Friday, September 20th, 2019

Why Books Make the Best Gifts

Books really do make the best gifts, for everyone on your list (and especially kids). Here are just a few reasons why:

* Books are evergreen – they keep on giving, well beyond the day they are received. They give with each read, and if they are subsequently shared or passed down, they keep on giving. They are like presents that can be opened over and over again.

* Books send a message to the recipient beyond that of the book itself. They tell the reader, “I care about you. I think of you as this sort of person, and therefore I think you would enjoy this book.”

* Books educate, inform and inspire. They broaden consciousness and perspective. They also cultivate curiosity, nurture the imagination, and promote a sense of wonder.

* Books provide outstanding long-term value for a relatively low cost.

* Giving young people books as gifts subliminally underscores the connection between reading and the joy of receiving, thus strengthening the association between books and pleasure.

* There are countless types, genres, styles, subjects and authors to choose from, maximizing your opportunity to find something uniquely suited to each recipient.

* If you are overwhelmed by options, or not sure where to begin to find the right book for a loved one, there are myriad resources to help. Your local bookseller is trained to help match the right book to the right person. You can also explore’s “listmania” lists and “Customers who bought this book also explored…” feature. You can pick up a copy of the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, American Libraries magazine or any number of other publications dedicated to reviewing books. There are even websites geared to helping people find books they love – one to explore is

Plus, I’ll be posting next on great books to buy (or give) about reading and writing.

So give the best gift of all this year. Give books!


6 Responses to “Why Books Make the Best Gifts”
  1. Joanna says:

    I so 100% agree with you on this, Emma. My brother and I (both in our mid 40s) have been giving each other books every year for presents since leaving home at 18. Though I don’t have my own kids as Godmother, aunt and friend to a number of young people, books have always been my go-to present. Sometimes it is to share something I have loved that I think they will too, sometimes simply a new discovery. Also after 75 years as a non reader I have finally got my father into reading, so it is never too late! Having lived in so many different nations it has also been a boon that you can order and send easily in the country of your recipient with companies like Amazon. I love receiving books too. Thank you for the post 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    Books have always been among my favorite gifts, both to give and to receive. (I’ve even wrapped up a couple this year as gifts for myself! The anticipation is delightful!) I remember the delight on a young cousin’s face (she was maybe 8?) when I took a stack of my well-loved books for her, years ago. When she saw them on the kitchen table, her face lit up, and she exclaimed, “Reading material!” (Not a phrase one expects from one so young, but her joy in having new reading material was palpable.)

    Last year, a local big-box bookstore had a program in which people donated money for books for kids who didn’t have much access to books, and then the kids were brought to the store and allowed to select one book each. They were thrilled to actually have a book of their own. (One of the bookstore employees told me about the kids’ reaction — the people who work in the children’s section of that store recognize me, perhaps not surprisingly.) The thought of kids not having books of their own touched me so that when the same store had a program at Christmas last year whereby the names of kids and their interests were written on cards on a Christmas tree, and the store asked people to purchase one book each for the childrn, I bought and gave (with joy) so many books. I’ve been waiting in vain for the same program this year. I wish there were easier ways to get books into the hands of children who don’t have access — that’s one aspect of raising bookworms that really calls to me. Any ideas, Emma?

  3. Emma says:

    Thanks Beth and Joanna!
    Beth –, and all provide books to children in need of them. You may have a local chapter in your area. And many bookstores (independents as well as chains like Barnes and Noble), Target stores and Starbucks also do holiday book drives for kids. You can do a Google search on ‘holiday book drive’ to see if there are any in your area. Great idea – thanks for the comment (maybe I’ll do a separate blog post just on that!) and happy holidays!

  4. Beth says:

    Thanks, Emma! I’ll check those websites out. In the meantime, I went back to the bookstore, and asked a different person about the Christmas tree program. She went and asked the manager, who said that they weren’t doing it this year, but they had adopted a school in a disadvantaged area of the city, and if I wanted to buy some books and donate them, they’d see that the school got them. I duly chose 6 books, then said there were others I wanted to give, but they didn’t have them in stock. I said, “I have brand new copies at home, may I donate those?” They happily agreed, so I went home and got two Mousicals, and one each of Simeon’s Gift, Whangdoodle, Dragon, and Little Bo in Italy (the store had The Very Fairy Princess, so I’d bought that in the first go ’round). Now I must replenish my “give-away” stock (and since the copies of Simeon and Dragon were my own copies, recently purchased to replace others I’d given away, I shall get extras of those, and hopefully get to keep my own copies this time!) I left the bookstore feeling so happy, and I’m imagining the looks on the kids’ faces when they see and read those wonderful books (the 5 non JAE-EWH books were ones that are considered classics).

    I look forward to your blogpost about sharing books with others. And Happy Holidays to you and your family, as well!

  5. Suzie says:

    I love giving bookstore or amazon gift cards, because often I don’t really know a person’s individual reading tastes. Your second point about sending a message, Emma, makes a lot of sense. I will consider that approach in the future!

  6. Diane says:

    mmm Books are often found under our Christmas tree. While I usually give to people whose tastes I know well, I have often given book vouchers when I am not sure. This year I have sent a friend the book you and your Mum combined together…. Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies.

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