Let’s Talk Bookish: Books as Gifts

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join in the bookish discussion fun, check out the December 2022 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

Books as Gifts

Prompts: Do books make good gifts? Do you ever give or receive books as gifts? Would you rather receive a book from your wish list or be surprised? What would you do if you didn’t like the book you were given? Would you expect someone to read a book you got them right away?

Books are the best gifts but they’re also tricky gifts…

I don’t know anyone in the book community who doesn’t love receiving books as gifts so I do think they make great gifts but I also believe they are tricky gifts to give! I feel like it’s very hit/miss unless you know the person well or know what kind of books they like, and even then it’s not always a guaranteed win.

Spreading the bookish love (and receiving some too)

Before making friends in this community, I’ve actually only ever received books as a gift twice! Once was a secret Santa exchange for my first Christmas in the UK in 2011 and it was from my bestie’s partner’s friend whom I’d never met. He got me a beautiful copy of Doctor Zhivago but I still haven’t read it yet… The other person to gift me a book was a close family friend of my father’s who knew I loved reading so he gifted me one of his favourites, Catch-22. I also haven’t read it yet. (Spotting a trend yet? 😂)

In the past year, I’ve received birthday book gifts from a few friends in the bookish community and I appreciate them SO MUCH! They gifted me books from my wish list so the books were all ones that I’d been looking forward to reading but never got around to purchasing. I’ve also given book gifts for a few birthdays and a couple of random ‘let’s treat my friends’ moments throughout the year cos it’s such a joy to surprise people with books from their wish lists! 😍 Just as I prefer receiving books off my wish list, I also prefer buying people books from their wish lists because it’s a guarantee that they’ll enjoy the gift.

To read or… not?

I’ve still kept the two books that I received even though I’ve not read both yet and I honestly only have an interest in reading one of them, Doctor Zhivago. I’ve been tempted to give away or sell the Catch-22 book because although I’d previously had a slight interest in picking it up, that has faded as more time has passed. I do feel bad about wanting to give it away but my shelf is too full to keep a book I don’t think I’ll read and unless they ask about the book, I wouldn’t tell them. I personally wouldn’t be mad if someone gave my book gift away, especially if it’s a book they didn’t end up enjoying or have no interest in reading any longer, but I also don’t think they’d need to tell me about it either. 😁

I also wouldn’t expect someone to read a book I got them immediately because let’s be honest, our book lists are (already) long and our time is limited! As a mood reader, I also understand needing to be in the right mood to pick up a book, especially if it’s one that I hope to love. So I would hope no one would expect me to read a book they gave me immediately because I’d disappoint them with that expectation, lol.

How do you feel about book gifts — do you like giving and receiving them? Would you prefer being surprised or receiving a book from your wish list?

25 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Books as Gifts

  1. Great post, Dini! Book gifts are the best but I also wouldn’t feel disappointed if they hated it or donated it. I have really appreciated the gifts I’ve received <3. Also, speaking of.. I need your updated wishlist please!!!! It wont get there by Christmas now but I'll just tell you what I get. hahaha. LOVE you so much! <3<3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aah, love you too, my friend! 💜💜💜 I appreciate you and the book gifts that you’ve given me this year! I also need your updated list—Amazon, BD, anything! I’ll get you mine too but I’ll have to check it first, haha. I have no idea what’s on there cos it’s been so long since I bought a physical book?! I’m shooketh to realise this truth. Haha 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, I need to check mine too bc it also has been a while!! It’s kind of crazy. haha! I did put in some pre-orders last month with the Target sale but otherwise nothing.


    • Haha, fair! I mean, I want to be a boo collector too but with my limited space at the moment it’s so hard to keep them all. I have a feeling all the dust that my books are attracting is irritating the heck out of my lungs but I can’t bear to remove my books from my room! 😂😂


  2. I think books are tough to give as gifts because everyone likes different things. I do give book gifts to my grandkids, but not my kids anymore. Wishlists on book seller sites are great though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly that! Everyone likes different things but even knowing what someone likes within a genre, it’s not always a guarantee that they’ll like a similar-ish book too. I think kids would probably be easier to get gift books to which is great. But wish lists are really the best! 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember Catch-22 being good, but I think it’s something many of us do. We love this book, someone we know is a reader, and we project our books onto them. I bought my mom two books, but I knew they were the type of books she would enjoy (and she did).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had an interest in reading it but that’s waned over the years. I think I’d still struggle to get someone something they like even knowing their taste. Or maybe I’d just be overthinking everything and that would affect the book I’d get them! 😂 Glad your mum liked your book gifts though!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree it’s hit or miss so I don’t buy book as gifts unless it’s for little kids (picture books are always fun)! My mother in law loves to gift me books, but I haven’t read them all, it’s still on my shelf. I always say I’ll get to them eventually but I haven’t yet! She’s a book lover so I give her a gift card so she can pick out what she wants to read or ask her specifically what book she wants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I mean, if they had gift cards here for books then I would definitely gift them to people but that would definitely be my preference rather than giving someone a book that I’m sure they’ll enjoy. It’s cool that your MIL is a reader too and gifts you books. Does she buy books from your wish list or based on what she thinks you might like? Not even gonna lie, it makes me so anxious to buy a book for someone else cos I don’t know, tastes vary so much even within genres! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My mom is typically the only one who buys me books. We gift each other good quality used books, so I never mind donating them back into the pool once I’ve read them. She tends to give me historical fiction or nonfiction, which is another reason I don’t mind donating them since I more often than not don’t get an attachment to them like I might with a particularly good fantasy book.


  6. I know people do find giving books tricky and my friends and family often don’t do it because they are worried I won’t like the book, or I’ll have already read it. But, the thing is, that can happen with any type of gift! I have one family member who loves to give me useless (one purpose) kitchen gadgets and a friend who always gives me stuff like calendars with HER favorite animal on them. At least if I get a book I didn’t enjoy, it’s very easy for me to donate! So I’d rather they took their chances on a book and not a random gift!


  7. I know the problem between wanting to read the book immediately but having such a large TBR pile already. I usually put that book further to the pile where I tend to go and look first.

    As to Catch-22. Why don’t you give it a go? At least read the first chapter or so. You might like it, it’s definitely worth reading.


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