Monday, November 30, 2009

Book is the New Gift

Turkeys and cornucopias are coming down, twinkly trees and fat dudes in red suits are going up, and they're piping Christmas music into every elevator in the country. This can only mean one thing, gentle readers: the holiday season is coming! And you've only got twenty-five more shopping days before Christmas. What on earth can you get your family, friends, enemies, co-workers, bookies, &c that says "hey, I didn't spend a ton of money on you, but that's okay because I clearly put a lot of thought into this gift and, check it out, I didn't make it myself"?

The answer: books!

Yes, books. It's no secret that books are great gifts: you can get a lot of hardcovers (as well as most trade paperbacks and any mass market paperback) for under $20, you can get something for pretty much everyone you know all in the same store/on the same website, and you indirectly finance the existence of great industry blogs like this one! Everyone wins. Especially you, when you see your five-year-old nephew's face light up on Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa eve upon opening a copy of Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire. You can't put a price tag on moments like that.

NPR has put together a list of the best gift books of 2009, Laura over at Combreviations has posted on Penguin's list of books to give and get, and Big Brother Fearless Leader Amazon has some ideas for you as well.

So Friends, Roman (-à-clef reader)s, (No) Country (For Old) Men (fans), lend me your ears: write, write, write! And, once you're done writing, go buy some more books—your friends/family need you, your economy needs you, and dang it, I need you, too. At the end of the day, you're the ones paying my salary, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a vested interest in your continuing to buy books. That said, I'm off to my favorite independent book store—I've got a long list this year and, somehow, less time to complete it in.



  1. I've already decided books for everyone. Once you have teenagers- unless you have a fortune for the devices they want you are safer with a book.

  2. I recently posted about my Christmas wish list... books on writing! Books are not just for giving. When someone asks what I want for Christmas, I give them another title.

  3. We must all be in the gift giving mood--I just posted about books as gifts as well.

  4. Eric - thanks for the lists! I'll be checking them twice.

    I always give books, for everyone from Grandpa to the baby cousins. However, this year, I was thinking of being a little more intentional with my giving - maybe seeking out some debut novels that would be 1)perfect gifts for the 25 people on my list and 2)would give a book sale to a new author. Do you know an easy way to find the debut novels of 2009?

    Spending an entire afternoon shopping at the bookstore for Christmas: $259
    The look on the check-out clerk's face: Priceless!

  5. I think there are maybe 2 or 3 people I know, in my immediate and extended family, that would actually appreciate a book for a gift. Sadly, I think I'm one of the only ones in my clan that actually enjoys reading.

  6. What a coincidence - I just got back from saving my local economy by dropping a truckload of money at our nearest bookstore. Every person on my gift list will be forced to read this year :)

  7. At the end of the day, you're the ones paying my salary.

    Haha. So that's where all my money went. As long as you're spending it on books, I'm okay with it. :)

  8. OK, if it pays your salary I'll blow a heaps of money at the local book store (and I don't mean ASDA) this Christmas. ;)