By Melanie McNair
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
~ Neil Gaiman
Books make wonderful gifts for just about anyone in your life, whether they are avid readers or people who rarely read for pleasure. Here are some tips to help you find just the right gift for everyone on your list.
- Go to a brick-and-mortar independent bookstore. You need to be able to pick the books up, hold them in your
hand, look at the photos and read a few pages. The added benefits? You help support your local economy and receive the kind of customer service that a click of a mouse cannot provide. The people who work at independent bookstores are a vital part of the literary world as well as your own community.
- Ask for help! This is the most important tip of all. Booksellers know where to find books in the store and are invaluable resources for ideas. Don’t be shy. Try to do your shopping at least a week before you
exchange gifts. On the off chance a book is not in stock, it will give the store time to have it shipped from its warehouse.
- Have a list of the people you are buying for and two or three areas of interest for each. This will help you focus as
you move through the store into the different sections. Don’t be afraid to go large. The holidays are the best time to splurge on larger, beautifully made books and books meant to be kept as treasures.
- Collectors’ items can often be found for music lovers, movie buffs and those obsessed with pop culture. If someone on your list is not a reader, a bookstore is still great a place to shop. You can find quirky accessories, buttons, calendars, magnets, journals and crafts there, too.
- For the avid readers in your life, consider buying a gift membership to a first editions club. Recipients will receive a new hardcover each month, often signed by the author. You could also buy gift certificates for booklovers to decrease the risk of buying something they have already read. This is not a generic or thoughtless gift, but a gift of certain pleasure.
- Used bookstores have collectors’ items, signed first editions and rare books. These make for one-of-a-kind, thoughtful gifts whose value increases with time.
- Take advantage of free gift wrapping, and don’t forget to ask for gift receipts.
- Have fun! Chances are you will walk out with a few gifts for yourself, too.
Melanie McNair is director of marketing and author events/assistant manager of Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café at 55 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. To see a schedule of events for the month or to purchase tickets for special events, visit malaprops.com.