Books as Gifts

Etta Wilson

Blogger:    Etta Wilson

Location:  Books & Such Nashville Office

Weather:  Cold and clear

Here we are at Black Friday, named for the one day retailers can almost certainly turn a profit. It took me a a day or two to figure out the meaning of this term, when I first heard it, since “black” implied funereal to my mind. In our area, merchants started very early,and  in some cases they pulled out the Christmas decorations before Halloween was over. Why didn’t they call it “green Friday” or has cash as the medium of exchange become obsolete? Regardless, it’s really time now to think of what gifts and to whom we want to give.

At our house, giving often centers around books, which calls for special attention to the recipient as well as several trips to local bookstores. Who would have guessed that a college-age grandson wants a book about John Calvin? Or that the University of Tennessee Press would publish a new book on the ivory-billed woodpecker just in time to give a bird-watching brother-in-law? Don’t tell my husband, but a new book on black and white photography is coming his way. And I’m perusing recent historical fiction titles for one daughter and southern gardening titles for the other. Selecting a particular book for a loved one is sometimes as rewarding as reading one.

The ongoing slump in book sales has actually heightened my desire to give books, particularly books that may not be available in electronic format for some time. As a bona fide bookie, I wonder if I’m giving memorabilia for future years as well as reading enjoyment for the present. I also need to confess that I’m shopping for the newest edition of Kindle.

Without giving away any secrets, what titles are on your shopping list? How do you make decisions about what books to give others? Are you giving any electronically read editions?

13 Responses

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  1. Deb Wuethrich says:

    I’m buying the first two books of Jan Karon’s Father Tim series for a sister-in-law. When a friend’s mother-in-law passed away, the friend gave me a box of books that included the complete set of Karon’s “Mitford” series — what a treasure find — and I, in turn, shared them with my husband’s sister and mother. With Karon’s continuation, we are all still enjoying these wonderful books.

  2. Etta Wilson says:

    Deb, thanks for mentioning Jan’s new series. I see her new title In the Company of Others is listed as #14 on he bestsellers list in PW (11/22/10). I’m always interested in her latest because she came to our church for a very successful day about 10 years ago. Quite a lady!

  3. LeAnne Hardy says:

    My daughter is a Nook aficionado so she will probably get a Barnes and Noble gift card to feed her habit.

  4. Caroline says:

    For my son’s first birthday, one of the things we requested most frequently from others who wanted to purchase gifts was books. He absolutely loves books as a toddler (and did as a young baby, too)! This year seemed to be a great year to focus on expanding his library (which we will strive to add to every year) since he isn’t yet old enough to have several particular “likes” on toys and hobbies.

    I love to give books, especially when I’m very sure that the receiver will enjoy the book. I love this thought of yours: “Selecting a particular book for a loved one is sometimes as rewarding as reading one.” How true! Of course, that makes me think of Acts 20:35b: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I already have three books planned as gifts, all in book form. No one in my family has an e-reader yet.

    I have really enjoyed the Mitford series as well.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  5. Laurie says:

    I just can’t bring myself to Kindle yet. No electronic book buying for me. I know it’s an impending fate but I’ll hold off as long as I can.

    My grandsons came over on Thanksgiving and each brought an armload of books. They didn’t open them but they always come over with books in case they get bored. I love seeing them read. [My fifth grade grandson reads on an 8th grade level, my first grade grandson reads on a 3rd grade level].

    This year, besides regular gifts, I am giving personalized books to each of my kids and grand kids. Each book is my personal, “What I Love About You” rendition.

    I wrote a book for my dad [my fondest memories of him] on his 60th birthday and he loved it.

    The books are not long or elaborate, but express my love for each person. I fill them with memories I hold dear. I like to insert pictures as well. They make great gifts!

    Everyone loves a personal book about themselves -and being reminded that they are loved.

    Grace and Peace

  6. Peter DeHaan says:

    My family often complains about my Christmas and Birthday wish lists because they contains nothing but books! But books are what I truly want and are a wonderful gift for me.

  7. Judith Robl says:

    My youngest daughter is a Dick Francis fan. She bought one of his books on sale and pointed out the other one to her sister and me. Needless to say, it’s waiting to be gift wrapped.

    My son’s mother-in-law is one of my former students. She was a senior in my high school English class. It was a disastrous year. I felt like a total failure. When my daughter-in-law was about eighteen months old, I met them in a local store one day.

    I oohed and ahed over the baby who was a darling. And told her I always felt like I needed to apologize for that year of teaching.

    She said, “Oh, please don’t. That’s the year I learned to love reading.” Probably the best gift I’ve ever been given.

    All three of her daughters are book lovers. And so are my grandchildren.

    You never know…

  8. Sarah Thomas says:

    In addition to giving books, I ask for them. I’ve requested Mark Twain’s biography, the new Jan Karon book and the Narnia box set, which I’ve read but don’t own. Books have long been among my favorite gifts.

  9. as usual Etta, you kicked my brain into thinking mode. Buying a book for someone is far more special that buying a gift card, if you really know what that person wants. I know people say that I have too many books already, why buy more? And of course, I reply, why not?
    thanks for another great blog

  10. One of my favorite presents to buy my children is books! It’s a fun activity we can do together–and it fosters a love of reading. This year, on my list for them is “The Giving Tree” and one of Richard Scarry’s Busytown books. They love them!

  11. Etta Wilson says:

    Heidi, you made a new connection for me–giving “The Giving Tree” as a gift. There must be lots of people doing that as the book continues to thrive on the classics list.

  12. Etta Wilson says:

    Caroline, you and my niece are saying the same things. Her two-year-old is a major book lover and now is making great strides in vocabulary development. Those two things usually go together and are such fun to see. So glad you’re giving books at this stage.

  13. brand says:

    By far the most helpful as well as current info I recently found for this area. I am sure pleased that I saw that article by chance. I’ll probably be subscribing to your own rss feed so that I can have the most recent updates. Love all the stuff here.