I love giving a good book as a gift.
There’s something so tangible and special about a book and it’s something that can be enjoyed for hours, passed along to a friend or spouse, and returned to again and again.
Barnes & Noble has always been one of my favorite places to shop for books.
Back in 2009, when Bart and I were living in Boston, we took some standardized tests that were being trialed and in exchange, we got $30 of Barnes & Noble gift cards for each test we did (I think we did four tests total). We were on a SUPER tight budget at the time, trying to pay off our student loans, so having over $100 to spend in one of our favorite places felt like we’d won the lottery and we spent hours there picking out just the right books.
Now, I love taking my girls to the Barnes & Noble near us, especially during the holidays and picking out new Christmas picture books or gifts to give to grandparents or cousins or friends.
I also love that Barnes & Noble’s book selections are hand selected by their booksellers (i.e. book experts!) rather than by an algorithm.
And if you’re planning to give a book as a gift this year, here are three ways to make book gifts extra special:
3 Ways to Make Book Gifts Extra Special
Add an inscription. My mom is the queen of this and I love so much opening my childhood books and seeing her handwriting saying something like, “Happy 9th Birthday. Love Mom.” My grandmother recently gave me a few of her childhood books and I LOVE seeing my great-grandmother’s inscriptions from nearly a century ago. For Christmas last year, Bart gave me a gorgeous cookbook but even more than the cookbook, I love the sweet note he wrote inside the front cover about the many wonderful meals we’ve shared together over the years. Writing a little note inside takes a book gift to the next level. It doesn’t have to be fancy – just a single line and the date is perfect.
Include a bookmark. I have used many a receipt or envelope as a bookmark, but you can’t beat a real bookmark. And Barnes & Noble has tons of terrific ones, from funny ones like this “I read past my bedtime” one (I also love this one), to these beautiful corner bookmarks, to these mini magnetic ones (we gave our girls some of these a few years ago – they’re awesome!). A bookmark is just the extra special little touch that makes book gifts more thoughtful and fun.
Add a little gift that relates to the book somehow. This doesn’t have to be anything expensive or elaborate – just the addition of a kitchen towel or a rubber spatula to a cookbook makes it feel that much more thoughtful. A little keychain flashlight added to The Light Between Oceans or a pair of sunglasses with The Lincoln Highway add a little whimsy and fun to your book gift (I like to wrap the book, then add the little extra gift tied up with the ribbon).
I’d love to hear what book gifts you’re planning to give this year (or hoping to get!) – let me know in the comments!