What Are The Best Gifts for Book Lovers?
We probably all have one of them on our list: Somebody who loves books. Buying a gift for these folks ought to be easy: Trip off to the local book store and buy a copy of the latest by their favorite author. Right?
Think about it. If it's that easy, then everybody shopping for that person is going to be doing the same thing. For example, anyone shopping for me might stop off at Barnes & Noble and pick up a copy of Finders Keepers (at the time of writing, Stephen King's latest novel) for me this holiday season.
I'd be disappointed, of course. First of all, I haven't read Mr. Mercedes. Second of all, many of my friends and family members may attempt to do the same thing in the hopes of pleasing me.
Never allow yourself to become convinced that someone is easy to shop for. If they're too easy, then you're doing it wrong. (This is why I feel everyone should create a holiday wishlist, by the way).
First and Foremost: Know Your Reader!
The most important thing about giving any gift to a loved one is to understand the person you're shopping for. When you're shopping for somebody who loves to read, this means knowing a few things about their reading habits. For example, you might start out by asking yourself the following:
- When does he read? (Nighttime readers might like a book light, or a Kindle Paperwhite with it's glow.)
- Where does she read? (If she reads on the bus on her way to work, she might like a bag to carry her books.)
- What does he read? (If he enjoys biographies, he may enjoy supplemental documentaries.)
- Why does she read? (If she reads because she's a student, she might like some study supplies to make it easier.)
- How does he read? (If he reads on an eReader, does he need an upgrade, or maybe a case to protect it?)
You're going to be looking for gifts that supplement the love of reading and which balance it (don't worry! I'll help!) and therefore you should consider all the major questions about your loved one's reading habits. You will find that these answers help you to decide on the best gift (hint: It's not another book by their favorite author; They probably already have that!)
If you love to read, which do you prefer to get as gifts?
Everyone is Unique: Choose the Right, Personal Gift
This guide focuses on adults: Both giving and receiving. I will attempt to help you to choose the "right" gift for the book lover on your list while supplying you with opportunities to buy some of my favorite suggestions (things which I, as an avid reader, would love to receive).
You'll want to make a personalized choice, and I encourage everyone to think about what they know about the reader in their life. As with time you're giving a gift, it's important to do some recon and to put the effort into choosing what works for the person on your list. So take the time to ask (and have answered!) the questions above, and consider important things like favorite colors, flavors, and scents as you would with any gift.
The key to buying any gift for any person is to do it without falling into lazy patterns. If you're not going to take the easy way out by buying a book, you might as well go through with assessing your reader and brainstorming ideas!
So get out a pen and paper and get ready to start jotting down some ideas for the types of person you're shopping for.
If He Likes to Read in Bed
If your book lover enjoys reading in bed, then a book light is an inexpensive but effective option. It means that the main light can be turned off to allow for private reading with less disturbance to any bed mates (though consider that these lights can be quite bright and may disturb a sleeping spouse!).
Book lights come in a variety of price ranges. The one shown to the right is on the upper end, but it is also a highly-rated model which is guaranteed to light up the entire page (or rather, both pages of your book). It's inexpensive (less than $20) and should fit into most budgets.
A book light is a great choice for nighttime readers!
Other good options for someone who enjoys reading in bed may be:
- A Bed Rest Pillow (priced from about US$25)
- A Book Seat to hold the book (priced about US$40)
- A Pair of Fingerless Mittens to keep the hands warm
Reads at Home
Reads on the Go
Coffee Mugs or Wine Glasses
Bed Rest Pillow
Selection of Teas
If She Likes to Read on the Go
People who enjoy reading on the go have quite a challenge -- I'm one of these people, and I always have a book (and my Kindle Paperwhite) on me every time I leave the house "just in case" I need to entertain myself or I want to escape from the surrounding people.
It can be difficult to carry heavy books (for those who prefer to read books in print) and so you may want to think about a gift that helps the reader to transport her books safely (for the books) and conveniently (for her).
A messenger bag with a lot of pockets (such as the one shown to the right) is a good choice for this type of reader. The pockets will allow her to tuck the books away safely (so there's not a lot of room for them to get jostled about) when she's not reading them, and the bag provides plenty of space for other items (including, for example, a laptop) as well.
Other choices for people who enjoy reading on the go include:
- An eReader (but make sure that your reader is not a purist, first!)
- Book Covers to protect the book from the elements
- An Umbrella to protect her and her books from the weather
If He Reads for Knowledge
My husband is one of these types: He reads to learn, not to entertain himself. We've had arguments before about the reasons that someone enjoys reading, and much to my bewilderment, he enjoys reading to learn as much as I enjoy reading for pleasure!
These are an interesting bunch of people, and may be divided into two categories: Students, and non-fiction readers. There's nothing wrong with being either! However, this sort of reader can be more difficult to shop for. In my experience they are more stubborn and difficult to please (especially when it comes to books).
I recommend a messenger bag for carrying books, as indicated above, along with perhaps some of the following tools:
- A Date Book to keep track of learning
- Highlighters to mark notes and books
- Notebooks for taking notes
If She's a Cozy Reader
For the type of person who enjoys curling up with a good book in her chair at home, I cannot think of a better gift than a Sherpa blanket. I have been snuggled down with mine all day, reading and writing, and it is the one thing that I think I cannot live without as a reader. The only drawback for me is that my pets' claws pull the blanket and it has some nasty snags in it.
Without a doubt, this is my #1 recommendation for any reader on your wishlist: A nice, cozy blanket.
If you're looking for more ideas for a cozy reader:
- An Arm Chair (if your budget is high!)
- A Special Coffee (or Tea) Mug (for smaller budgets)
- Wine Glasses (for those who prefer alcohol over caffeine)
- A Selection of Teas or Coffee Beans
What's on MY Wishlist
Reading, as a hobby, occupies more of my time than any other hobby except for writing. It occupies most of my wishlist as well (note the second tab with the books -- these are all fair game for books, but that's because my budget is nonexistent right now!).
Of all the things that I want the most on this list, the top of it is my own reclining chair. I had a great one before we moved, a chair that I adored for reading, and I'd love to have another that is special: All mine. If you have a good budget and you're looking for an amazing gift for someone who likes to read, this is the one that I would buy for them. If I could afford it for my husband, I'd do it for him in a heartbeat.