Ah yes, the holidays. Where people give gifts to each other, or struggle to find something for the person who has everything.
Here are some recommendations for what to maybe purchase for your favorite book lover…and possibly writer.
Okay, I’m just going to spoil it right now and tell you what to purchase for the writer in your life: their book! Doesn’t matter if you have no plans to actually read it, if you have the means to purchase it, please do so. It helps with sales numbers and is just a wonderful little thing to brighten their day after this hellyears.
As for the book lovers…well, here are a few things.
And no, I’m not affiliated with any of these places; I just like them!
You know what sucks? Belonging to fandoms where there is no merch! I feel like I could trip and fall anywhere in Bookish Etsy and stumble into SJM or GOT land, but if I want something else…well, good luck.
Bookish socks are always something to cozy into in winter. I’m generally a no-socks ever person, but living in a house with shitty insulation and hard floors has me rethinking my stance on socks.
I like Out of Print because they have a huge assortment of bookish apparel, and they’re relatively affordable. They also use proceeds to donate books and support literacy programs around the world, and their products tend to be pretty cool.
Bookriot also has a list of fantastic bookish socks, because funky socks are apparently a thing? Maybe I also need to show my cracked and dry feet some love this year…I’m definitely looking at those socks that tell people to go away when I’m reading.
I absolutely love this ultimate sci-fi author’s shirt from Sistah Sci Fi—a cauldron of all things afro-futurism. In addition to shirts, they also sell books and other things, all supporting works by Black and Native American women.
As for fandoms with hardly any damn shit, I finally found an Abhorsen shirt that is just gorgeous from Blissfully Bookish. This store has mostly t-shirts (from the Grishaverse to Talia Hibbert’s Brown Sisters Trilogy), but also has some enamel pins too!
And if you have a library worker or library lover in your family/friendset, here’s this amazing shirt from boredwalk, a not-strictly bookish Etsy store, but still pretty neat.
Or, in keeping with the cozy theme, you could get a bookish-themed scarf! The options are literally endless, like this Book Infinity Scarf from ionnass, or Out of Print, or Litographs or…just search your person’s fandom and there just might be a scarf for it.
I also think literary/bookish face masks would be a cool gift too, and there are some cool hoodies and sweatshirts out there that are really cozy looking. And skirts and…there are a lot of options. I also really love Her Universe, which has a number of different fandoms (mostly movie and comics, but some book stuff too).
The only problem with buying someone bookish apparel is making sure that you know your person’s size.
I love bookish earrings. From the overt references from quotes or book covers to stacks of books, to more subtle pieces or just a fucking sword that goes through your ear, I love showing off my bookish self.
I don’t have a lot of bookish earrings because I’m very picky, but I do like the more subtle, kinda minimalistic ones that hint at a fandom without being super over the top about it.
Although those book cover earrings are pretty cool too, just not entirely my style. But they may be your book lover’s style! There are also a number of Etsy shops that do customized book covers (hint hint if you have a writer friend who got published).
I’m an earrings person, so that’s why there are more earring pictures, but there are lots of options on other bookish jewelry, such as rings, bracelets and necklaces—ranging from subtle shoutouts to the book or bookish love, or more overt pieces to geek out over.
Another option is to get your reader an understated piece. Maybe there’s an element or animal listed within their favorite book that they love, like bees or jade or mountains or amber. A themed piece is another way for them to wear something they love, and there are a lot of minimalistic designs if they enjoy those.
Subscription to a Book Box
There are a bunch of subscription boxes out there, and many lists featuring some favorites. Bookriot has a really good list that breaks down prices and offerings, from no-frills to over-the-top lists. Prices of the boxes can range from $13/month to…a lot more.
Call Number Box is subscription book box celebrating Black literature and authors from the African diaspora—the books are all curated by a librarian! The focus is on contemporary literature.
