  • draconismoi June 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I am not a fan of getting book gift cards. They are never for places I want to shop. I don’t know HOW many times I’ve told people about BookDepository, but all I ever get are gift cards for Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Both of which I refuse to buy from.

    If you want to give me books, I ALWAYS have a list. Of ISBN numbers. On a moment’s notice I could provide a list of at least 50 different books I would be happy to receive. But no one ever asks. They always go with the “you’ve probably already read it excuse.”

    There are so many books out there, that the odds you manage to focus on one they’ve already read is highly unlikely. The only time I’ve run into this problem is when buying a book in a series I know the person is already reading. I’ve learned not to do that. I know they like X series, so why not introduce them to series Z?

    I am a HUGE book-gifter. Always gifting books. At baby showers? Yes. Weddings? Yes. Birthdays? Yes. Because-I-Saw-This-Book-And-You-Needed-It? Yes.

    I have some standards that I keep buying and gifting people:

    New parents get a copy of “I’d Really Like to Eat a Child.”

    5/6-year-olds get the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. (And their parents get instructions to read a chapter a night with them. It’s never too early to indoctrinate about dragons. Or rudimentary feminism.)

    17 year old girls get Cunt.

    As for the rest….depends on the person. Books follow personalities.

  • Susan June 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I HATE for people to give me books. I have pretty broad tastes, but I’ve rarely received a book I actually wanted to read (or if I did want to read it, I already owned it). I’ve received some pretty horrendous books, too. It wouldn’t be so bad if the well-meaning book-givers wouldn’t keep asking if I’ve gotten around to reading their gift and what did I think of it. Sigh. I have one friend who, during the many years that I’ve known her, has read two books: Twilight and 50SOG. The last book she gave me was a self-help by Dr. Phil’s wife. 0-o Seriously, what do you do? Thank them nicely and hope they don’t do the pop quiz thing.

    By the same token, I don’t give many books. The ones I do give aren’t usually literature, either. I give coffee table books, cookbooks, the complete Calvin & Hobbes set, stuff like that. And anytime I give a gift, book or otherwise, I always tell the recipient to feel free to regift with no heartache or offense on my part. If they don’t like the gift, I’d rather it go to someone who might appreciate it.

    (This sounds pretty mean, doesn’t it?)

    • draconismoi June 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Nope. Books are generally a communal gift in my mind. You never know who will end up with it.

      I gave my cousin a copy of The Hunger Games for x-mas. Her mother took it first to read. Then her dad. Then the movie came out and she had to fight for possession with her sister. Now the sister-in-law has it and the original giftee still hasn’t finished.

  • Diane June 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I continually gift books to my children and my friends; my children are easy, they come right out and tell me what they want to read; my friends usually have wish list set up that I can look up and see what they want. That works for me…

  • miki June 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    i give books to my mother and brother and that’s quite easy for me because i’m the keeper of their list ^^ ( i took the time to put all the title by author in a book that i took with me when shopping)
    i love receiving book but ity’s true that it more difficult for them to offer me something so i made list for them to choose from .

  • Arianne June 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I like being gifted books in the genre I like to read.

    As for giving books, I give books that I don’t particularly enjoy away or if I know one of my friends might enjoy it, I give it to them.

  • aurian June 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I never get any books anymore, because I always buy and pre-order whatever I want. My late boss gave me a book each year for my birthday, and it never ever was something I was interested in. So each year, I exchanged it at the bookstore for something else, they never made a problem of that.
    I have no idea if the Bookdepository actually has gift cards though … have to look into that … if so, I will email a link to my family and friends 🙂

  • aurian June 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I also dont buy books for adults. I do spoil my nieces and nephews with books though. I am so happy they have gotten the reading gene 🙂

  • Sheree June 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I give books to kids, not so much the adults, unless I know they want a certain book/genre. For instance, I give signed cookbooks by local chefs to a friend who then gives them to his wife on special occasions. Other than that, grownups are on their own.

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.