Shopping For A Book-Lover This Season? How To Pick A Book They Won’t Hate

by Melissa Ragsdale
Pixel Stories/Stocksy

The holiday season is in full swing, which means you're probably staring down a long list of people to shop for. And of course, books are the best gifts, in my opinion. They're personal, they're beautiful, they're easy to wrap — and they have the potential to be a gift they will always remember.

Now, of course, I could just tell you some great books to give as gifts. But, truthfully, the best book gift is very specific to every person, and that's not really something I can entirely predict for you. But what I can do is give you some things to think about as you browse through your favorite bookstore in search of the perfect book to give.

Let's admit it: book shopping for someone else can be a little tricky. You inevitably end up finding a million books you want for yourself almost immediately, but selecting a book for someone else takes a little extra care. However, if you're asking yourself the right questions, it can actually be a piece of cake to find a gift for everyone on your list with one trip to the bookstore.

So, think of these questions like book-buying prompts to help you find the perfect book, no matter who you're shopping for.


What's a book I've read that I would love to talk about with them?

One of my favorite parts of giving books as gifts is that they really can bring you closer to someone. It's so thrilling to get to talk to someone about a book, but be sure to select something you think they will also like.


What new book just came out in their favorite genre?

The tricky part about buying books for people is that you don't want to get them something they've already read, but you do want to get them something they'll be excited about. A new release is a great bet, so choose one in their favorite genre.


What are they planning for right now?

Sometimes the best book to give is a helpful book. For example, if someone's heading on vacation in the coming months, get them a book about (or set in) the place they're going. If someone's New Year's resolution is to cook more, get them a book that that explores the joy of cooking.


What books has their favorite author recommended?

Authors always have great book recommendations, and it usually just takes a quick glance at their website or Twitter feed to find out what books they recommend.


What's a unique book I could give them?

Perhaps a rare edition of their favorite book, a book by a local author, or a fun book from a used bookstore is just the thing they want this year. Look for something they might not think to buy for themselves.


What are they passionate about?

Nearly every hobby or passion has a book to match it. Whether they love crafts, cooking, alcohol, science, film, sports — you name it, there's a book (or even a whole section) for it.


What's a book they'll have time to read?

As much as I love big books, you might want to put some thought into the schedule of the person you're shopping for. If they're in a busy time, maybe a shorter book is the way to go.


What's a book they'll love to look at?

Don't let anybody tell you not to judge a book by its cover: they can really make a difference. Look around to find a book that draws your eye visually — a gorgeous cover is almost guaranteed to get your recipient excited when they take the wrapping off. If you don't see anything right away, try browsing through the art books section.


What's a book that will make them laugh?

A funny cover? A hilarious title? A ridiculous premise? Or maybe even their favorite comedian has a book out that they need to read. Think about what might put a smile on their face.


What's a book that goes along with something you've done together?

If you saw a certain movie together, maybe give them the book it's based on. Or, if you love to do a certain activity when you hang out, get them a book that's connected to that. Give them a book that will remind them of the time they've spent with you, and they're sure to love it.