Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gift Books


Do you give books as gifts?  This post on The Passive Voice estimates that 9 million fewer  books were given as gifts in 2013 in the U.K.   Did you receive a  book as a gift last year?  In the past, I would buy books for my children to give as birthday presents when invited to a friend's birthday party.   This would inevitably be over their objections as they were of the firm belief that the latest plastic action hero figure was infinitely preferable.  I would expound on the virtues of books, not to mention their longevity but I have doubts as to my persuasive powers.   Usually, I would let them choose a second gift; children's books were $5 or less in those days.

Gift cards to large chain bookstores like Chapters are popular choices for thank you gifts and honorariums for guest speakers or workshop facilitators when a Starbucks card was deemed 'not enough'.  At least  recipients could make their own choice and these days large books stores have many non-book items for sale including cosmetics and towels.

I would hesitate to rely on the bestseller list in choosing a gift book.  Have a look at the current top ten and consider whether one would fit your gift giving objectives.   You might offend someone.   The recipient might wonder whether you were sending a subliminal message with your choice.

Many people have e-readers and might not be happy to receive a physical book after they spent several painful afternoons purging their collection.   A paperback book seems insubstantial somehow;  a throwaway item and hardcover books are usually more than $30.00.   If it is a reference book or something that will be re-read annually the money would be well spent but for a one-time read that may not even be finished, perhaps not.

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