Gift Ideas for Book Lovers 2012 – Christmas Gifts for the Reader in Your Life

If you are buying a gift for a book lover this year I have some ideas. The obvious ideas – e-readers and such – I won’t bother with because you know all about them. But, there are also a lot of readers who have a very specialized set of needs when it comes to book gear. Often students, pastors, writers and folks have multiple books open at once and need their hands free to write or type at the same time. If you have someone like this in your life, here are some very specific items that they will love.

Portable Book Stand: First things first – when it comes to buying for nerdy book lovers, Levenger is your friend… great quality, relatively low cost. I have this very book stand. I love it because it will hold books at multiple angles, it has an effective front lip that holds the book open, and it fits in my bag so I can take it anywhere. When I’m on study leave or in the library or even a coffee shop and I’m set up to write, this thing usually goes with me. Here are some other options.

Swivel Book Stand: Here are two swivel book stand models from Woodform. They are all over libraries and are often called dictionary stands, or cookbook stands. There are tons of different kinds and you can usually find something to match the look and feel of a person’s existing workspace or office. This swivel stand is really handy. You used to be able to find 2 sided dictionary stands, but they are pretty rare these days. You can often find swivel stands and 2 or 4 sided stands on ebay. The ultimate book stand is a replica of Thomas Jefferson’s 4 sided swivel stand. You can have 5 books open at once with this – but it’s extremely expensive. Somebody needs to buy me this right now. This stand isn’t a swivel, but is really solid and nice looking.

Desktop Book Shelf: This gift idea for book lovers is often overlooked. Everyone who is writing for a living, or studying, etc. has two sets of books. The general library where they store the books which are not in current use, and the set of books they are either reading at the time, using for a writing project, planning to read, recently purchased, or frequently reference. Having a swivel stand on your desk like this one is really handy. This is a great gift, it’s actually really handy.

The Book Weight: Most people wouldn’t think of this as a big deal, but the book weight is essential material for the reader who reads at a desk and takes notes or types with a book open. The book weight is a leather covered lead weight which will keep even a very stiffly bound book open on a flat surface. It works great in tandem with a books stand, or just as a way to prop a book open while you read or take notes. Every nerdy book lover needs a couple of these. Helpful hint: don’t try to take this on an airplane – one of my friends had to go 10 rounds with TSA before they decided he wasn’t going to hurt anyone w/this weapon.

Book Embosser: This crimping tool marks every book in a personal library. It’s sort of pretentious, but if you get creative with the stamp design itself, it can be meaningful.

Manhasset Music Stand: I’ve never seen anyone else use this for a desk side book holder, but this is one of my favorite accoutrements. It’s the mini-van of writing tools: it doesn’t look good & it’s not cool, but it’s simply the right tool for the job. It’s the ubiquitous Manhasset music stand, you see them everywhere. But if you place them beside a desk, they make a great book stand. Unlike most free-standing book stands, they don’t take up a bunch of space on a desk-top, they are strong and adjustable, and they keep book clutter off of your desk. Because they are on a single post, you can actually overlap them on your desk (so the book is ½ on and ½ off of the desk. I just stumbled on to using this tool and found that it is incredibly handy and inexpensive. You can also order the conductor model, which has 2 tiers, so papers can go behind and books on the front. I’m telling you this is brilliant!

Stocking Stuffers: Book stand for the bed – this works great for people who keep a laptop open while they read in bed. Thumb Thing / book darts / book ends (don’t underestimate this one) are always a great gift idea. In my opinion, you should stay away from the book light. I’ve tried every model and honestly can’t find one which works. The best book you can give them is to let them read in bed w/the night table light on without complaining!

Amazon.com gift certificate: I know this sounds boring – but nothing says “I love you” to a book nerd like giving them permission to buy more books. You want to make me happy? Give me book gift certificates! They will never go to waste.

About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • katie

    Ah, the book weight incident. Good list!

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  • scott stone

    Tim,
    What’s your opinion on the e-readers? I love to read and my kids bought me one of the Kindles. It’s the large one that is about the size of an 8×11 sheet. I really want to like it but just can’t get over the loss of having a book in my hands. I’ve become so irrational about it that I’m buying some books in both formats. The only thing I like is when I travel I don’t have to lug a bunch of books with me.
    Working on the Signet translation of Les Miserables and the e-reader does come in handy.
    I’m hoping I’m not the one.

    Scott

  • scott stone

    Let’s see if I can actually finish a thought:
    I hope I’m not the only one who has an irrational dislike of the e-readers.


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