Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas / Holiday Gift Ideas: Books, Done Differently

Octavia Books gift card

If you're a reader and have friends who are, too, there's a good chance that books are a popular gift between you and those friends. If you know someone's taste, books can make wonderful gifts. And if you're not sure, you might consider bookstore gift cards, including ones from independent bookstores such as Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon and Octavia Books in New Orleans - and many more.

But here are some other ideas for book-related gift giving - in ways designed to ensure those books don't become clutter.

Just the Right Book logo

1. Just the Right Book

Experienced booksellers (and people who read a lot themselves) hand-pick books to send to your gift recipients, based on information you provide. And here's how Just the Right Book explains its guarantee: "If we get it wrong (unlikely, but not impossible), or if your gift recipient already has the book we send, we will gladly exchange the book for another selection at no cost to you or your recipient!"

The recipients can also provide feedback to help fine-tune the selection process. [via Springwise and Cool Mom Picks]

Bookswim gift cards

2. Bookswim gift membership

Bookswim is often called the Netflix of books; it provides book rentals. This might be perfect for someone who likes to read new releases, and would prefer not to wait in those long reservation lists at the library. [via Jamie Pearson, @TravelSavvyMom on Twitter]

3. A book PLUS an experience

This idea comes from Lisa Belkin at the New York Times, who writes: "For instance, give From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, then take a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and look for all the works mentioned in the book." Customize this for something local to you, and you have an interesting gift idea. [via Naomi Seldin, @SimplerLiving on Twitter]


Claire Josefine said...

Yay for books!

And an even bigger Yay! for independent booksellers. Thanks for reminding folks about them, Jeri.

I've had excellent luck with my independent bookseller helping me choose a perfect book for someone based solely on tidbits of guiding information. ("She likes history, is a 76-year-old feminist and environmentalist, and lived in Franco Spain.") Folks who own/work at small/non-chain bookstores are usually there because they know and love books, and they're a wonderful resource. Use them!

And thanks for telling us about Bookswim. What a great idea! My only concern, and I don't know if it's an issue or not, is whether it reduces use of, and therefore affects the (already precarious) financial solvency of, public libraries the same way Netflix can adversely affect the locally owned, independent video rental store. (Hey, we still have a few here in Humboldt. Certainly they're not completely extinct, eh?) As tempting as Netflix is, I've not subscribed because I believe so strongly in supporting locally owned independent businesses. Try to walk my talk...

Anyway, thanks as always to you for your wonderful blog. Hope it wins at NAPO-LA this year! You deserve it.

The English Organizer said...

Love the sound of 'Just the Right Book'.
And I agree with Claire, independent booksellers seem to have a sixth sense for great reads :)

Jeri Dansky said...

Claire, thanks for your kind words about this blog.

Regarding Bookswim: I think Bookswim could complement the use of the library - for those times when the wait list for your book is 93 people long (as a friend just told me her wait was when she reserved Cutting for Stone).

And I agree with both of you (Claire and The English Organizer) about the recommendations from independent booksellers. Just the Right Book might be ideal for someone living in a place where, sadly, there are no independent booksellers.