Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buying that special gift for a book lover

It was walking into work today that made me think of this one - along with the conversations I had with my house guest last night: how do you buy a gift for someone that loves to read? It's an unexpectedly hard question once you start thinking about it. What books do they want? What books do they already have? If they follow a particular series, are they waiting for that one book to complete their set or is the whole thing a hodgepodge they're still trying to fill? Once all the questions start coming to mind it almost seems easier to scrap the whole thing and just get your friend a hat. But don't fret! I am here to tell you that it's a lot easier to buy for a book lover than it seems at first glance. All you have to remember are two simple things:

1) Don't be ashamed of buying a gift card! This is a VERY important lesson to remember! I don't care what people say about 'surprises' or proving that you really 'know' them - a book lover will love a gift card! Who doesn't love the option of buying everything they want, from now until some point in the future when they finally use up the card? Unless of course they're people like me, who have their book list planned out 6 months in advance and can use up a gift card in one trip. But even then, don't think I don't enjoy it! I have a tendency to buy a lot of the books I want, I budget for them in fact, and I think I would be making a pretty good guess to say that other book lovers do the same thing. So unless you live with them, and can search through their bookshelves to find out what they're missing (or if you have ESP, which if you do, A+ for the win! Want to give my mind a try?), it's really just better to go with the gift card. Yes it's not big and spiffy and wrapped with a bow (unless you do that box within a box trick, which unless you're experienced I wouldn't recommend), but they'll love it just as if it was.

2) Forgo the element of surprise and just ask what he/she wants. I have to say that nobody likes to hear this option but it's been the one to give me the most personal satisfaction. Say that someone is waiting to start a series of books, one that's been going on for a while now so it has a lot of backlisted titles - it's hard to just jump into that. BUT if you were to ask them if there was a particular book or books they really wanted, this gives them the chance to step forward and say 'I would
love if you could get me this..." If surprises are a really big thing for you, then ask for a list of books that they want. This allows you to pick and choose as you go, thus avoiding a situation where they'll know exactly what they're opening Christmas day.

Ok guys, those are my two big tips for the holidays. Sounds simple, right? It would probably surprise you how many people stress themselves out worrying what to get for that special someone in their life. Well these two seemingly simple things will make your life easier! But what about you? What do you do when you're not sure what to get someone for Christmas or their birthday?