Choosing a meaningful gift for a booklover should be an easy task, but it can be a challenge to pick the right one. If you want a gift that shows you are putting some thought into the choice, you will need to stretch your inventiveness and look outside the usual bookstore bestseller racks.
Choosing a gift for someone who likes books usually relies on one of two categories. The first category is a book. The second category is a gift which leads to more enjoyment of the book. Your gift of a book might be enjoyed once or many times, the gift of a non-book item brings even more pleasure.
A person who loves books is rarely going to be unhappy with a gift that recognises their love of reading. The challenge lies in picking something that is not already on their reading shelf. Here are some ideas for finding a great gift for a booklover.
Five Great Tips to Choose a Book For a Booklover
While books are the obvious answer as a gift for a booklover, you certainly don’t want to hand your book-loving friend a beautifully wrapped duplicate of a volume they have already read. An understanding of what they are reading and what they are not at all interested in is a good starting place. At a minimum you can identify whether you should look at fiction, biography, history, or self-help/inspirational titles to make a good choice.
Check out their bookshelf
If you have access to their library/bookshelves and if they are organized, you can tell a lot about a person by the titles which are currently being read or collected. Look for patterns in their selections. This might include favorite authors, topics, or titles. If you see a long stretch of bookshelves which contains only books by James Patterson, you can consider that a missing title in one of his series would be of interest to a fan. If you see works from Maya Angelou, for example, a copy of her memoirs or a collection of her quotes might be appreciated.
Link to a life event
Booklovers are also part of wider life experience as well. Sometimes an event such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or the start of a new career can be a way to find a book that is appropriate for the time. Such books can provide comfort, instruction, or inspiration for the recipient.
Another way to provide a new book title for a booklover is to enroll them in one of the numerous book subscription plans. One of the most long-running plans is Book of the Month, which features a huge selection of titles and genres from which to choose. The gift subscription is good for three months, six months, or one year and the recipient of the gift can choose a title which meets their current interests or level of understanding.
If your friend is into a particular genre, such as cookbooks (Hard Cover Cook), mysteries (The Poisoned Pen), or science fiction( Cratejoy.com), there are subscription services which focus on specific classifications of books.
Other subscription-type book programs are narrower in scope, or are designed to be applied on a specific device. Audible is a good example of a format-specific subscription service. The recipient of the gift can choose from the titles available as part of a three, six, or twelve-month gift subscription. In each of these formats, thousands of titles are available from which to choose.
Digital media is another option where gift subscriptions are available. Kindle Unlimited offers a monthly subscription plan which provides access to hundreds of e-books at a reasonable rate. Choosing one of these alternative plans for gifting may be just the approach to ensure that the recipient of the gift is getting a book that they really are interested in.
The subscription approach is particularly appropriate for those who don’t have time to visit a bookstore. It is important to check the fine print on gift subscriptions. Some book club items are published in a less costly format, but still are appropriate for a reader who can’t get enough books to feed their reading habit. The subscription plans are well-suited to age-appropriate gifts. Book subscription services come in Children’s, Teens, and Young Adult categories, as well as those suited for readers of history, graphic novels, or romance.
Make a trip to a bookstore
A joint excursion to a bookstore with the promise of choosing the favorite book of the moment is another way to make the gift memorable. The reader can spend quality time browsing in their favorite genre, and in the end the book they select becomes a gift from you that fits their interest at the time.
What to gift someone who inspires you?
If you want to recognize the presence of a booklover in your life, it is a way of saying ‘thank you for being you’. Finding a book that recognizes their role is not difficult. The person might be a teacher, mentor, parent, or someone else entirely. The timing of the gift can be any occasion which has meaning to the recipient or to you. In this instance of giving, the choice of a book is more likely to be something that has meaning to you, and expresses gratitude for the inspiration they have provided in your life, work, or activities.
Four Tips to Choose a Non-Book for a Booklover
Anyone who loves books probably has many of them in one format or another. When choosing a booklover’s gift but ruling out books, you are only limited by your imagination. Various non-book gifts are designed to make owning books, reading books, and immersing yourself in books a premier experience. You can give a gift of storing, owning, reading in comfort, or visiting a book-related location as part of your gift-giving opportunity.
Give a place to store their books
Most readers who have physical copies of books struggle with a way to store them so they are protected, but accessible. A review of the online options for bookcases reveals many clever, unique and space-saving ways to incorporate a place to put more books without adding a room to their house. Decorative wall shelves are one way to add shelf space without a bulky bookshelf. This tip may be dependent upon creating a more permanent book wall, but it is one way to help a booklover with managing the physical placement of their book collection.
Identifying ownership of the books
If your booklover friend is serious about ownership of the books in his or her collection, giving unique gifts that identify who owns the books is a helpful idea. Give bookplates which have their name, and yours as well if you like–something along the lines of ‘Presented to my book-loving friend on the occasion of her birthday 2022 by Fellow Bibliophile’. These book plates can be as elaborate or as plain as you wish.
Similar ownership ideas include decorative bookmarks of paper or more durable materials. You can easily have a unique bookmark designed at a local printer, or by using one of the mini-gig sites online. The use of unique book jackets is another way to provide protection for the books being read, while identifying the owner.
Curling up in a comfortable location with the latest book offers a multitude of ideas for non-book gifts. Think about clothing, lighting, throw blankets or furniture, and snacks to go along with the reading experience. If their choice of books is audio, a good quality set of headphones might make a good gift. Book-themed clothing is as close as your screen printing shop. You can also choose from items which are available by the dozens such as t-shirts, leggings, socks, and more. A simple search using the keywords ‘literary clothing’ will give you ideas of your own.
Food and books are a comfort pairing that can lead to some gift ideas. Think about a literary themed mug along with some tea or coffee options. Some home-baked (or bakery-produced) pastries in a book-themed tin, or a bottle of wine with a book on wine country is a wonderful way to find a gift idea.
Trip to a book-related location
For a booklover, an in-person excursion to one of the historical locations linked to a favorite novel or author might be a gift of a lifetime. Some of literary location ideas found by searching online include:
- Concord, Massachusetts is where you will find Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house, the birthplace of Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond State Reservation within a few miles of one another. Right in the midst of them is the Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott lived and wrote Little Women.
- Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California offers tours of more than 47 acres where London lived and farmed during the last decade of his short life. London called the site “Beauty Ranch,” and it was there that he pioneered organic farming and humane livestock techniques that are still being written about a century later.
- At the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., visitors get the chance to tour the restored historic home and see many of Douglass’s belongings, including his desk, his violin and the small stone hut where he often worked.
- The Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota is the site of her ‘‘Little Town on the Prairie’ book. This family-friendly attraction includes covered-wagon rides, hay twisting, wheat grinding, corncob-doll and jump-rope crafts, washboard practice and a visit to a frontier-style one-room schoolhouse.
- Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Lounge in New Orleans is associated with several literary giants, including Tennessee Williams, Richard Ford and Truman Capote.
The power of a gift
The old saying ‘It’s the thought that counts’ is true, but there is no reason why the thought can’t show up in the gift of a book or an associated item to someone who loves to read. Demonstrating that you care enough to choose something that fits the lifestyle and interests of your friend or family member is a gift that will be long remembered.