Friday, December 20, 2013

How I Choose Books To Give Away As Christmas or Birthday Gifts

The following post was sponsored by Grammarly. I use Grammarly for free proofreading because it's an easy and fast way to ensure that my articles are error-free, even when I'm working to tight deadlines.

This book begged to go into my gift pile!
I love receiving books as gifts for Christmas and birthdays, but I've also found them to be wonderful additions to whatever gifts I'm giving friends and family for special occasions.

So today, while I was doing my last minute Christmas shopping, I also bought a pile of books to add to my Christmas gifts.

My criteria for choosing books for a particular person are:

1. The book covers as a subject area of interest to the recipient. For example, a born-again Christian friend gets an inspirational novel and a writer friend gets a book on the craft of writing/ a biography of well-liked author. A friend who loves cooking gets a recipe book, preferably on cuisine I know interests her or something exotic she might find challenging to try.

2. The book introduces the recipient to an author I think they'll like. This is usually a new-to-me author who impressed me with their body of work, or the recipient likes books written in a style similar to the work of this author.

3. The book is part of a well-liked series. The only thing to worry about when making this choice is ensuring that my recipient doesn't already have this particular book. So I either raid her bookshelves or I ask her if she already has the book. This removes the element of surprise, but I can live with that.

4. The recipient loves the genre. This usually applies to friends and family who love romance, fantasy and sci-fi novels. I usually have to be careful though, because while many genre writers are talented people who put a lot of effort into their craft, there are, unfortunately, plenty of badly written novels out there that should never have been published/even self-published.

5. The recipient loves the author's work - This is usually an easy win, because I already know the recipient likes the author's style. And ja, I know it's lazy gift-giving, but I'd rather choose something safe than buy a book that the recipient has no interest in reading.

6. The eclectic choice - Sometimes I take a risk and buy a book that doesn't fit with my recipient's known choices. Or maybe, the recipient is not easy to categorise when it comes to books. For example, I have a friend who reads a lot, but I don't really understand the common elements within these books. Except, the books sort of make you contemplate the meaning of life. So if a book sounds interesting but defies easy classification, then I know it's for her.

7. The recipient loves the movie version - We already established she loved the story, right? But we all know that books are somewhat different from their movie versions. I also think that books tend to be richer than their movie versions, and so far, this criteria has workedwell for me.

8. The book received very good reviews - I don't buy my own books based on reviews, even when people are raving about it. But sometimes when I buy books for other people, I use reviews as a guideline. This usually happens when I think the recipient might like books I would never choose to buy for myself. The reviews give me the viewpoint of people who chose to spend their hard-earned cash on the book and what I want to know is, do they feel that they got good value for their money?

9. The book is on the bestseller list - This is one of my least favourite criteria, primarily because books I love rarely make the lists. And I don't like feeling like sheeple. But bestseller lists reflect the choice of the reading masses, so sometimes they are a good guideline as to what my recipient will like.

10. We know the author - I'm all for supporting the artists in our lives.

11. It's all about me - Sometimes I buy a book to gift to a friend or relative because I loved it and I've just got to share. I know that's a risky move, because this criteria takes my tastes into consideration, not the recipient's. But I've had a lot of success with it so maybe, sometimes, it's all about me. LOL!

Do you occasionally give your friends and family books as gifts? If so, please share your criteria on how you choose the books to gift away in the comments section below.


Gaynor said...

Very good post. DH and I were just having a chat about this this morning. He said he'd never buy a book for me as he never knows what I like and I AM a very difficult person to buy a book for. Sometimes I don't know myself what type of book I want as my moods change. So a well thought out guide list like this is a great resource for those buying books for friends. Gaynor Paynter, author "Working From Home as a Transcriptionist in South Africa"

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks for visiting Gaynor. I suspect that means the eclectic choice is for you? Though I have it in my mind I would get you a classic if i was buying you books. Not sure why classics come to mind for you.

Or i'd get you biographies of John Ritter or Rick Astley if they were published?

Lori said...

Good post, Damaria. It's often fun to help someone discover a new author or find them a favorite. I introduced my husband to a new author because I know he enjoys reading series. The author is a well-liked mystery series writer, so it was a fit!

Have a lovely holiday, Damaria. Happy Christmas!

Damaria Senne said...

Thanks for visiting, Lori. And Merry Christmas to you and your family too.

ShoansInLove said...

Thank you so much. I'm having a literary themed wedding and had decided to give books as favours (instead of the usual bunch of sugared almonds) when I suddenly thought "How on earth am I going to choose which books to give?" Now I have some inspiration:-)

Damaria Senne said...

Oh wow! I'm so glad the post was helpful. And best wishes for your wedding.

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