Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Gift Of Reading

Brace yourselves. I have an announcement of epic proportions.

Christmas is coming.

I know, I know, it's completely shocking that it is showing up again on December 25. If your family is like mine and highly values the written word, there will likely be a book or two underneath your tree.

It's a tradition for us - there is always reading material in the stocking. Always. One year it was the only thing in mine and my husband's stocking, but there is always a book or occasionally a magazine subscription.

Last year, I got my Kindle. I love it. It's fabulous and amazing. I love having so many books in my purse at one time. But it does make my husband's job a little more difficult. Because I've been watching digital deals all year and been able to utilize Amazon's Prime lending feature, I've kept up with a lot more books than I normally would.

So I don't know what he's going to get me. I hope it's actually one of the books on my writing craft wish list... hint, hint... The list is in the notebook underneath my desk in case anyone wanted to know... Like my hubby... who reads this blog... But I digress.

Since this is the second Tuesday of the month I would normally highlight a particular favorite book of mine, but since Christmas is coming, I thought I'd share some gifts you can give to the reader in your life. If you're like me, you're already shopping and hoping to get it all out of the way so you can enjoy the holidays.


This is the first and foremost gift idea for any book lover. But how do you pick the perfect book?

1. Ask. If you don't mind giving up the element of surprise, you could just ask them if there's a book they've been wanting. This is easiest, but for some people it takes a bit of the fun out of gift giving.

2. Check their bookshelf. You want to do this for two reasons. First you don't want to buy them a book they already have and second you can find out what type of books they like. If you're checking out a bookshelf, look for two things:
       - recurring authors - sometimes it will be very clear that there are one or two authors that the reader loves. You can check to see if that author has a new book out (that they don't already own) but you can also use book reading sites to find authors similar to their favorites.
       - recurring publisher - This is one I didn't realize until I started writing. Publishers tend to have individual styles. And without intentionally doing so or even realizing it, your reader might gravitate toward a particular publisher. I was surprised to find two particular publishers encompassed about 75% of the Christian books on my shelf.

3. Look for something new. Maybe your loved one is adventurous and likes trying new books. There are several places you can go to strike out on your own with book selections.
      - Bestseller list - Some books are really popular. If your reader is someone who likes to see what the buzz is about, this could be a good route.
      - Bookstore employees / Librarians - These people live and breathe books. They will likely have a good suggestion for you.
      - The web - American Christian Fiction Writers has a site called Fiction Finder that will help you find books by genre, author, and many other search criteria.
      - Awards - Nearly every genre of book has an award or two. Get on the web and find the list of winners. ACFW's winning book list can be found here. The Christy Award, another prestigious Christian fiction award, has a list of winners here. 

4. Go back to something old. Check backlists of some of their favorite authors. Are there any older books they don't yet have? I've highlighted a few of my favorite older books this year. You can find those articles here.


I have my Kindle and I love it, but there are other who love their Nooks, iPads, and other various electronic readers. Even if you know you want a Kindle you have several choices to make. Some things to consider when selecting an e-Reader:

1. Other Electronic Devices If your loved one has a iPhone, iPod, and a MacBook, then most likely they would want an iPad. They already own compatible apps and know the device. On the other hand if they carry an android phone and despise all things Apple, they probably don't want an iPad. Think about what fits in with their existing digital accessories.

2. Price It is a major thing to consider. Determine your price point before you shop. You can find something for any budget.

3. How will they use it? I play games on mine and do a lot of things besides just read, so I have the Fire. My father-in-law reads. That's it. He has the basic Kindle and it's perfect for him. He never goes anywhere without it. Since he got it, I think he reads more than I do.

4. Where the content comes from Many readers are connected to a content source. And while there are ways around it sometimes, you want to make it as easy as possible for your gift receiver. If they love Amazon and buy things constantly from Amazon, get them a Kindle. If they don't want to be tied to anything and want more control, you may want to look at a Windows tablet.


If you're a fan of the gift that keeps on giving, consider enrolling your loved one in a book club. Books will arrive on their doorstep all year long, just waiting to provide hours of escape and enjoyment. If they like short, inspirational romances, Love Inspired has three lines to choose from for monthly reading deliveries. 

There are many other book subscription services though. Simply do an internet search for monthly book subscription and look for your favorite service. Sometimes these subscriptions are tied to book forums and clubs. If your reader is into that, consider giving them one that would provide conversation and discussion as well as a good story.


If all else fails, give them the gift of picking their own reading material. They'll still appreciate it.

Have you ever been given the perfect book? Do you like giving books as gifts? What tips would you add to this list?

All pictures courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

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