Wednesday, November 21, 2007

holiday gifts

[Since all the crazy people, and probably me too, are going shopping this weekend.]

Angelle told me that she's making a rule this year--everybody's getting a book. That's both simple AND thoughtful, she said.

I got all excited, of course, and congratulated her for supporting the publishing industry. Naturally everyone who makes a promise like that is not only promoting literacy but making it ever-so-slightly more likely that I'll have a job in 5 years.

So I don't know why this didn't occur to me before (oh geez, you know I probably do this every year and just don't remember), but I think I'm going to jump on the wagon. Everyone gets a book!!

If you think you, too, want to jump on the wagon, I have some fun ideas for shopping. And by "fun" I mean "things that support debut authors, indie presses, and indie stores while potentially saving you some dough." Feel free to ignore these, though, and just buy books--you're still promoting literacy.

-It's easy to head for the classics, but if you're in the mood for a book hunt, try sticking to living authors. That way, you're giving a double holiday present--the book to the person you're giving the book to, and the royalties to the author. Everyone's happy.

-Keep your eyes on the spine (or more specifically, on the imprint icon at the bottom!) and see if you can't support indie presses. The other day, I discovered Soho Press via GOD OF LUCK, a book I saw listed on Booksense and decided to read. In internet searching for a cover image for thebookbook, I stubled on the Soho Press Web site. Not only do they have lots of interesting books, they tend to have low-priced (ie affordable) hardcovers--the average appears to be $22.00.

-Here's my general conscientious book-buying guidelines from a couple of months ago, if you're bored.

-If you're buying in paperback and happen to have an independent bookstore nearby, go there. The cover price on paperbacks is the same at independents as at the big chains, and even Amazon can't reduce the price enough to make up for the shipping costs.

-If you're buying in hardcover, Amazon is by far going to be your cheapest option (plus they'll wrap and deliver for you). If you are buying in hardcover, why not pick your favorite debut novelist and be their hero by sending everyone a copy? That's what I did for SPANISH BOW. I'm not sure I'm Andromeda Romano-Lax's hero, but I did buy copies for my friend Rachel, my friend Kate, my friend Angela, my editorial assistant, and my mother.

8 comments:

angelle said...

i actually got ALMOST everybody a book last year, including non-readers. i got my scientist friend a primer on how to write better scientific papers (his writing, not so good), my movie buff friend a book on worst movies EVER, my dad a big book with glossy pictures of golf courses around the world, my brother a mario batali cookbook. books solve all problems.

now my sister on the other hand, wants AUTOGRAPHED books. as if the ones i picked her up at the brooklyn book festival weren't enough.... she's still disappointed gail carson levine left before i could get her signature.

Cakespy said...

I love the idea of getting everyone books, especially if you give some thought to an appropriate book for each person. Of course there are those people (my sister) who will say "You just got me a book?" and then go back to being a personal trainer who happens to chain smoke in her free time. Sigh.

Ello said...

You know it's hard to buy books for adults that I know because so many of them don't read. Ain't that a bitch?

BUT, I have always favored the only buying books rule for kids. ALWAYS! The last couple of birthday parties that my oldest girl went to all received a nice gift set of the Golden compass or Inkheart and Inkspell (which I loved!). And this year for Christmas, like every year, Santa brings books!

David L. McAfee said...

This is a great idea, but much of my family doesn't read. I'm kinda the black sheep. hard to believe, I know.

Charles Gramlich said...

Books are all I ever as for. And though I give them to some friends I don't to others who I know never read.

Bernita said...

Everyone on my list always gets at least one book.

TUMBLEWEED said...

don't buy me a book please. it will get lost in the cloud forest on its way to me. i knew you weren't planning on it anyway, but it doesn't hurt to throw it out there. you can just send me christmas happy thoughts.

writtenwyrdd said...

I don't get books, I get Amazon gift certificates from EVERYBODY. They know me well...