Need A Book Reco? Call The Penguin Hotline

by Emma Cueto

Christmas shopping is rarely ever easy, and there's no shopping process trickier than trying to buy someone else a book. Fortunately, book publisher Penguin is all over that with The Penguin Hotline, a resource that will help holiday shoppers select the right book for anyone on their Christmas lists. It's like the Butterball Hotline, but for books!

Getting someone the perfect book gift is hard under the best of circumstances. Throw in the panic that sets in while alone in a store around the holidays, and you have a potential disaster on your hands. Which is why it's good to have the option of getting someone to help you find a specific title before you leave the house to go shopping. Shopping is better with help. And with lists. Lists are nice. I hear Santa's a fan.

So, how does all this work?

Well, if you're interested in a recommendation, you simply go to and fill out some information about your potential book gift recipient — age, literary likes, other interests and hobbies — and submit the form. Penguin employees (not computers) will then take that information and come up with a few personalized book recommendations (though it may take up to two days, according to the site). And, if you like, they will also tell you which book stores near you have the item in stock, saving you from the hazards of multiple trips to the store or delayed holiday shipping.

And, even though this venture is run by Penguin, the hotline is "publisher-agnostic" and will recommend books from any publishing house, not just Penguin. "[We] want to support anyone interested in giving a book for the holiday season," they explain in a press release. "[People] work at Penguin because of a passionate love of books, and we are thrilled to channel that passion into helping others give a book to someone they love this season."

So, whether you're trying to narrow down a title for your biography-obsessed grandmother or trying to encourage your 3-year-old cousin's growing love of reading, know that you are not in this alone! The Penguin Hotline is there to help. Try it out, and see what you think.