I think book lovers are not easy to buy gifts for because you never know what they’ve already read, what they really like, or what they’ll put on their shelf and never actually read.
Frankly, if I’m buying a gift for a serious bibliophile, I think a safer bet is a book-related gift rather than picking out a book for them.
Here are some of my all-time favorites gifts for book lovers that aren’t books:
gifts for book lovers that aren’t books
Phantom Tollbooth Sweatshirt – I love this book so much, not only because it’s a classic, but because it was one of the few books my dad read aloud to me (it was one of his childhood favorites, plus he has always loved clever jokes and puns). Actually, I need to go reread this book immediately now. (Besides the Phantom Tollbooth, they also have a bunch of other fantastic sweatshirts with literary covers. You can buy them from Amazon as well (and they are Prime eligible!), but they’re quite a bit cheaper directly from Out of Print).
Storybook Blocks – Best baby gift ever. I especially like the Eloise set and the Make Way for Ducklings set and the Harry Potter set. Add a copy of the book and, ta-da! Gift done.
Phone and e-Reader Covers – These cases look like your favorite books, both classics and new releases. This Nancy Drew one especially won me over. And this Peter Pan phone case. (Also, I just discovered that she lives in my same town, so. . . obviously we are meant to be friends).
Book Plate Stamps – Whether you lend out your books frequently or just enjoy marking your property, these customized stamps let everyone know who that book belongs to. I love this one and this one. These would make great teacher gifts too.
Book Light – It has nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, comes in several colors, clips to everything, and has two lights for ultimate lighting control. Seriously, I need one of these. http://bit.ly/1X9VeQr
Library Card Tote Bag – If, like me, you are always checking out way more books from the library than your weak little arms can hold, you probably need this bag.
Book Map – I am wary of books that have a map in the front, but this map doens’t scare me at all. It’s loosely based on a real London map, interwoven with fictional parts of London from famous works of adult and children’s literature. Overall, it highlights locations from 600 titles (think Dickens, Austin, Dahl, Woolf, Rowling, Bronte, Tolkien, etc) and has a key at the bottom so you know all the titles and authors included. Nerd heaven, right here.
Modern Fairy Tale Prints – If the Disney version isn’t your style, these understated designs are just way too cool, with just a touch of the dark undertones most fairy tales originally had. I love Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Pigs, and Mary Poppins (okay, also The Princess and the Pea).
Library Due Date Socks – Cozy socks and a good book are the recipe for a happy life, I think.
Mug and Book Saucer – If you, like me, think all books are better with a beverage or food (let’s be honest – candy) accompaniment, this mug with a saucer shaped like a book is absolutely delightful.
Book Washi Tape – Washi tape is still going strong (and for good reason: it’s cute and useful), but when you add books to it? You know I’m all in.
BabyLit Stroller Cards – You know my love for BabyLit books runs deep and wide, but I also love their collections of other products, including puzzles and games. These stroller cards are fun for playing or make beautiful mobiles or wall displays.
Book Ends – These bookends are just so pretty. Whether you’re putting them in a child’s room or on your mantle, they are a talking piece for sure, and guaranteed to make your books look even better than they already do.
Library Cart – This is just plain ridiculous, but I would kill for one of these to keep all my library books in (a basket? WAY not cutting it when you’re dealing with the kind of book volume our family is). Plus, I just love the way it looks. Target sells some cute versions, but I have to admit that what I really want is a legit, library-supply-company one. Even more ridiculous? I totally want an old cart catalog cabinet. I have no idea what I’d do with it, but I want one anyway. (One of Bart’s parents’ friends has one she bought at some school auction and turned into a kitchen island and she uses all the tiny long drawers for kitchen utensils. I covet it every time we visit).
I hope you find these gifts for book lovers that aren’t books helpful! And you know I’d love to see your suggestions for what to buy the book lover in your life (even – or maybe especially – if that book lover is you).
What is it about maps that you don't like? I love maps in books. Especially if we're talking about an imaginary world. Part of the reason I didn't really care for the Matched series was because it was so vague. I need to be able to visualize the world the author has created. One of the books I gave my dad (and then borrowed repeatedly, I should just buy my own copy) is called The Atlas of Pern and is filled with maps of places in Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. She worked with a map maker on the book and it's absolutely detailed, even down to climate and elevation. She had such a concrete idea of what her world looked like and I was fascinated. I think there's and atlas by the same map maker for Middle Earth.
Gifts: I'm a terrible page folder, and I always lose bookmarks, so I would love a bookmark that stays put and that doesn't damage the pages or make the book not lie flat when closed. My daughter, who is 9 and loves to read, is getting some magnetic bookmarks with cats on them (her other obsession, aside from books) in her stocking.
For keeping track of our library books, a cart sounds so cool! We make do with a dedicated book shelf for borrowed books, at the bottom of the stairs. We usually have 80-100 books out weekly. Plus several overdrive accounts going for our audio and e-book lends. My guess is the cart would actually not be very practical for our family. I'm picturing kids pushing each other around the house and books falling off everywhere.
Gift suggestion: A beautiful book shelf. We have several cheap bookshelves scattered around our home. They function as needed, but aren't especially pretty.
Thanks for the suggestions- teacher gifts are now checked off the list!
I found bookmarks on Amazon that have a little built in timer- perfect stocking stuffers for my elementary kids that are supposed to keep track of reading minutes every night.
Kimmie Merkley says
I just bought my mom the library card tote bag a couple of days ago (it's slightly cheaper on Amazon)- such a great present!
Kristen & Steve says
My mom thrifted an old legit library cart and painted it aqua. It's my favorite piece in our playroom!
Feisty Harriet says
Library socks!!!!!! Love, love, love.
There's a small town near me with the tiniest community library and in the yearly town parade they have the library "cartwheelers"- ladies wheeling and spinning those carts down the road. 🙂 I love all these suggestions, esp. those babylit cards!
I've always wanted an old card catalog too! I'm thinking it would be cool for my son's lego storage. But now I want a library cart for his room too!
I've always found a lot of rebellious satisfaction in marking up books, but for those who cringe, I saw these the other day: http://www.fallindesign.com/ghost-see-through-sticky-memo-notes-40-sheets/
I've been on the lookout for a book cart & card catalog forever. Great ideas all – thanks!
Paige Flamm says
That library cart has just turned into a, "something I didn't know I needed until I saw it", situation.
Thanks! I love the book ends and think my girls would love them also.
I just check ebay, for about $250 you can be the proud owner of a real library cart.
I checked ebay. Gosh, I hate when I do that.
Such awesome gift ideas! My favorites- tote, socks and book ends.
Leighanne Scheuermann says
I love the library kit and bookplate stamp! These need to be added to my home and classroom materials. Thanks!