Affordable Gifts for Readers
By Karen Ballum on December 08, 2008
BlogHer Original Post
I hate being asked what book you should buy you mother/father/in-law/boyfriend/second-cousin-twice-removed. You see, it's not that I don't want to recommend a book to you, or that I don't want you to buy them a book (everyone knows that I certainly like to encourage reading) but I don't know them. Moveover, I probably don't know anything about them other than that they are your mother/father/in-law/boyfriend/second-cousin-twice-removed and that's just simply not enough for me to go on. It's too much pressure so I'll just back away and give you other ideas - ideas like the ones below which make excellent gifts for book lovers, don't break the bank (sorry Kindle!) and there's nary a book to be found.
Every time I receive an email from Levenger I need to hide my credit cards and remind myself that I like to eat. It isn't that their products are expensive exactly, although they certainly can be, but it's that they have so many items that tempt me such as their fantastic reading tools. My top two picks are the monogrammed bookstop and the page points. The Well Read Life annotation kit wouldn't be amiss under a book-lover's tree either. Ok, let's be honest, you can pretty much take anything out of their reading tool section and make someone happy.
A subscription to a literary magazine is a great option. Bookmarks is really popular with book bloggers. They review and recommend some fantastic books.
Is your reader also looking to stay (or get) fit? How about a reading rack that attaches to their home elliptical trainer or treadmill? Not all racks fit on all machines so you'll have to do a bit of research to make sure you have the right one. Or get one like the FlipKlip that is portable for the reader that doesn't have a home gym.
Buy your reader a book light. I don't care if the person you are buying for normally doesn't have a use for one but some day something will happen that they need a book light they will have one because of you and you will be their hero. The entire line of Itty Bitty Book Lights and Reading Tools gets pretty good reviews. If I had to choose just one I'd probably choose the Itty Bitty Slim LED Book Light. It attaches to the spine so it won't wrinkle the book's pages, which for some people is a very, very big deal.
It's not uncommon that people who like to read generally like words and like learning new ones. Depending on what I'm reading, along with my eleventy billion pillows and blankets, you may find a dictionary in my bed. Let's be honest, a good dictionary is generally heavy, hardcover and generally doesn't make a good sleepmate. Make life easier (and sleep a bit nicer) with an electronic dictionary and thesaurus.
I've found that people who like to read also like to write, even if it's just a "books to be read" list (we book-lovers are famous for our TBR lists). This Venetian Glass Pen is gorgeous. It is not so portable though and if your book-lover is on the move a lot perhaps they'd prefer a Fisher Space Pen?
A Moleskin Notebook is always popular. They can be used to track books read, book purchases, a book wishlist, favourite quotes. Moleskins will never go out of fashion and come in a variety of size and styles.
I'm a bookplate fan but they can get pricey, especially if you want to customize. Rubber stamps to the rescue! They are more affordable than adhesive bookplates and you can mix it up with different coloured ink pads for variety. This simple Ex Libris stamp does the trick or you could get a customized stamp from Terbear's Etsy Shop.
I think there is a Monopoly game for every type of person under the sun, including bibliophiles. Bookopoly is the Monopoly game for book lovers.
Most of the time when I'm reading I just grab whatever scrap of paper is lying around to mark my place. If I'm feeling more energetic I'll go grab one of my magnetic bookmarks which I absolutely adore. If it's a book that I'm savouring rather than reading I'll hunt down one of my metal bookmarks. What I'm trying to say here is that readers need a lot of bookmarks and different styles of bookmarks. I've found that museums tend to have really nice bookmarks in their giftshops. I like the Bakora Bookrug at the Library of Congress, MOMA's Tree of Life Bookmark and the Smithsonian's peacock bookmark. Museums aren't the only game in town though. For something a bit more kitsch, how about the burning bookmark, which was very popular during this year's Banned Books Week.
Sometimes a book's cover or title can garner some odd looks when you read in public. I remember reading Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed while on public transit and it certainly raised a few eyebrows. And then there are people who have read the same book that you are currently reading and decide that they must tell you exactly what they thought of it (this particularly tends to happen on a morning when you are running late, haven't had enough coffee, and are very short on patience). The easy solution is a book jacket. Hidden Secrets provides cloth book covers in a variety of sizes and their current patterns range from Book Lover to flamingos. The Etsy Shop Hide a Book has some beautiful vinyl book jackets.
Gift buying for readers doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to actually include books. Now run off and shop for the book-lover in your life!
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