Quick Guide To Book Gift Giving

OK, I love books. Really! I have tons. Too many as my family might say. They give me comfort. They make me happy. I wallow in them. So, it is only natural that people like to give me books as presents. That should make me happy too, right? Wrong. Well, actually right most of the time and wrong some of the others. The reason is that people do some things with books that they wouldn’t think of doing to any other sort of present. So, here are some dos and don’ts of book gift giving.

  • Do not price clip the book! Price clipping is when you clip off the little inside corner of the dust jacket that has the price on it. First, you are fooling no one. Most people know what the book costs or can see it on the shelf or at Amazon. You are hiding nothing. But, you are making the book harder to return if I already have it. You are also devaluing the book if it ever becomes collectible. You have basically defaced and damaged it thereby lowering its value.
  • Do not take a pen and scratch out the price. See all the reasons above.
  • Do take off a sticky price tag stuck to the dust jacket. You know the ones that have a mark-down price or say “best seller.” Just remove them very carefully so as not to tear the dust jacket, and then make sure the sticky gunk is removed.
  • Do not write an inscription in the book. OK, I know this one is hard, but unless you are the author, don’t write in the book. First there are the reasons above about returns and devaluation. Also, even if I do return the book or maybe pass it on to someone else, maybe I would like to keep your note that says why you gave the book to me. I want to keep that memory of our time together, so it would be much easier if it was written on a nice sheet of your stationary and tucked inside the cover. Then, no matter what happens to the book I can keep the memory.
  • Do, and this is a biggie, let me know something about you in the book you give me. Sure, I like cars. But you like travel. So give me a travel book about great driving roads. Or maybe you know that I like trains and you like fine food, so you could give me a book about the dining experience on the Orient Express. I once got a book from my father about the trains that were used in the area where he grew up. That has got to be one of my most prized treasures. A gift given should be the intersection of the giver and the receiver.

Can you tell that I feel strongly about books? The written word is powerful, and a book given is a transfer of that power. Favorite books are treasured, displayed, and passed down for generations, so make the most of that opportunity and share some pages!

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