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Guidelines On Giving A Book As A Gift - How To Choose The Right One

Updated on January 5, 2012
 The beautiful El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The beautiful El Ateneo Bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina. | Source

I love to read and whenever I have the opportunity to give a book as a gift - whether it be for a birthday, or Christmas, or just because - I seize it and hope that my gift is truly appreciated.

It is hard to know if it is though, because not many people like to read these days. Most of the people I know prefer to get something safe to gift, or, if they do choose a book, they will simply pick a bestseller. I can't think like that because I know what a treasure books can be and I also know that getting people to love books can be tough but it can be done.

Choosing The Right Book

The first thing you must think about when purchasing a book as a gift is its suitability. You cannot simply select a book as a gift because it is on the bestseller list or because someone else recommended it. It is one thing to buy a book for yourself based on someone else's recommendation but to buy a book for someone else without knowing what the book is about yourself is the first mistake that many people make when they choose to give a book.

The ideal thing would be that the book you choose to give is one which you yourself have read. What better way to ensure that a book is suitable? Personally, I have never given a book to someone else to read before reading it myself. I like to make sure that the information in the book, whether fact or fiction, is a good representation of me. Remember that a gift reflects the giver and that is why it is important that the gift you give (books or otherwise) coincide with you you are and who the receiver of the gift is. Reading the book before you give it is a fool-proof way of making certain that you are giving a well-written, quality-filled book but unless you are an avid reader, it can be time consuming.

So what should you do if you really want to give a book as a gift?

Entering a bookstore and trying to search for the perfect book can be a daunting task unless you have some guidelines to start with.

A closer look at El Ateneo Bookstore in Argentina. There are so many books to choose from that for an avid reader it is a paradise but with such a number of books, even an avid reader has to have an idea of what he or she is looking for.
A closer look at El Ateneo Bookstore in Argentina. There are so many books to choose from that for an avid reader it is a paradise but with such a number of books, even an avid reader has to have an idea of what he or she is looking for. | Source

The first bit of information that you can arm yourself with is the likes and dislikes of the person you intend to give the book to.

Ask yourself -

  • What topics are they interested in?
  • Do they like Fiction?
  • Do they like Non-Fiction?
  • What type of Genre intrigues them most? Is it romance, religious, historical, biographical, western etc.?
  • Do they like to read?
  • How developed is their vocabulary? (This is a very important question because giving someone a book that contains a lot of vocabulary that they are unfamiliar with will certainly cause them to be bored with it an fast. A person must understand what they are reading in order to enjoy it.)

There are some people who love to read all manner of books. These are the easiest type of people to buy books for because you know that once you choose something that is good, chances are, they will enjoy it.

There are other people who like to read specific genres. Some like fiction alone while others like non-fiction and strictly stay away from anything that isn't true. There are those who, though they read non-fiction, stay strictly in the self-help zone and refuse to read biographies at all and of course, those who love fiction but prefer Westerns, or Historicals, or Science Fiction.

And what about those who do not like to read at all? You may think to yourself why on earth would you give someone a gift of a book if they do not like to read? Well to encourage them of course! There are many teenagers and young children who do not have a love for reading because of all the modern distractions that exist today. Reading is an important part of education and though they may not like to read, if you have the guts to give a book to a non-reader, your challenge is finding a book that they will not be able to resist and which they cannot put down once they have started reading it. It can be done too! Simply think of their interests and then find a book written in the way that will draw them in and perhaps, through giving them a book that intrigued them, you will have set them off on the lovely journey that is book reading.

"The Artist's Sisters Signe and Henriette Reading A Book 1826" by Carl Christian Constatin Hansen
"The Artist's Sisters Signe and Henriette Reading A Book 1826" by Carl Christian Constatin Hansen
A book gift wrapped.
A book gift wrapped. | Source

The second bit of information you can arm yourself with is a list of popular books and some reviews on them.

This list and the reviews to go with them will be used to guide you around the bookstore.Generally, in bookstores, books that are alike in genre are placed near to each other. Looking for certain titles that you think may be suitable will lead you to others that are nearby that you possibly had no knowledge of before or that you forgot about.

The reviews of others and their recommendation can help you to figure out if the book is well- liked but upon finding the book it is your job to read the back of the book or the dust jacket and possibly browse through it to ensure that you agree with what the reviewer of the book has said.

Often I have read reviews about books that have said a book was terrible and when I read it I enjoyed it very much. I have also read reviews about books that say they are wonderful and, to me, they were terrible.

Just because a book is a bestseller does not mean it is a great book.

There are many people who buy bestsellers because "everybody else" bought it and it just sits on their coffee table until it loses its popularity.Therefore reviews can be used but need to be tempered with your opinion.

Reviews do tell you a bit about what is inside of a book and reveal things that you may not find on the covers of them. Sometimes a review can cause you to be aware that there is use of foul language in a book or that there is some sort of content that is disturbing to you. Remember that the book you give is a reflection of yourself as well and if you do not feel comfortable with the content of the book then it would be wise to forget about giving it.

Finally, do not be afraid to branch out and try something new. Just because you know that a person favors books about cooking does not mean you have to stick to cooking. Books are like clothes; very often there are outfits out there that are perfect for people and they never try them on because they did not think of them in the first place. Perhaps the person also loves traveling and wishes to see the world but does not read books about places far and wide. Introducing them to such a book just might cause them to rejoice. Think about a person's interests concerning life and you will be able to find a book on almost any topic.

Books are great gifts to give because not only to they edify and educate but they also relax and refresh. They delight and they take you to places you have never been before or to places that you have been to but wish to visit again. They stretch your imagination and help you to dream. I can't see anything wrong in gifting a book. Did I mention that they are extremely easy to wrap?



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    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      4 years ago from The World (for now)

      Thank you for visiting and reading, sunilkunnoth2012!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

      4 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Wonderful tips and information. I am a great lover of books and enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for sharing.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello LisaKoski,

      You are right - so many people are into e-books now. The strange thing is the ones I know who are into to it never really liked to read before. Many it encourages them to read when they can't see the size of the book?

      I am sorry that your sister did not realize the effort and thought you put into your present to her. Maybe she will read the books and then realization will hit.

      Books really are among my favorite items to give because I feel that there is nowhere a book cannot go.

      Thank you for reading. It is greatly appreciated!

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hello Jean Bakula,

      I love books as well. Somehow an electronic book is not the same. I do hope that real books will not go 'out of fashion' as I think that there is nothing like a real book or shopping for one.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • LisaKoski profile image


      7 years ago from WA

      I love that you mention how reviews aren't always completely accurate and that just because a book is a best seller doesn't mean it's actually a good book. This is something I learned some time ago because I've run into those who pretty much only read what's got the best reviews or what's currently popular even if the book isn't all that good in my opinion.

      I've strayed away from giving books because so many people I know are into just e-books now. I actually got a couple of books for my sister for Christmas and she thought that I hadn't put much thought into her gift since it was "just books" even though I thought it was a great gift. They were two of my favorite books I knew she'd love and I actually put a lot of thought into it and went out of my way to get special editions of them.

      Still, I love to get books as gifts because it's like getting a recommendation for a good read but then the recommendation actually comes with the book right there so I can get started right away. Great hub!

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      I love books, in fact I've been buying more since Kindles came out. I'm afraid no real books will be left, or our selection will be limited. I would welcome a gift of a book, and when you are shopping, you will find the right one!


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