Unless someone is willing to offer you a list, buying books as a gift can be a challenge, especially if their tastes are eclectic or extremely niche. And it can be hard to pick out something that a) they haven’t read before, and b) that they might be interested in reading.
Maybe they frequent the library or always preorder from their favourite authors. Maybe they live in a small space and are really discerning about which books they add to their collection. Maybe they read hundreds of books a year and you can never pick up a book that they haven’t already read. Or maybe you don’t read in the genres they like and have no idea where to look for a book they might enjoy.
Reading is such a uniquely personal experience, so trying to find the right book to gift can be hard. Or maybe you’re tired of buying books and want to try something else for a change.
Well, have no fear – as an avid reader myself, I decided to come up with a huge list of ideas that would make great gifts for people who love to read, or for those who don’t want to chance buying the wrong book.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can learn more by reading my affiliate disclosure.
A Reading Light
This one might seem a little odd, but don’t discount it yet! These days, reading lights are sleek, portable, and useful in a variety of situations. They can be especially helpful if you don’t want to disturb your significant other or a dorm roommate, but they can also be handy when reading at a bus stop, or while stuck waiting somewhere with dimmer light.
If you know someone who also likes to travel, they’re a great option for reading on planes or camping trips where light can be hard to come by once the sun goes down. There are plenty to choose from on Amazon, like this USB rechargeable light you can clip right onto the book you are reading.
If you’re shopping for someone who loves a cozy atmosphere, candles are a tried and true gift idea, regardless of whether or not they love to read. But you can also get themed candles, with scents inspired by tropes, places and characters to add that extra layer of immersion the next time they sit down to read.
Imagine sitting down to read, snuggled in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate and a rustic bookshop candle burning in the background – what could be cozier?
Bookish Themed Tea
There is nothing more cozy than getting comfortable by the fire with a good book and a cup of tea. If you happen to know a reader who loves to drink tea, there are tons of customized tea blends out there based on popular fantasy books, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice – there are fun teas for every kind of reader.
And there are just as many shops that make them, inspired by just about every fantastical place and character. Here are a few to get you started:
Don’t forget the Mug
If you’re going to buy someone a warm and delicious drink, you’ve got to get them something to go with it! Mugs are perfect because they come in different sizes, have so many different designs, and they’re usually fairly inexpensive, which is great if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
Check out this adorable 15oz “Bookmarks are for Quitters” mug on Amazon, or this beautifully illustrated bookshelf mug from Etsy. You could even take it a step further and throw in some themed coasters, like these Lord of the Rings ones.
Apparel and Accessories
People love to rep their favourites, and readers are no different. With the popularity of print-on-demand apparel, you can get t-shirts, sweaters, tote bags, and more with fan art, quotes, and beautiful graphics inspired by a beloved book.
Redbubble and Etsy are great places to start, but there are plenty of brands and independent artists that specialize in bookish apparel, like Storiarts, The Bookish Shop, Book Babe Designs, Emily Cromwell Designs, and Blissfully Bookish.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to just apparel. There’s also book-inspired jewellery, like this open book necklace from cppewter on Etsy, or this incredible bracelet from Bookd that uses beads made from actual book pages. And there are even bags and purses made to look like books you carry over your shoulder, like this Little Women book bag from WellReadCompany on Etsy.
A Reading Stand
If you’ve ever spent a long time reading in bed, you know what a nightmare it can be for your arms and neck, especially if you’re trying to read a hardcover book. A foldable reading stand can be used anywhere, but it can be especially helpful for holding up a book during a long reading session, when arms are likely to get tired and necks a little sore. It can also be used for propping up tablets and e-readers, too.
If you’re shopping for a notorious bed reader, they might appreciate a tool to take the burden off their long nights of reading! This inexpensive book stand on Amazon also includes attachments for holding your pages in place, which can be helpful for reading in your backyard or at the beach when the wind makes things a little more frustrating.
A Reading Journal
This is a gift idea for the most diehard of readers, but can be especially useful to them for keeping track of all of the books they read in a year. It’s kind of like a journal, but for books, with pages designed to help you organize your thoughts and reflections after you finish reading.
Some of the more detailed ones have extensive trackers for a variety of things, like monthly TBRs and reading challenges. There are plenty to choose from, but here are just a few you might want to check out:
- Kunitsa Reading Journal
- Reading Journal by EricaGelabertDesigns on Etsy
- Moleskine Book Journal
- A Clockwork Reader Reading Journal
- Hardcover Reading Journal on Amazon
And if you wanted to save money and get a little crafty, you could also purchase an inexpensive notebook and set it up for them yourself! I have a huge list of bookish spread ideas you could use to create a customized reading journal for the book lover in your life.
Bookish Board Games
For the board gamer or tabletop gamer who also loves to read, there are plenty of literary-inspired games that would make great gifts, like this Baker Street Detective Game from Gibsons. There’s also card games inspired by popular fantasy novels, like Game of Thrones or the Lord of the Rings.
There are even cool mystery games based on classic stories, like Agatha Christie’s The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge. These make great gifts for families or groups, like a book club for instance, and it’s something that can be enjoyed together with other people rather than on your own (though your more introverted reader friends still might resist!)
For something a little more subtle and decorative, you could get a favourite quote or a bookish print for them to spruce up their home or workspace. There are literally thousands to choose from on Etsy and Redbubble, in all sorts of designs – you could get something minimal, elegant, or a bright pop of colour. Regardless of their taste and interior decor, you’ll be able to find something they love.
