We all know how special it feels to unwrap a book on Christmas, or on your birthday (or any day, really!). Giving any present to a loved one is a rewarding experience.
Giving books is even better. Inspiring others with new stories is a pretty special thing.
But buying books for others isn’t easy. You have to consider:
- what they like to read
- what they’ve already read or already own
- what’s appropriate for their age and tastes
- whether they like to read at all!
I’ve been gifting books to friends and family for a few years now. There have been some hiccups (when books don’t arrive on time or I haven’t done my research!) but I’ve learned a few things along the way.
It helps to think about the books you were given over the years. What bookish gifts did you appreciate the most, and why? Here are some of the best books I’ve been given.
There’s no guarantee that someone will love the book you give them. We can’t even guarantee that for ourselves when we go to the bookstore!
But there are some things you can do to increase your chances of gifting the best books ever…
The secret to giving the best books at Christmas
1. Do your research
This is important. Don’t cover-buy books and don’t buy a book for someone just because you liked it! Spend a little time doing your research.
If they have a Goodreads or similar bookish account, stalk it! Check their to-read lists or their social posts to see what they might have on their wishlist.
Look at online lists
If you know what genre they like, look for online lists. Look up listicles of ‘the best [insert genre here] books of all time’.
And look up lists of the years’ prize-winning books (the Man Booker, the Stella, the Pulitzer, the Hugo, Goodreads Choice Awards).
Check for reviews of the books you choose. This will give you a better idea of whether it’s a good pick for your friends and fam. Plus, books with higher reviews give you a better chance of picking a winner!
2. Order online books well in advance
This might seem like a no-brainer, but these special occasions tend to sneak up on us. Express international shipping can be costly so order your books a month or more in advance.
That way you can also check the condition of the book before you wrap and gift it.
3. Browse your local bookstore
For last-minute purchases, seek out your local independent bookstore. Spending money with smaller booksellers is always a good option. Plus it allows you to discover niche books you might not have come across online.
4. Try bookish gifts that aren’t books
This is a good options for when you have no idea what books they already own or have read (or liked!).
Bookish candles, bookmarks, bookshelf decorations or even gift cards can be just as exciting as unwrapping a real book. It’s a safe option, but a smart one!
Using the strategies above, I was able to buy some pretty diverse books for a range of my family members this year. From sci-fi to non-fiction and middle grade comics…