The best gifts are found in the bookstore

Whenever I want to buy a present for someone, I often end up getting a book. It’s kind of my go-to gift. Books are great for everyone, not just “readers” or lovers of literature.

For people who say they don’t like to read, there are lots of books that are light on text and heavy on images. Actually, it doesn’t matter if the recipient can read at all. Babies and toddlers like books because they’re attracted to the colours and shapes.

As Christmas approaches, the bookstore is the only store I can stand to be in for very long. There’s no need to worry about buying the wrong size; there’s no rummaging through shelves or bins hoping to stumble upon something appropriate.

It’s possible to walk into a bookstore without a specific title in mind and manage to leave with a personalized gift. It doesn’t matter if it’s for someone you’re not very close to (books also make great hostess presents); you just have to think about what you know about the person. If they recently took a trip to Paris, get a book of photographs of the city. For the sports fan, there are several biographies of athletes available. Even if the person has already read the book, the thought put into the gift will be clear.

Years ago, my boss at the time gave me Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club for Christmas. I had already read the book and owned a copy, but the gift meant a lot to me. My boss knew I enjoyed reading novels, he knew I loved the on-screen adaptation and he’s also a film buff. So there was a personal connection.

It was personalized even more because he included an inscription. Unlike cards, which are often tossed aside or lost, the words written inside the book itself will always be there. They remind the recipient of the gift-giver and of the sentiment.

And if you’d rather not put much thought into the gift, books are still a good choice. They can entertain us, educate us, make us see the world in ways we never did before. Not to mention, they provide nice décor for the home.

I’m sure some of my family members will read this, but I’m not spoiling any surprises. They already know they’ll get a book from me this Christmas; it’s kind of an unspoken tradition. Now I just have to come up with something meaningful to write inside.


4 thoughts on “The best gifts are found in the bookstore

  1. Great article. I liked the idea that “There’s no need to worry about buying the wrong size; there’s no rummaging through shelves or bins hoping to stumble upon something appropriate.” lol.
    And I loved the link to “inscription”

  2. I especially love that your boss included an inscription in the book he gave you! Adds just that personalized touch that will make me treasure the book even more.

    Whenever I shop at used bookstores, I look for the really worn copies with inscriptions. It’s like getting a peek at the original owner’s life. Makes me sad too sometimes that the inscribed book had been donated/sold, especially if the inscription had been especially personalized. I like buying books like that; in a weird way, I feel like I’m rescuing the book, making sure it’s owned by someone (me!) who’d appreciate it at least as much as the original owner must have when he/she received it.

  3. Hi Nicky, my local bookstore seems to be thriving — Book City on Danforth — great selection and personal attention. Nice tip on the inscription. Over the past couple of years I have been the lucky recipient of many book gifts. My friend Rob gave me the Sisters Brothers for my birthday. I read it, and immediately re-gifted it back to him. I am part of an informal “book club” where we play pool and exchange novels — a nice continuity and sharing of ideas over time. May the magic of the bookstore live one. The e-world cannot come close to recreating it.

  4. Pingback: On the desire to be better at gifting books | Finding the Words

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