Thoughtful and unusual presents for book addicts

by April_M

There are people who love books so much that book or word themed gifts are always welcome. Take my word for it, as an expert.

Book lovers seem easy to buy for on any occasion, at first glance. What could be more obvious than a book? Sometimes, though it’s nice to bring a little variety to your gift giving repetoire. Luckily book lovers all over the world have created a huge variety of book related items, in the certain knowledge that some of us love our favourite texts, or even the shape and scent of words and books, so much that we’d love to fill our homes with objects that please us in the moments we can’t be immersed in a good book. With both small independent artists and large retailers in on the act, thinking outside the book has never been easier.

(Image above by Sandra of JaneAndCompanyDesign on Etsy, used with permission).

Book love. By Geralt on Pixaby.
Book love. By Geralt on Pixaby.

Wear it out.

Wear your geekery with pride!

One of the most fun ways to celebrate favourite quotes, books or authors is on an item of clothing. If you know the gift recipient has a favourite book or author then a search can bring up some wonderful tshirts such as these UK ones.  It's like carrying a small piece of something you love all day.

 Even if you don't have a particular book in mind there are some really lovely quotes out there on tshirts, signalling an appreciation of the written word to all who pass, and spreading a little literary love. From obscure quotes and silhouettes that appeal to those who know their literature intimately, to more popular quotes that work on some level for everyone, this genre of tshirts is taking off. The subject range is so vast, though, with so much rich material, that you're sure to be able to find something very different to that which everyone else is wearing.

Unconventional conventions.

Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody from Harry Potter at Phoenix Comicon 2011.
Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody from Harry Po...

An experience.

If no gift seems right, or if you want to give a gift that stays with someone for life without cluttering up the house, then consider treating your book addict to an experience that enhances their book love even further.

You could take them to a location known for its books, such as Hay on Wye on the Welsh side of the English/Welsh border, with its well known bookshops and annual festival. Or perhaps the Edinburgh Book Festival would be the ultimate treat, attracting world famous authors as well as discussions and workshops for all ages in one of the most lovely cities in the UK. Overseas there’s the National Book Festival held annually by the Library of Congress, the Texas book festival and numerous others.

Find out if there’s a special exhibition of a rare book, or a convention for fans. Jane Austen fans would enjoy an Austen themed trip to Bath or Chatsworth House, while Harry Potter fans are spoilt for choice, with conventions in many locations around the world.

If none of this appeals then consider a book related course or workshop. There are all kinds of courses available, from creative writing to book binding. If the course you want isn't available in your area, think creatively and look up youtube videos and buy a book on the subject. The gift of knowledge is usually a very welcome one to a bookworm.

Stay in book paradise.

There are actual hotels with a book or literature theme. This fact thrills my heart. I won't go into details because other pens have done that already. If you'd like to find out more a quick search will throw up gems such as this great article from flavorwire detailing ten of the best.

 You can find hotels with rooms based on your favourite book or author, or ones with a general library like feel, with the book as decor, or even rooms based on concepts such as 'happily ever after'. If a hotel is just too far out of budget there are even bed and breakfasts with similar themes.

This is a more luxurious gift, either way, but might be ideal for a couple of bookworms who'd like to celebrate their adoration for books. Or each other. It could be a wonderful anniversary trip for the couples whose weddings had a book theme, or for anyone whose eyes met over the top of a novel. Alternatively they would make a brilliant retreat if you needed some space, just you and your books.

The visual impact of a book themed room is delightful enough in itself, but knowing there are rooms in the world decorated just as you'd like your own to be, if real life practicalities stopped getting in the way, is beyond delight.

Smells like a book shop in here…

Those of us who’re truly addicted will tell the rest of the world (and one another) that there’s nothing quite like the smell of a bookshop. It’s quite true, but there are a few innovative products that do their best. Paper Passion is a perfume that has captured the scent of a book fresh off the press, ideal for people whose idea of heaven is an afternoon in  a bookshop. It’s available here for those of us in the UK, or see below for the US.

