Book blogger hop: the gift of a good book

imageI’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do you give books as gifts?

My answer is yes, but not as often as you might think someone who loves books as much as I do would.  There’s a couple of reasons for this.

First off, everyone’s tastes are different and I have made the mistake before of buying books that were never going to be loved or cherished by the person I was buying them for.  There is that moment when you say “did you enjoy the book” and the person looks at you and there is a long pause before they say something like “oh I haven’t gotten to it yet” and you know it wasn’t for them. My worst choice was probably picking How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran for an older aunt-in-law because I got it into my head one year to buy people books by authors from the Midlands (where we lived at the time…the aunt lived in the states).  It was not appreciated – way too close to the bone.

Second on the list is that I have a lot of friends and family members who read a lot and I am never completely on top of just what that reading is.  It is very easy to duplicate books and, as I love giving gifts, it spoils it for me if no one else when I don’t see a person’s eyes light up – not because they don’t love books but because they have already read it.  Top tip? Never buy anyone a best seller unless they ask or something that has been adapted for film or TV.  There’s a good chance they will already have a copy. And, when you are at their house, take a good old look at their bookshelves just to see what is on there.

I will buy books where I have been specifically asked and I always buy books for friend’s children – though never Julia Donaldson because hers are the first books I think every new parent buys or is given.  Even then, I include a gift receipt.  Always better to be safe than sorry.  And I will also buy books that maybe have more of a meaning, so a first or special edition of a book I know someone loves, one with a different cover or that is out of print.  Those are likely to be kept, and appreciated, even if there is another version on the book case.

What about you? Do you give books as gifts?



  1. My experience is pretty similar to yours. I used to buy books all the time but it wasn’t always as much of a success as I wanted it to be so I don’t do it nearly as much any more. Now I only give books if I really think someone will like them or has mentioned that the book, author, or subject.


    • It’s so disappointing isn’t it when people don’t feel the same about a book. I love getting books but no one seems to buy them for me any more since I’ve started blogging. Shame really.


  2. I don’t give them as unsolicited gifts for all the reasons you mention, but my family gave up trying to surprise each other at Christams years ago and now we all swap lists of books/music/films we’d like – it means we actually all get things we want, and because we make long lists, we still get a bit of a surprise seeing which ones we actually get. I must say I love to receive book tokens – I know people often think of them as boring gifts, but I get so much pleasure out of deciding what to buy with them. So I often give them too.


  3. I think much of what you wrote is why the people in my life don’t buy me books as gifts. 🙂 Most of the readers I buy gifts for aren’t up on the latest books and aren’t quite as obsessive about books in general–so it makes it easier to know what I can safely get them.


  4. Oh, Emma, what a TERRIFIC answer! You have really analyzed this thoroughly, and your reply reflects it!

    You’re so right about everything you have stated here, and I totally agree with it all. It’s very disappointing when you give a book that is neither appreciated nor loved. Even if the person is really good at pretending that they totally ADORED the book you gave them, you can always tell if they really did or not. Some little detail, either in their voice, eyes, or body language, will tip you off to the truth.

    So, what to do? Two words: gift cards! Either Amazon or B&N. With a gift card, you’re saved from the guilt and disappointment of giving someone a book you find out later they didn’t care for. Too impersonal, you say? You much prefer lovingly picking out a volume especially for them? Well, if that’s the case, then you could easily find out what they would love to read by sending them an email with several links to books they might *possibly* like, and pretending you’re hunting for a gift to give one of your friends, and not the person you’re sending the email to. Sounds a bit lame, but it just might work!

    You could, alternately, ask the intended recipient for some book recommendations (with links), and ask them if they’ve already read the book. Of course, you do this (or the above) way ahead of the time they will be receiving a book from you, so they don’t suspect anything! : )

    Good luck, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic! Thanks as well for dropping by and commenting on my own BBH post!! Sorry for the late comment back….Hope you have a WONDERFUL week!! : )


    • Oh I love your sneaky ways of getting recommendations. I must try it. Much better than straight out asking…I know gift cards are good but I love shopping for people so I never usually buy gift cards. Wandering the shops is too much fun!


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