Gift Suggestions—Other Than Books—for People Who Love to Read or Want to Read More

Woman reading during holiday season

The holiday season approaches, and if you’re like me, you’re trying to come up with some good gift ideas.

If you have people in your life who love to read, or who want to read more, here are some suggestions.

These are not book-buying ideas. If you want a list of book suggestions, check out my post: “A Gift Guide for All Kinds of Readers.”

By contrast, this is a list of suggestions for items that make it more pleasant or more convenient to enjoy a book. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the five senses, and I’ve included suggestions to gratify the senses while reading.

Many of these gifts can be personalized, too, either by featuring the recipient’s name or incorporating a favorite author, book, or bookstore.

Gift suggestions for readers:

Book light — This is a great gift for the person who wants to read in bed when someone else wants to turn out the light.

Reading light — On the Happier podcast, Elizabeth and I recently talked about the happiness hack of improving your reading light. An inexpensive reading light next to a chair or sofa can make all the difference.

Bookmarks – Many online sites let you make customized bookmarks, with your own photos, quotations, etc. Or have a little kid decorate them. So fun.

AirPods — For the person who loves audio-books.

Gift card — Your recipient can go wild in a favorite bookstore.

Book weight — This is great for someone who works with books. Jamie bought me one of these years ago (pictured below). I had no idea something like this even existed; now I use it almost every day and also have a second one for travel. Also good for cookbooks.

Slightly Foxed magazine — This is a great gift for someone who really loves to read. It’s a wonderful British quarterly where people write short essays about the books they love—not new books, but the ones they’ve loved the most. “Good-humored, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like well-read friend than a literary review.”

Handmade coupon — Give a “coupon for a free session” to help a friend or family member sort through their bookshelves to figure out if they want to give any books away to make room for new books—then help that person take those books to a donation center. Outer order, inner calm—for books, as for everything else in our lives.

Library card — Help someone sign up for a library card! This is one of the best gifts a person can give or receive.

Notebook — Many people like to record the books they read. You can buy special book logs, but really any notebook works.

Bed rest pillow — I love to read in bed, and I used one of these pillows in college, when my bed didn’t give me anything to lean against. (If you can’t picture a “bed rest pillow,” here’s an example.)

Library-themed items — There are so many terrific items with library themes! I have a set of coasters that look like old library cards for classic children’s novels. Etsy is a great place to start looking.

Favorite author merch — If a person has a favorite author, look for a tote bag, mug, notebook, calendar, socks, bobble-head figure, etc. featuring that writer.

Favorite bookstore merch — If a person has a favorite bookstore, consider a tote bag or mug featuring the bookstore—many of them offer their own swag. Here’s a list of some of the great indie bookstores in the United States—I was happy to see that my beloved Kansas City hometown indie, Rainy Day Books, is included.

Bookplates — For a person who loans books. There are many ways to personalize these, too, which is fun.

Bookends — So many whimsical or beautiful sets of bookends.

Highlighters and post-it notes — For the reader who likes to mark up books (I sure do).

Book-related postcard sets — I love this set from Penguin.

E-reader — Note: an e-reader can be helpful for someone who prefers a bigger font, because it’s adjustable.

A throw — To keep someone warm while reading. Delightful!

Coloring book — This is stretching the idea of a “book,” but many adults are getting back into coloring. It’s meditative, it’s a way to work with beautiful colors, it’s not just for children anymore. (Check out The Happiness Project Mini Posters coloring book, as well as a post I wrote about why adults are coloring.)

Scented candle — To make a room cozier while you read. There are even candles designed to smell like books, like Homesick’s “Book Club” candle. (A few years ago, Elizabeth gave me the Homesick candle “Missouri.”)

Scent, in general — A company I love, CB I Hate Perfume, has a scent called “In the Library”—”a warm blend of English Noel, Russian and Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth, and a hint of wood polish.” A warm, comforting scent.

Noise-canceling headphones — For someone who wants to read in a noisy place. Wirecutter recommends several: this one is their top pick; this one is their budget pick. This may be a particularly welcome gift for this holiday season, with so many more children and adults working at home.

Ice Breakers Sugar-free Mints — My sister Elizabeth introduced me to these mints, and I love them. I often pop one into my mouth as I settle in to read. My favorite flavors are Cinnamon and Fruit+Cool Strawberry, but you can also get a variety pack.

Tea or coffee — Many people love to have a cup of tea or coffee when they read, and there are so many fun tea- or coffee-related gifts.

It would also be fun to make a box of book-lover items to delight all five senses, as a specialized “sensorium gift.”

And if you’d like to gift a book, I can’t resist mentioning that many of my books make great gifts for all kinds of readers. If you want to request a free, signed bookplate for one of my books, clicking this link. Fill out the form by December 4 to make sure you receive it in time for Christmas.

What items am I missing? More reading for all!



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