As an author, I love the idea of people getting books as a gift. But I don’t always believe a book is the right gift. On the flip side, what do you think about getting a book as a gift? Let’s examine the possibilities.
Giving a Book
There are two instances where I believe giving books as a gift is a great idea. One, when you really know the person’s tastes because perhaps you also share their tastes. Perhaps you both exchange books all the time. Two, when you give books to children. I have a four-year-old son and he gets books all the time, not just for the holidays or his birthday. Whenever I see a good children’s book, I buy it. His library is almost as big as mine.
But is there a time when giving a book as a gift is a bad idea? I believe so. If you are not certain of a person’s reading preferences, it’s probably best not to make assumptions. The kinds of books we read are very personal to us. And we all have different tastes. Why not get them a gift certificate to a book store instead?
Self-help books as a gift is another really bad idea. Such a gift might be misinterpreted, such as the gift of a vacuum cleaner to your wife. What exactly does this kind of gift say to the person? Gifts should not be what you think someone needs. It should be something they want, something they might enjoy, and something they might not splurge on for themselves.
Getting a Book
What if you get a book from someone and you’re pretty sure you won’t like the book? How do you react? Will you try to read it anyway? I think it depends on who gave you the book and how close they are.
No matter what, I always react with a smile and thanks. Whether I read the book or not depends on the person who gave it to me. If it’s an acquaintance I am not likely to see again anytime soon, I will donate the book to a library. Surely, someone will want to read it. If the book is from a close friend or family member, I will probably read it and give a constructive opinion of it later.
Unless that is, the gifted book is a book they wrote themselves. I don’t know about you other authors out there, but I DO NOT give my book as a gift. Nor would I necessarily want a book written by one of my author friends given to me as a gift. My friends write in various genres. And unless that friend knows I love their books, I might feel like I have to pretend I really liked their book because it was given as a gift. It’s different, however, if that friend gives me their book in a manuscript form (not as a gift) and asks me to critique it.
Giving and getting gifts can be a very personal thing for both the giver and the receiver. As such, it’s always important to be a thoughtful and considerate giver and an appreciative receiver.