Are Books on Your List?

imbuyingbooks_buttonMy Friend Amy, of BBAW fame, is starting a movement– yes, an actual movement!  She wants to get everyone to buy books for holiday gifts this year, for everyone on their list, due to a downturn in the publishing industry.  

Her heart is in the right place because, as she says, the news from the book world isn’t pretty.  To quote Amy, “I feel like everyday I’m hearing about plummeting profits, massive lay-offs, book stores and libraries (!!) closing. We are living in dark and difficult book times.”

I mostly agree with her, but I’m not sure if the news is so bad for reading or if the industry is undergoing a huge shift.  With people doing much of their reading online, newspapers and other publications are forced to downsize their book review sections.  It doesn’t mean people aren’t reading books, just that they’re getting their information from other sources.  If brick and mortar book stores are closing, that signifies a shift in the way people are shopping, not necessarily a downturn in reading.  Maybe the movement should be,  “Buy books for holiday gifts from independent book stores”, because these little gems are getting gobbled up by the giants in the industry.

We book bloggers do our part in promoting reading and telling the world about books we love (and others we don’t).  And book club organizers also promote reading- in an informal survey of my own book club, just being in a book club has increased the number of books the members read by about 300% last year!  But are we book buyers?  Do we buy books for others or do we just blab about them?

To be honest, I don’t tend to give books as gifts.  Unless I know a friend’s taste really well, it seems a bit presumptuous of me to assume I know what they’d like.  Even if you’re 100% certain of the person’s taste in books, how do you know they haven’t already read the book you’ve carefully wrapped up to give them?  I’ve lent books to friends thinking they would love the books, and frequently they get returned to me unread.  Plus, my holiday gift list includes several non readers.  What to do about them?  Amy says that because books are so diverse, there is bound to be a book for every single person on your list.  Well, Amy has not met my husband!  He doesn’t do books!  Yes, I married a non-reader!  Giving him a book would be like him giving me a lawnmower- it just wouldn’t make any sense.  We also buy for many out-of-town relatives, and we book bloggers all know how expensive shipping can be.  

worldpeace4-300x196My solution is to give bookstore gift cards, when appropriate (that still wouldn’t work for my husband but it does solve the shipping issue).  I’ve also recently discovered these adorable bookcharm/bookmarks from  They are floss-type bookmarks.  Wouldn’t they make great gifts for book club members?  This one called Peace and Unity is my favorite.

So what about you.  Will you be giving books this holiday season?  Book accessories?  Gift cards?  Take the poll and let me know!

20 Responses

  1. I love the book charms. I will be giving book-ish and non-bookish gifts. With my limited budget, the thing I will be giving most is good wishes 🙂

  2. Hamburger has read 1 book in the 16 years we’ve been together. And that was only because he was stuck in Costa Rica with no surf and no tv. He wants socks for Christmas, so I’m afraid I can’t shop at the bookstore for his gift.

  3. I do buy books as gifts for the people whose taste I know. This year I have bought books together with a starter pack from Book Crossings each to get them started.

  4. i do like the idea of giving a kids book to my friend’s kids. we always get together for a xmas dinner, just the girls and i think giving them a family gift like a nice book is a great idea.

  5. oh and i don’t think it is our job to save the pub industry, they need to figure this out themselves, they should adopt a NO return policy and things would probably suck at first but improve over the long term.

  6. I will be giving books as gifts this year. I wish I could do all my shopping in the bookstore. It would make my life much easier but even with the addition of music and games, I find myself falling short there for some people.

  7. I will buy books for a few people and not for others – ppl like my grandad just turn their nose up at books unless they buy them themselves.
    I think they should look at the cost of books, many you only read once and they cost the same as a CD which you get more use out of. Also improving publicity – books that get a lot of posters and press sell in the millions

  8. Oh and as my Xmas list is about 80% books I think they will get plenty of my families cash

  9. I usually send a combination of books or gcs to my friends and family. I think reading is fundamental and should be a priority every holiday and birthday…but that might just be me.

  10. I think my language got a little extreme towards the end, but the original intent is to buy books when possible. Which might mean going out of your way a little bit to find books for people you’d otherwise get something else for.

    Personally, I prefer gifts selected for me to gift cards. And we will be highlighting bookcharming. 😉

    I know it’s not for everyone, but I do hope that many people will find it is for them.

  11. Unfortunately the people on my gift buying list are NON-readers, so books wouldn’t be a good idea for them. The only person i buy for that is a reader is my boss and his tastes are so different than mine (only reads non-fiction) that I wouldn’t even try to guess what he’d like, so I get him a gift card and he is thrilled! I love the book charms too! I think they’re a neat way to show your personality!

  12. Love the book charms! Great project for Sher and her girls, I hope it’s a big success for them.

    I do typically buy books for many people on my gift list (especially the kids!). Our local bookstore also carries stationery, journals, notecards, etc. I’ve bought one issue of a magazine to wrap as a way of introducing a subscription I’ve given.

    But, you’re right … sometimes you just can’t find something in a bookstore that “fits” the recipient. My grandmother never wanted anything that would turn into clutter, so I always gave her “consumables”

  13. I think I’m like a lot of your readers – I buy books for those I know well and I love to give book giftcards to friends and family.

    And of course, I would LOVE it if this movement caught on. I think people sometimes don’t think ‘a book’ is enough of a gift and that they have to aim higher or pricier. I wish that weren’t so. I love receiving books!

  14. I’m being all poopy and not doing Christmas this year, but I will be giving away books on my blog (which brings me great joy for some inexplicable reason).

    This was a very good post, Lisa. I think all the doom and gloom is a bit of overkill because the industry is only changing, not falling apart. Most of the new literature I purchase is on Kindle or online, which is why independent booksellers are hurting. I don’t even think my city has any independent booksellers anymore, so they’ve already lost. Time for them to move on. It’s sad, isn’t it?

  15. Lisa ~
    I found your blog doing a search on reviews for Sarah Addison Allen (thanks for visiting by blog) and stayed here for the great posts. I love this idea by Amy and your expansion on it. I always give my sister and mom for Christmas. Books are my favorite things to buy, for myself or for gifts and so whenever I find the chance, I grab for it.

  16. I only buy books for kids and people who are much less picky than myself. I’m pretty sucessful with certain people. I often give gift cards to teacher for books as well.

  17. I’ll buy books for people who I’m confident I’m buying them something they would like. However, I can’t buy a book for everyone because not everyone is a reader, and I can’t bear to see a book just sit on a shelf, languishing unread. So I haven’t signed up to do this because I’d already to do this on a case-by-case basis.

  18. Books are a hard thing to buy for another person. I am always gracious when I receive one, but I don’t often ever read it. My sister bought me a copy of Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. I absolutely love the thought, but I’m not a Chicken Soup kind of person. So, it’s packed away in a box. Book accessories, however, is quite another thing altogether. I love that book charm!

  19. For all the kids, yes, books! Children’s books are easy and wonderful to buy, especially for the long-distance kids in our family.
    Otherwise, I go into the bookstore and end up buying books for others that I would really like myself!!!! So I have to be very very careful!
    The book giftcard is an awesome idea – and so easy to mail!

  20. My dad reads one book a year. The one I get him for christmas.

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