Of course for some, the smell of second hand bookshops is the more sublime experience, and there are candles that attempt to replicate those very smells. Since each shop has its own character you may need to try a few before you find the one that smells most like your, or your giftee's, favourite oasis of peace.

Paddywax Library Collection Cardamom, Absynthe, Sandalwood, Edgar Allan Poe Soy Wax Candle, 6.5-O...

For all of the bibliophiles in our lives Paddywax presents the Library Collection. Pairing favorite quotes with exquisite fragrances, we pay homage to the literary greats. Impec...

View on Amazon

Paddywax Candles Library Collection Charles Dickens Jar Candle, Tangerine Juniper and Clove

For all the bibliophiles in our lives we present the Library Collection. Pairing favorite quotes with exquisite fragrances, we pay homage to the literary greats. Impeccably pack...

View on Amazon

The little things.

Book lovers tend to appreciate the little things. If your budget is small then a well placed bookmark or card with a quote on is a lovely gift. They also make great stocking fillers for Christmas and birthdays. If you know your gifted has an eReader of some description then an eBook can be an affordable, different gift.

The gift of a little of your time and effort will always be appreciated by someone who knows there's not enough time in the world to read all the books. There are creative tutorials for book cookies, book cakes and all kinds of other fun, affordable things to make and eat, if you have the time and skill.

Another option is a search on Etsy. You can set your budget and come up with some really beautiful, unusual book themed gifts. Necklaces with themed charms or beautiful quotes, often recycled from old texts. Book holders, beautiful bookmarks. Badges and buttons reminiscent of the literary greats. The beauty of these communities is that the stock changes as the artists come up with new, lovely things, so it’s unlikely that someone else will buy the same gift. The image at the top of this article, for instance,  is used, with permission from one such etsy shop. Sandra from JaneAndCompanyDesign has created a range of gorgeous art based on literary quotes and authors that are available as items such as cards, prints and wall decor.

To sum up.

There’s such an understanding of the appeal of words and books nowadays that books themselves are only one small aspect of book appreciation. Gifts large and small, to hold in your hand or intangible ones that stay in a memory forever,  there’s something out there for every taste and budget. This collection of suggestions only scratches the surface. If none of this sounds like it will work for your book lover, though, there’s always a good book.


Happy reading!

Updated: 01/30/2014, April_M
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Mary Woodward on 05/25/2014

Loved the article! If only I had the money to indulge all my desires... Must put in a plug for Wigtown, book town extraordinaire and host to a wonderful [small but perfectly formed] book festival of its own :)

April_M on 01/10/2014

Thanks, Mira! :)

Mira on 01/10/2014

I pinned "A book a day keeps reality away" on two of my boards. Love The Book Lover's Cookbook idea -- I was looking for something like this in Romania, and actually managed to find an older book. I can't wait to read this one.

Guest on 01/09/2014

Here's one: totally unique too - . The gift is available on etsy.

April_M on 01/09/2014

Thank you kinworm. :)
I think they both have their benefits. Either object to you dropping them in the bath though. I haven't found any proper solution for that yet.

Marie on 01/09/2014

I love my Kindle :) I like the fact that you can load up lots of books which is really convenient for holiday reading. However I also love my real paper books on certain subjects such as art and cooking - you can't beat looking through the nice glossy pages. Lovely gift guide.

April_M on 01/09/2014

I've never been to Charring Cross Road, but I've always wanted to, since I read THAT book!

JoHarrington on 01/09/2014

I could die happy in Hay-on-Wye, or the bookshops in Charing Cross Road. Blaenafon is also attempting to turn itself into a book town. Yep, you've found another Bibliophile here.

April_M on 01/09/2014

Thank you!
I'm using an eReader on a mobile device just now but I'm starting to eye up the kindle, I must admit;

KathleenDuffy on 01/09/2014

Lovely article with some unusual gifts too! Like you, I was suspicious of the Kindle, but I have a very plain, simple one and I love it.

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