To start, I’d check out StellaBookishArt on Etsy for some beautiful quote prints for some of the more popular books out there. For the fantasy reader in your life, you can find beautiful map prints, like the ones by PeculiarPDesigns.
And if you wanted to save money, there are plenty of shops on Etsy where you can buy digital files so you can print them yourself. You could pick up an inexpensive frame to suit their new print, or give it a personal touch with a bit of decoration.
Collectable pins are a little more niche, but if you know a book lover who loves to cover their bags and pencil cases in charms and pins, why not pick up some new ones to add to their collection?
Whether they’re enamel, acrylic or wooden – there are so many unique and beautiful designs out there for you to choose from. You can find amazing designs for all readers, like this adorable Book Nerd enamel pin on Amazon, or pick up something specific to their favourite book(s).
For Getting Cozy
When the holidays roll around, Winter is only just beginning, and it’s the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book. It’s also the perfect excuse for a cozy new blanket or some warm fuzzy socks. If you know a reader who is always complaining about cold hands, it might not be a bad idea to get them some fingerless gloves. Reading and getting cozy just go together, you know?
There is nothing more upsetting than carting around a book in your bag only to find the corners dented and the pages chewed up by your keys haphazardly jumbling around. Paperback books are especially susceptible to this sort of damage.
If you know a reader in your life who seems to suffer regularly damaged books during their commutes, it might be a good idea to pick up a book sleeve. Book sleeves are usually padded, protective sleeves that fit a trade paperback and keep the corners and edges of your precious books safe while you carry them around.
They come in tons of different colours, sizes and designs, and some are simple, like this beautifully embroidered sleeve from AvocatoCrafts on Etsy, while others have extra pockets and features for readers who like to carry around pens, highlighters and other annotating tools, like this one by KAPAX.
Premium Dust Jackets
Admittedly this is one of the stranger (and pricier) items on this list, but it’s also really cool.
It’s just a fact of publishing that sometimes a book series will have a cover change, which can be extremely frustrating for a reader and collector because the books will no longer match. Or maybe you have a friend who has an older collection of classics that don’t really “go together”. Or maybe you know someone whose bookshelf is their pride and joy, and they want it to look good.
Premium dust jackets might just be the way to go. Places like Nerdy.ink and Juniper Books allow you to purchase specially designed dust jackets to wrap around your books to create a beautiful, coordinated look. Just make sure you know what size you need!
Moving right along with gifts to suit that bookshelf connoisseur, you could help them enhance their shelves even further with some beautiful bookends.
You could go with something simple, like these beautiful rustic wooden bookends, or something a little more complex and unique, like these very cool silhouetted London Bridge bookends by DesignAtelierArticle on Etsy.
Alternatively, if bookends aren’t really their style, you could try something fun and crafty, like these adorable book nook kits, that create magical, miniature environments between the pages of their beloved books.
Don’t overlook the bookmark. It is the reading essential, and while you can stick a coupon or an old receipt between the pages of your book, why not treat a friend who loves to read to something a bit more special?
You could get a beautifully illustrated design from a favourite artist, or something customized with their name. You can one made with resin, or a cord with beads and charms that more resembles a piece of jewellery than a bookmark. They’re pretty, inexpensive, look great in pictures and are, of course, extremely functional.
This is definitely one of the bigger splurges on this list, and not one I would suggest for just anyone, but if you’re looking for a gift for someone important in your life who loves to read but doesn’t own an e-reader, it might make a great gift.
E-readers are incredibly portable and can store literally thousands of books, which is especially useful for the avid reader who travels, and with access to things like Kindle Unlimited, Scribd and Libby, there is a near-unlimited library of books at the tip of your fingers.
These days, many of them include backlights, and in combination with their e-ink screens, that means it’s a lot easier on your eyes than reading from a phone or an iPad, and most of them also allow you to listen to audiobooks!
Subscriptions might seem a little uninspired, but they are also tried and true, and a great option for an avid reader when you really don’t know what book to buy them. There are plenty of subscription services out there that will give them a vast library to choose from, like Audible, Kindle Unlimited and Scribd.
Or if you want to be more daring, you could try one of the many book boxes like Owlcrate and Fairyloot, that will send someone a book each month, along with a whole bunch of other themed goodies like mugs, tea, candles, and apparel.
You can purchase as many months as you’re comfortable with, and it’s a gift that just keeps giving. Alternatively, some book boxes allow you to buy a gift card, so you can leave it up to the avid reader in your life to choose the box(es) they’re most interested in getting.
I know I said that this was going to be a list of gift ideas that weren’t books, but let’s be honest – indie books are not always on a reader’s radar, even the more prolific ones. If you’re worried about picking up a book that they already read, it might be a good idea to look into some great indie reads they might enjoy. Indie books just don’t get the same attention as traditionally published books do, and are more likely to be missed, even by the most avid reader in your life.
I have a huge list of indie fantasy books published last year, and there are tons of indie books published on all platforms, all year round. To compete with big publishers, indie books tend to be more affordable, so I’d check them out next time you want to buy someone a book!
What Other Gift Ideas Can You Come Up With?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think there is something here for just about anyone! Is there anything you think I’ve missed? Is there anything on this list you’d be interested in picking up yourself? Let me know in the comments!