Thursday, December 20, 2007

Are You Giving or Getting Books for Christmas This Year?

I'm putting the finishing touches on my shopping this year and it got me thinking. Books have always been a popular gift for me and my husband. We buy them for others and we put them on our own wish lists. (DVDs and CDs are always up there, as well.) What will it be like when e-books become the norm?

Instead of having a weighty, substantial little package under the tree, you'll say "Here's a gift card so that you can download something to your Kindle." It's bad enough that half my shopping consisted of using my credit card to put money on Ann Taylor, Harbor Freight, and Pottery Barn gift cards. At least in the end my family and friends will buy something they can actually touch and hold in their hands.

We're already doing this with music. We ask for iTunes gift cards and then download music later. I always feel like a fossil when I buy a real CD anymore (which I do when it's for my parents, since they don't have iPods--yet). Remember when the CD aisles at Best Buy filled almost the whole store? Now it's just a few racks in the corner.

If you're buying books this year, how are you buying them? Are you going to the store, to Amazon, or to a chain's website such as B& What factors influence your choice--convenience, discounts, being able to actually see the book before you buy it? And how do you figure out what books you want--do you browse the store and then go buy online, or vice versa?

One last barrage of questions: What kinds of books do you tend to buy as presents? Coffee table books? Sudoku books? Novels? Practical how-to stuff? Computer books? This inquiring mind wants to know!


Krisan Matthews said...

I always love getting books for fact, books tend to make up a majority of my wish list. Lately, I've been asking for lots of novels and cookbooks. But I also love giving books to other people. I just purchased Ken Follett's new book, World Without End, yesterday for my mom. And I also bought Borders gift cards for a few of my co-workers. But I tend to buy most of my books at an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore. There's just something more tangible and satisfying about buying from an actual store that I love.

Stephen Tiano said...

For me, the best is getting Border's gift cards. Christmas came early for me this year, as we visited our granddaughters and their parents on the opposite coast last week. We exchanged Christmas gifts, and I got a jumbo Border's gift card.

It was all I could do to not immediately jump on the computer and spend it at upon returning home Sunday. I was hoping to go to the local brick-and-mortar Border's. But I gave in on Monday, realizing they never have what I want.

What was neat was that I was able to by used (but apparently latest editions) of a number of books, thus maximizing the card.

I started with the movie Helvetica, which is actually $5 cheaper at And then I bought a few books, all used and from secondary sellers hooked into

What I bought:

Methods of Book Design by Hugh Williamson (only one delivered so far)
Book Design (abrams studio) by Andrew Haslam
On Book Design by Rich Hendel
Design of Books by Adrian Wilson

Lori Cates Hand said...

So I have to Helvetica a movie about fonts, or Switzerland? :)

Steve Tiano said...

Oh, God, Helvetica's about the font. On its 50th anniversary. I'll let you know more after I've seen it. My wife's going to just love it when I prepare popcorn and tell her sit down with me for a movie and it turns out to be about a typeface.