By December 4, 2009 3 Comments Read More →

Gift Ideas for Your Book Group

presentsHere’s a holiday dilemma: Do you buy presents for your book group? If you’re particularly well off, or the member of a very small book group, this isn’t so difficult. Books themselves aren’t the most expensive gifts in the world, and the Internet is an easy source of gimcracks and doodads for book lovers. Try a Google search for “bookish gifts” or “book group gifts” and you’ll get the idea.

But if you’re like me, making the big bucks in a job that pays like my library job does, even $8 a person for paperbacks might be a budget breaker. Besides, many book groups are large, and inevitably there will be members whom you don’t know well enough to make personalized gift picks.

Never fear, there are inexpensive gifts to be had, enough to celebrate the season and show you care without denting that battered wallet or purse any further.

  • Bookmarks are always nice, and can still be found for $1 to $3 each. How about buying a variety and then letting your book group friends pick from the stack, first-come first-served?
  • Inexpensive bags, meant for groceries, are available with bookish themes at most bookstores. These only cost $2-$3 per person, and come in handy on book group night or during a trip to the library.
  • Buttons are fun and inexpensive. Find some with bookish themes or a variety of clever sayings. Again, let your group members pick out their preference from a stack.
  • Buy or prepare one fancy food item for your next meeting. Put down a card next to it letting your group friends know it’s your gift for everyone.
  • Try a holiday book exchange: Everyone in the group brings five books that they like but no longer need on those crowded shelves at home. Then taking turns, everyone takes one book from the stash. Either send unclaimed books home with the person who brought them, allow those whose books were claimed extra picks from the pile, or donate what’s left to the local library.
  • Collect $5 from each member and donate it to the local library. Most libraries will allow you to specify the kind of items you would like your gift to support and commemorate your donation with a book plate.
  • Ask each member of your group to create a list of favorite reads (be more specific if you like), then compile the lists into a folded or saddle-stapled booklet. Make enough copies to share this gift with families and friends.

If you have other ideas for inexpensive book group gifts, please add them to the comments below. Please, don’t try to sell anything particular, or lump-of-coal karma will be coming your way!

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

3 Comments on "Gift Ideas for Your Book Group"

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  1. cmartine@uccs.edu' Christina Martinez says:

    My book group has been doing a book exchange for years. We just bring one, wrapped, used book. Each person picks from the pile. We go around the circle and each person shows what she got. It isn’t supposed to cost anything because we are supposed to just pick something that we have at home and not one that we have read in book club. It’s a fun exchange, and if someone gets a book she has already read then we just swap with someone else.

  2. melissagotsch@gmail.com' Baltolibrarian says:

    Um… why would we give gifts to library patrons? We’re not their family; it’s a professional relationship. I don’t receive gifts from my dentist. Weird stuff like this is why people don’t take librarianship seriously.

  3. melissagotsch@gmail.com' Baltolibrarian says:

    Ah, wait; I may be mis-reading this. If members of a book club choose to share gifts with each other, that’s different from library staff purchasing items for members.

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