Monday, December 13, 2010

Give the Gift of a Book

Vicki here on Monday. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past six weeks in bookstores, both chain and independent, and I’m pleased to say they’ve been packed. It’s been nice to see that with all the talk of the demise of the bookstore, they can still draw the gift-buying crowds.

In particular it was nice to see in one big store the number of kids crowded into the children’s section. The store had big soft mats laid out on the floor and kids of all ages were lounging about reading while their parents shopped.

So, with just a week and a bit to go until Christmas, here’s a reminder that books make fabulous presents. In my time at the stores, I’ve seen a lot of people walk up to the front display, pick up something by, say, Dan Brown, and head for the cash without even reading the blurb at the back. No need, I guess. And if that’s what’s on your mother’s list, well then get it for her.

But I’ve also seen people in the stores for hours, carefully going down the stacks, picking up books, reading the back, replacing them and finding another, sometimes coming back, finally leaving absolutely weighted down with their selections.

There is something very personal about a gift of a book.

People who’ve read and really enjoyed a particular book like to give that book to someone of similar taste. Some people I’ve spoken to hesitate over giving books because they don’t know if their friend will like it. So? I bet if they’re a book lover they never mind trying something new. And if they don’t like it, fine. They’ve had the experience of trying it and maybe gotten something out of that. Even better if you aren’t sure if they’ll like it and they LOVE it.

As I’ve talked to people while doing my signings, many, many of them told me they now have an e-reader or are getting one. The demonstration area for the product in the chain store has been very busy, with lots of sales. Having an e-reader does make it hard to select a book for a gift. There are gift certificates, but a gift certificate always lacks that personal touch, doesn’t it? My friends who have e-readers tell me they still read paper books.

Books for gifts. Think about it.

And, a reminder that if you love the Christmas season and love reading a book set at this time of year, Winter of Secrets (Constable Molly Smith #3) begins on Christmas Eve and ends on New Year’s Day.

If you met me at a bookstore lately you’d have heard me say, “It’s Christmas Eve and the snowstorm of the decade has settled over their little mountain town. The police are…”

What are your suggestions for books for gifts this year?

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