Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Books as Gifts

I have been meaning to do this post for a couple of months now because it's a topic that I have some uncertainty over along with personal experience. I love books and a gift card for me to buy books is one of the best gifts that I could get. And I give certain readers in my family gift cards too because then they can buy books on their own. However, actually buying a book for someone else can be hit or miss. I am getting my dad a book but I know he likes the series/author, is collecting the books in paperback to fit on his shelf and he promised not to buy that specific book. But there is no surprise in the gift because of that. There are pitfalls to buying books as presents and I'm going to talk about them.

1. Knowing what the person likes to read.

There are a few people I know what they like. My stepdad and dad have a few authors in common, and my stepdad also likes books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and even found the Hunger Games interesting. My sister reads the most and loves YA. One of her favorite authors is Tamora Pierce and she loves reading both fantasy and realistic fiction. She has a Nook now and adores it. However, my two stepsisters... I had no idea what they read or if they read. I know one may not have time right now with her new career as a nurse and the other, well I texted her because I was curious.

On the other hand, sometimes people give me books as presents and every now and then they get one I can't wait to read, but often I wonder if they know what I like to read. I am always grateful for the gifts and I keep the books though a few get put near the bottom of the to read list because I am still willing to give them a try but have so many books waiting already. But I've gotten books that seem more suited for my sister (including a book involved in a series I haven't read) and books on writing but not for the writing I do. I still read the book on writing and I have the others waiting because I will still try to get to them but it's one of the reasons I find gift cards to be a better gift currently than buying the actual books for someone.

2. What books do they already own?

While I haven't come across this problem too much in receiving gifts, it is something I worry about when considering giving books to someone. Knowing what they read can definitely help but there is also a danger of buying them a book they already own. Even for the ones I bought books for the Epic Giveaway, I was worried because I don't know what they read, what they like and what they already own. I have no idea what books my siblings currently have, so would struggle to give them a book as a gift. And I own a lot of books with so many I have read and a just as great of number of books that I haven't read yet. Unless you are around the person and their book collection, it can be a hard task knowing the book you are buying that they would like isn't one they already have.

(Note: For this reason, I am adding on my goodreads page shelves for books I own and books I want.)

3. Do they even like to read?

Introducing reading to someone who doesn't read very much can be a very great gift but it doesn't always work that way. Some people just don't want to read books very often. My mom is not much of a reader. There is a specific kind of book she will read, some times, but she isn't the one to buy books for because most of the time she doesn't read. It's worth the effort sometimes to at least try but for some, they may never be big on reading but an occasional book gift isn't a bad idea for even them.


I am still mixed on the idea of books as gifts. I am definitely and probably will always be a big fan of gift cards for books as a gift. But I'm still not sure about giving books to someone. It can be a great thing but there are also pitfalls and things to think about.

What do you think?
Are books great gifts as presents?


Tara said...

I think if you don't know exactly what the person loves to read or if they read at all, then obviously getting them a book isn't a great idea. Maybe a gift card to barnes and noble, that way they can pick out something else too other than a book.

For me, personally, I love unwrapping books, lol.

DeniseCovey_L'Aussie said...

I'm with you. If you don't know that a person would love the particular book, or you haven't made sure they already have it or not, find another gift or give a gift card.


Susan Kane said...

It is so hard to keep from giving a book that I have read and loved. But, I have learned that not everyone reads as I do. The others are right.

Emily R. King said...

I like books as presents because there's something for everyone. You know someone who likes to a take a cruise? Give them the 2012 cruise handbook. How about if they like nature? A book about Alaska or hiking. The possibilities are endless!

Heidi C. Vlach said...

I only buy books as presents if I'm confident that I know the person's tastes. If I can't say something as specific as, "Well, you like that paranormal detective series, so I thought this fantasy thriller might be up your alley", then I just get them a gift card.

Dawn Embers said...

Thanks everyone for responding. It is interesting to see other people's opinions on the topic.