Indiespensable by Powell’s Books is an indie-featured book box with just the book, no frills (although there are some perks), that releases every 6-8 weeks. The book box is taking a hiatus, but plans to return in 2022.
My Thrill Club and Fairyloot are themed boxes with oodles of goodies, and if your reader has set a goal of reading more classics (and enjoys coffee), then the Coffee and Classics box might be for them.
Okay, there are a ton of bookish pins out there, and so many are so damn cool! Etsy is a really great place for enamel pins, and there are a lot of really neat things—a little bit for everyone and everything.
If your person is a writer, maybe think about getting them a pin that’s based on one of their stories! Obviously if they’re not a bestseller there’s probably not going to be something out there that’s just for them, but there are a lot of different types, and it’s a cute and relatively cheap way celebrate them and their work.
I’m not a huge candle person, but themed scented candles are super popular, and if you’re looking for something that’s a little more personal than a Yankee Candle and you know that person is a reader, may I present themed bookish candles?
There are generic book candles based on book page smells, and others that go into specific fandoms (and characters) and spooky scents too! Maybe I’m just excited to see something that’s got one of my favorite fandoms represented (it’s so hard to find Tortall stuff).
Really quickly, here are some other ideas. Book sleeves to protect kindles, paperbacks and hardbacks from the elements and the interior of crammed bags! There are a lot of cute ones, ranging from plain to intricate designs to fandom-themed to literally whatever you can think of.
I also really like book and plant themed items, and if your person has also gotten into houseplants, there are some really cute bookish-themed planters out there. Or planters that come in animal shapes for smaller plants that can be added to give a bookshelf some ~greenery~.
I love bookish totes, which are perfect for carting around books and anything else that needs to be carried around. Gym clothes, groceries, cats, car keys, books, whatever. There are some really cute ones out there. Likewise with decorative pillows—I like buying decent pillow inserts and then rotating out pillow covers every so often to liven up my home. There are some really, really nice designs on quality fabric, and while Etsy has a lot, Blk & Bkish has a lot of really beautiful designs (I couldn’t pull pics from their site but they are lovely).
Other thoughts are purchasing fan art from small business creators, Funko Pop figurines of your reader’s favorite characters, large prints of their favorite book covers (a nice option for writers is to get them a framed pic of their book’s cover), bookish drink coasters and more, bookish games, travel mugs and coffee cups, and so many stickers ranging from vinyl to bumper stickers to sticker sticker to more to allow your reader to customer their belongings.
Gift card to their favorite indie store
Okay, this is a gimme, but still, you’re supporting your reader’s book buying habit and supporting local and indie businesses. This is also a great option because of the snarls in the supply chain, and always you to support these stores year round.
If your reader is looking to diversify their reading habits and support BIPOC booksellers, here are some compiled lists: Indigenous Owned Bookstores, Black Owned Bookstores, Diverse Bookstores, Latine/x Owned Bookstores, 50 Queer Bookstores, and AAPI Owned Bookstores. I personally love Books and Crannies for online shopping (I live too far to visit in person), and Solid State Books has a fantastic selection and great online programs.
Yes, there’s going to be a book on this list!
And just one book made the list: Bibliophile Diverse Spines, created to uplift and highlight diverse authors who are often underrepresented in the literary world. Not only are there gorgeous pictures of stacked book spines and spotlights on specific authors and books, there are also lists and recommendation for bookstores with BIPOC owners.
Also, one final way to support your reader’s habit (other than buying them books or gift cards), is to help facilitate their reading. Maybe they’re audiobooks fans or have been wanting an ereader for a hot minute: there are some really great wireless Bluetooth speakers out there that aren’t the price of Airpods, and of course, there is the ubiquitous Kindle ereader. I love my paperwhite, and while it’s an investment (because not only do I recommend the reader but a cover to protect the screen), there are a lot of free ebooks on there and ways to (legally) add them to your kindle that don’t cost $$. Definitely a must if your reader is a NetGalley or Edelweiss fan.