Book talk

Why book might not be a good gift?

     It might sound really controversial on bookish blog. Why booklover would question buying books for present? Well, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy it at all but sometimes it won’t be such a great idea. Probably as many as you I spent some time in December thinking about buying perfect gifts. Maybe this kind of post would be better before Christmas but there’s more occasions for buying gifts: birthday, graduation, etc. and good news everyone! There will be next Christmas in a few month! So let me say why I don’t believe that giving books as presents isn’t always the best idea. And before someone will burn at the stake for this heresy let’s talk more about it.

     Last month we celebrated Christmas – time of joy, love and giving presents. If you belong to book community or you’re passionate reader I’m sure you might get some new books or buy them for someone – you can’t deny it. Part of Twitter which belong to booklovers was full of photos and tweets about new treasure. And I’m also convince that most of you love them because how could we not? It’s in our nature!

I didn’t find any books under my Christamas tree. Am I sad about it? Not so much. I know my family would buy me some book from top 10 written by some celebrity I don’t care about. And it’s definitely not something I would enjoy reading.
I also didn’t give anyone books. And my reason is very simple and rational – I’m sure that my family wouldn’t appreciate getting one and they would say that it was waste of money.

     On one polish site about books (Niestatystyczny) I saw article that people in my country don’t like getting book for presents. According to some poll that was taken in November only 10% people answer that they would be happy with that kind of gift. Much more would like to get some electronic devices, jewelry or cosmetics.

      So for who could we buy books?

      To make things easier I will divide people in three groups.

PEOPLE WHO LOVE BOOKS AKA BOOKWORMS

     These people just love books and read all of them. They technically should be a perfect target because why don’t give them what they love? Yes, they would probably appreciate most of the books and be happy that you notice they passion (it probably would be hard not to because they almost always talks about books; high piles of books and bedroom that looks like a library could also be a clue). But it might be hard to give them something they don’t have. If they’re waiting for some book they will have it as soon as it is released, probably pre-order it and if they are lucky they might even get ARC copy. So you have to listen them really carefully to know what they have’t bought yet. If not you could accidentally buy them another copy of book they’ve already owned. But don’t worry too much if it’s new, limited edition with beautiful cover or even with their favorite author’s autograph – most of the bookworms would love it.

PEOPLE WHO DON’T READ BOOKS

     Personally I wouldn’t buy them book as a gift. It’s hard to convince that group to read something. Trust me I tried many times. They always have excuses why they don’t read – they don’t have time, they prefer watching movies, hey think fantasy and sci-fi books are stupid, etc. And almost everyone book you get them will lie forgotten on the shelf because they won’t be interest in it.
There’s actually a hope for them if you know about their different passion. They love to cook? Maybe some unusual cookbook would be good choice. They enjoy watching talk shows? Maybe there is a biographies or memoirs of some celebrity they might actually enjoy? There’s still might be a lot of possibilities here unless they just despise reading. Then there is no hope for them, you can only pray for their lost souls.

NEUTRAL PEOPLE

       People in this group like reading books, they are just not obsessed with them. If they find something interesting they would love to read it. In this case you don’t have to worry that you will buy something they already have – they don’t run to the bookstore as soon as book is released. But because they sometimes read book from gender, next one from another and they might not have a favorite types of book (if they do, it should be easier) it’s hard to know if your choice is good.
I have many friends who belong to this group. Last time we tried to decide what to buy for one’s birthday and nobody had idea what should we buy, someone said “Let’s buy her book.” Great idea but even if I knew which books she have read so far, we couldn’t decide which one would be perfect for her. And I confess, after a few evenings spend in bookstore I gave up and asked her if there is something she really want. It’s not something I like to do but I prefer asking than buying unwanted gift.

     As you can see making book a perfect gift isn’t easy. To be honest I think buying presents itself is just really difficult. And the most common mistake is buying something that we find interesting. But will person for whom we buying it think the same? If I buy some fantasy, YA or sci-fi book (which I would consider amazing) for down-to-earth person who like to read feuilletons and biographies, would they be happy to get incredible book (in my opinion)? Probably not so much.

        This is one books aren’t my first idea when I on a mission of buying gifts. I only new a few people for whom I know exactly which type of book they will appreciate and which not. For the rest of my friends and family I’m looking presents in different places than library and I know I can make them more happy that way.

So bookworms don’t let your love for books cloud your vision and try to find the best gifts for people by considering their hobbies even if they aren’t connected with books (if they are keep that person close to you forever).

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7 thoughts on “Why book might not be a good gift?

  1. I imagine it probably depends on the person. For me, I appreciate book gifts so long as they don’t look like an “I bought this on the way here from the bargain basement” type of gift. If there’s some thought put into it, even if I already own a copy or don’t have much interest in the book, it’s the thought that counts. Probably just talking to the readers in your life and finding out if they like books as gifts or not is the best way to go. The stuff listed here is a good starter guide to think about, though!

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  2. I completely agree with your points! A very thoughtfully put answer to the question! I’ve had an issue before where I received an ARC and then someone bought me the book as a present, although it was beautiful to have it in its final form, it’s now sitting on my bookshelf unread!

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  3. I completely agree. Gifting book as wedding presents had been very much prevalent in my culture once upon a time. Even my mother got loads on her own reception day. Not anymore. I’d be massively heart-broken if I gift someone a book and she uses it as a door-stopper. Lovely post <3.

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  4. I got my dad a signed autobiography of one of his favorite tv shows for Christmas one year and he doesn’t read a lot. He falls into the likes books but isn’t obsessed categories. He will read what he is interested in. I usually get him a Barnes and Noble gift card for fathers day. I personally would love gift cards more than books.

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  5. Such a great post, San! I never buy book presents for my friends, because well they don’t read that much lol. I get books or gift cards for books from those who know me for my love of books.

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  6. I would buy a book if asked or was certain a specific book was wanted. I’d not choose s book for someone unless I knew them very well. . I bought my sister in law Crimes of Grindlewald but I knew she likes the HP series and I checked with my brother.
    I buy so many books but my husband got me a first edition of my favourite one year.
    I prefer to choose my own though so like bookish gifts better.
    I’ve also bought gift cards for book stores.

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