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Simply put, books make great, versatile gifts. Be it a coffee table stunner, your favorite author’s new release, or a classic novel that you staunchly believe any enthusiastic reader will love, the process of choosing a special and giving a book is a meaningful experience. As is, of course, getting a lovingly selected book from a close friend or new acquaintance.
The only problem is, special as the story choice might be, sometimes it feels a little lackluster to give just a single book and call it a day. Ahead, find simple additions to literary gifts that’ll enhance the reading experience — for all budgets, from simply wrapping a beautiful ballpoint pen in the ribbon of the novel you’ve chosen, to adding something whimsical like an at-home library kit.
I don’t know about you, but I love underlining and writing in the margins of my books as I read them. And what I love even more than that is lending or giving that book to a friend afterward (or receiving a book loaner that someone else has notated in the same way). A simple addition to make any book a little more special is to add a beautiful ballpoint pen to the mix — perhaps tied up in the ribbon that you use atop your wrapping job.
Buy: Peacock Paper UK Marbled Ballpoint Pen, $16.23
2. Illustrated Editions of Old and New Classics
What better way to gussy up a favorite book than to fill it with illustrations? Folio Society has beautifully-illustrated editions of older classics like “Dracula,” “The Color Purple,” and “The Great Gatsby,” as well as more contemporary novels like “Dune” and “Jurassic Park.” They also carry children’s books and non-fiction. The stylish illustrations are as evocative as the words on the page.
Buy: Dracula by Bram Stoker, $79.95
3. Custom Sets That Look Great on the Shelf
Juniper Books takes the boxed set to the next level, with custom bindings that not only allow for a beautiful single book when removed from the group and read solo, but also bindings that look so good together, many even form an image when placed just-so in collection on a bookshelf. Your at-home library, no matter how large or small, has never looked so good. And while you can curate your own unique set, you can also shop for sets by author, theme, genre, and more.
Buy: Maya Angelou Sets, $195
Sometimes all you need to do to zhuzh up your book gift is add a lovely bookmark. While many corner bookstores slip in their own with your purchase, consider going above and beyond and adding one that’s a little more special. The Etsy shop British Book Art sells adorable (and ingenious!) bookmarks that you use to track the books that you’ve read while using it. You just draw or write on the bookmark and you have a fun way to keep a running list of stories you’ve loved.
Buy: British Book Art Bookshelf Tracker Bookmark, $3.59
If you’re looking for a functional addition to a book that’s a little more substantial than a bookmark, consider gifting a book anchor. The piece is weighted and spreads out almost as your fingers would, allowing for simple hands-free reading for the friend who really just wants to relax when they curl up with their next new book and keep their hands free for other crucial reading-related activities like sipping a warm drink, petting their lap cat, etc.
7. Book-style e-Reader Cover
If your recipient only really reads on their e-reader, the “book” that you’re giving them really only exists in digital form, so why not add a fun case for their device? It’ll spice up ther e-reader and bring them back to the old-school feel.
Knock Knock sells a personal library kit that includes self-adhesive envelopes, checkout cards, a date stamp, and more. A great gift for bibliophiles and young readers alike, it’s a whimsical way to celebrate one of the loveliest ways to connect with friends and loved ones — sharing books with one another.
9. A Comprehensive Guide to Literary Classics
“The Penguin Classics Book,” a literary guide to 1,200 books spanning 4,000 years of literary world history makes a great addition to a book gift, especially if you’re gifting a classic novel. Your friend can find the book you’ve given them within this guide’s pages, and read up on others that they would like to move on to next.
10. A Custom Library Stamp
If your gift recipient is already in the habit of writing their name on the inside cover of their book, a custom stamp will make a beautiful, personalized gift. And even if they don’t yet mark their book’s with their name, this elegant stamp will make them want to start.
11. Literature-themed Tea
There’s nothing like using your other senses to really get into a great book (plus, sipping tea while reading is a time-honored tradition), so consider adding to your gift a set of teas that have been specifically curated to reflect the “nature of the individual author or poet.” Choose between 60 different teas, attributed to 60 coordinated authors, from Agatha Christie to William Wordsworth.
12. Prints of First-Edition Book Covers
Getting a first edition of a classic novel is out of the question for all but the most committed (and flush-with-cash) book collectors. But you can still get your hands on (and gift) beautiful first-edition-inspired art to accompany a paperback. A beautiful 16.25″ x 12.25″ print of the original cover of “Mrs. Dalloway,” “Frankenstein,” “The Raven,” or plenty others, will make your gift unforgettable.
Buy: First Edition Book Cover Art Print, $65