Tips for buying gifts for readers, 2019

In years past, I’ve done gift guides for writers and readers. They were a lot of fun and (bragging) pretty popular. 

This year, though, I feel like I’ve sort of exhausted those posts. So instead, I’ve compiled a list of tips for getting gifts for readers. These should help you get a present for any avid reader in your life.

Don’t buy them a book unless they asked for something specific.

Let me tell you a story, and before I do, I’m sorry Grandma. 

One delightful Christmas, I was handed a big, heavy wrapped book. I’d just finished reading the first two Eragon books and wanted to read the third. (The first two were alright.) And so, having been handed a heavy book, I thought for sure that my grandmother had gotten me book three. “Oh, is this Brisingr?” I cried and ripped off the paper.

It wasn’t. It was Duma Key by Stephen King. 

Now, it was really hard for me to hide the disappointment on my face. Even though now pablo(1)I know for sure that I’d rather read Duma Key than an Eragon book. Most of you reading this know that. So, of course, my grandmother thought that.

But it wasn’t what I was into then. And that’s not her fault. But it is a perfect example of how much of a pain in the ass readers are. Even if you think you know for sure what they’d like, don’t buy them a book unless they’ve specifically asked for it. Even if they like it, you always run the chance that they already have it.

No, they don’t have enough bookmarks.

There’s no such thing as too many bookmarks, the damn things are always getting lost. Yes, a bookmark is a great idea. Yes, they will lose it. So don’t break the bank, you know?

Yes, they would like a coffee or hot chocolate gift set

Nothing makes reading better than a hot drink when it’s cold or a cold drink when it’s hot. And while I can’t speak for all avid readers, I never have met one who has enough coffee cups.

There is an exception to the first rule.

If you are also an avid reader, then I’m sure you have more than a few books that are meaningful to you. These are great gifts because they mean something to you. You can explain to the recipient why this book matters so much to you. And in that way, this gift is about more than the book itself. You’re giving them a part of yourself.

Gift cards are great, gift cards to second-hand book stores are the best!

Look, a second-hand book store is the best thing. It’s an adventure every time. And you can finance that adventure. It also supports independent booksellers. Which is something we need more of.

If you really want to put money into it, you can get them a subscription box

There are so many subscription boxes these days, that you can find very specific ones no matter what genre your reader likes. This can be a pricy gift, but it can be a wonderful one that continues to give all year long.

If you do it right, prepare not to talk to them for a while.

This is the downside of getting the reader the perfect gift. They will sink into their favorite activity, reading. But rest assured that they’ll think fondly of you as they do.

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