My 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.
My 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 Bookcharming.com. 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!