7 Rules for Gifting Books

Have you ever gifted books to someone? If yes, were you successful in bringing a smile to their face? Book gifting is not like gifting other things. It is much more complex and requires a lot of thinking and knowledge. Having suffered the fate of being gifted a book I hated, here is a list of rules I believe will make you and your loved one happy giving and receiving books as gifts.

1. Don’t Pick from the Bestsellers’ List

The mistake that most gifters do when choosing books as gifts is to pick from the trending or bestseller list. This is a shortcut way of something that should be done after thorough research and understanding of the person’s tastes. This is a mistake because-

a) Your booklover friend might have already purchased a book from the list, and

b) Bestseller book list is not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. There is a high chance a book from the bestseller list may not be what the person is interested in.

2. Get Your Hands on Their Wish List

This way you’ll end up picking the right book that they want. Having a look at a book lovers’ wish list is not that difficult, just ask them to show it to you. Book lovers love to flaunt their reading wish list. Once you are shown the list, don’t get overwhelmed by the huge pile. Go through it slowly and, if possible, ask the person to send you the list. Then choose your book based on your budget and its availability.

3. Give Preference to the Giftee’s Reading Taste

During a Secret Santa event in my office, I was asked (via someone else) what I would like as a gift because my Secret Santa was clueless about what to give me. And I obviously said books. To make it easier, I even sent the names of the books I would want. They were not expensive. And yet, what I received was far away from my taste. I ended up throwing the book away.

Always consider the personal tastes of your giftee; they are very serious about their choices. Don’t let your own choice overrule the one of the person you are gifting it to like it happened with me.

You can ask the person via a common friend about their reading choices. Or you can directly approach them and start a conversation around books, get to know about their favorite authors/genres, the books they have read, and, finally, the books they would want to read. Take a mental note of the titles and write them down as soon as you can and pick from them.  

4. Write a Quick Note for Non-Readers

If you are gifting a book to a non-reader, it’s good to write a short note explaining why you are giving them the book. Generate a little interest in them with your words before the book can. Let them know about its significance, the role it played in your life, and your hope that it will do the same for the person. This little explanatory note will compel the person to take your gift seriously and not keep it away and forget about it.

5. Don’t Write inside the Book

You don’t write gift notes on a mug, electronics, or a T-shirt. Then why treat books differently? Many people love to leave notes inside a book. Many, like me, feel it ruins its sanctity. Including a note with the gift is welcome if it’s written on a separate piece of paper. If you don’t want to do that, I suggest you leave the note out altogether. The person will be too engrossed in the new book to care about any handwritten note. But this doesn’t mean the person will overlook the thought that went behind the book gift if you include a note (on a separate page, mind that). Just skip writing inside the book, that’s it.

6. Don’t Forget Bookmarks

Don’t behave like Amazon is doing these days, which is not including bookmarks with the books purchased. For a book lover, books with bookmarks are two gifts, not one. Take care to include stylish or quirky bookmarks with your gift and you’ll earn a special place in the person’s heart. That’s the power of books with bookmarks!

7. Choose Simple Wrapping

The gift inside is so special that it doesn’t need flashy outer packaging to make it exciting. Keep the wrapping simple. Skip too many tapes and wrapping the book too securely. Unwrapping it should be easy and quick so the bibliophile can come face to face with their love without any delay.

I hope these book gifting rules prove helpful. Happy book gifting!!


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