10 Affordable Gifts for Readers
In his famous memoir, On Writing, Stephen King said: “Books are a uniquely portable magic,” and he was right. A powerful novel has the ability to transport and transform—but every reader has his or her own preferred genre or author. So, instead of giving your friend a gift card to a local bookstore, opt for something a little more personal and exciting for the holidays—and don’t run the risk of buying him a book he already has on his shelves. In our gift guide, you won’t find specific titles for the reader on your list (with a few notable exceptions—because who doesn’t like Jane Austen or Anne of Green Gables?). Instead, we selected a variety of unique, thoughtful items that complete any reading experience, and we’re sure that these novel products will delight all of the book-lovers and avid readers in your life.
From whimsical bookshelf accents, to collectible items featuring classic characters, to a Catcher in the Rye phone cover (for the rebel), to a chic case for her reading glasses, there’s something for every bookworm’s taste and style. Now that colder, cozier weather is settling in, this guide includes everything a bibliophile needs for a quiet night at home, curled up with her latest novel and a cup of tea (or a glass of wine)—minus the crackling fireplace. And yes, we even picked out special gift options for those who prefer e-Readers over paperbacks. Want additional inspiration? Find more unique gifts for the book-lovers on your list.
It’s not what you think—these won’t make your home smell like a library (though, that would be amazing). Instead, candle-maker and English major Callie Meaney has created soy candles that mimic the scents and scenes from some of the most famous classic novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland, and Sherlock Holmes. Wondering what Sherlock Holmes’ 221B Baker Street apartment would smell like? Meaney thinks a combination of black currant tea and leather books would make Sherlock feel at home. Any bibliophile can light one on a rainy afternoon for a quiet day at home with her favorite novel.
To buy: $16, uncommongoods.com.
Related: Unique Gift Ideas for Women
Personalized Leather Eyeglass Case
- Don’t let her haphazardly throw her reading glasses into her purse, or stretch them out by resting them on her head—give her this stylish, yet simple, case for her reading glasses. Each leather case is handmade in Germany, and the monogram can be customized to her initials, last name, first name, or any identifier you think she’ll appreciate. You can even choose between brown and black leather (bonus points if you can match the case to her purse or wallet). This isn’t a last-minute gift, however, because it does take up to three weeks to ship.
- To buy: $33, aobusinessessentials.etsy.com.
Jane Austen Boxed Postcards
- For the aspiring writer (and avid reader), these illustrated postcards will provide plenty of literary inspiration. Each patterned postcard features a line from one of Austen’s works or published letters. A true Austen fan will know that the author was a famous and well-versed letter writer—her best correspondences are now compiled into an anthology. For the fan that hopes to embody Austen’s habits and prose, these postcards will provide the perfect inspiration. Plus, the 100 notes are enclosed in an embossed keepsake box, where the lucky recipient can store jewelry, notes, and more.
- To buy: $20 for 100, papersource.com.
Harry Potter Library Quote Poster Print
- If he can’t get through an email or conversation without quoting or referencing Harry Potter, then he needs this print in his office (or home). Featuring a line from the series’ famous, lovable bookworm, this handmade poster ships from Britain—the home country of Hermione herself! Note: The sizes are based on the British paper sizing system (A1, A2, A3, and A4), so visit this handy chart to make sure you’re ordering the correct dimensions—although the seller notes he can customize the print to whatever size you need. Additionally, the frame is not included, so you’ll have to have it framed before the holidays!
- To buy: From $13, bokaprintetsy.com.
The Book Lover’s Journal
- Readers know the stress of seeing another list of the best books to read this month, this season, or this year. It’s hard to keep track of a reading wish list when there are so many genres and authors to tackle! This journal helps organize any reader’s inventory—the notebook includes spaces to record books you want to read, books you’ve loaned to or borrowed from friends, and the contact information for your book club. The main attraction: Pages and pages to record details from the books you’ve read, making it easy to reference and recommend your favorite novels in the future.
- To buy: $12, amazon.com.
NUACAshop Felt and Leather Kindle Case
- Even if she prefers actual books, chances are she still carries some kind of e-reader to make enjoying a book while commuting a little more convenient (an 800-page novel is not easy to store in your purse). Or maybe she’s a traveler, and the Kindle is the easiest way to load up her suitcase with her favorite books before she boards the plane. This handmade felt sleeve is a chic, minimalist way to protect her tablet. If she doesn’t have a Paperwhite Kindle, shop the Etsy seller’s other sizes and fabrics for the ideal dimensions and material for her device. The case comes in gray and black felt, as well as red and white leathers for a more polished vibe.
- To buy: $32, NUACAshop.etsy.com.
West Elm Metal + Pastel Glass Candleholders
- The dedicated bookworm knows that when shopping for furniture, a bookshelf is an extremely important purchase. If her bookshelf is carefully curated with her favorite titles, travel keepsakes, and other artfully chosen accessories, these candles will add a modern accent to her display. Ranging from small, three-inch votives to 10-inch candles, they come in several shades of colored glass with either silver or copper plating on the bottom. She can keep them on her bookshelf or add them to a dining table for a festive centerpiece—they’re simple enough to go with almost any décor in her home.
- To buy: From $10, westelm.com.
Related: Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Anne of Green Gables Book Set
The new Anne of Green Gables movie premiering this fall on PBS and the miniseries soon to follow on Netflix are both proof that this treasured children’s story is finding new life in the 21st century. For a friend who has been a fan of Anne Shirley since her debut in 1908, this beautiful set of books is great to reread before watching the new films, and includes the first six unabridged stories from L.M. Montgomery. Readers will recognize Anne’s famous hat on the bindings of the books. She can curl up and read her favorite stories all winter while she waiting for the Netflix premiere.
To buy: $165, domino.com.
Chronicle Books Typewriter Paper Notes
- For the friend who still chooses handwritten lists over the Notes app in his phone, this playful container of note paper will be a welcome addition to his workspace. The miniature box mimics an actual Royal typewriter and each perforated piece of paper has a vintage watermark—including “From the Desk Of” and “Memo”—just like an actual typewriter sheet. The 55 unique pages pull out of the top of the box (like a typewriter—sensing a theme here?) and are ideal for jotting down little reminders. Keep in mind: These aren’t full-sized pieces of paper—each is slightly larger than a Post-It note.
- To buy: $13, chroniclebooks.com.
Out of Print Banned Books Matchbox Set
These clever collectible matchboxes are miniature replicas of some of the most famous banned novels in history—the matches, of course, being a nod to book burnings that used to occur around the world as a form of censorship. From Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, each box features the original cover illustration for the novel and on the back, a line about why the book was banned from shelves. Fun fact: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was banned from the Brooklyn Public Library in 1876 because the protagonist was of “questionable character.” Each box contains 20 matches.
To buy: $20, amazon.com.