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Shopping for someone who loves to read can tough, especially if you know better than to try to pick out specific titles. After all, book lovers are nothing if not discerning about the books they read—and probably have already steamrolled their way through anything the common person could find in their chosen genre anyway.
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That's where we at Reviewed come in. As product experts, we've got a pretty good handle on what is and isn't worth your money. This year, we carved out a little space for all of the bookworms in our lives. If you know someone who spends every spare moment absorbing the written word, consider borrowing one of these ideas for a welcome holiday gift.
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1. For the reader who's always lending their books: a customized library stamp
Generous readers know that part of the joy of a good book comes from sharing it with friends and family. But actually getting the book back? That’s more of a toss-up. Help someone make their lending process a little more official with a customized “library” stamp. When they let a friend borrow their copy of "Normal People," they’ll know it has a better chance of making its way back to them—or, at the very least, the "borrower" will always remember where the book came from. The stamp comes in three sizes and four styles, so you can pick one that best suits the giftee you have in mind. Some stamp styles are self-inking, but if the one you get isn't, don't forget to also include some ink.
2. For the reader who needs some support: The Husband Pillow Reading Pillow
Reading while leaning on a stack of pillows—which have a tendency to go flat and slide around under the brunt of full bodyweight— can get old after a while. Offer your book lover some real support with the Husband Pillow, which contains sturdy yet cozy foam and comes with an adjustable neck neck bolster to provide a comfy, slouch-busting base whether it’s on a bed, couch or floor. Reviewers love that it helps them stay upright while reading and its microplush cover comes in 16 different colors, such as pink, blue and gray.
3. For the on-the-go reader: Kindle Paperwhite
We’ve spent years testing Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and our writers use them outside of work on a regular basis. This holiday season, the best Kindle for most people is the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. It offers a bright, crisp display and loads of storage, and it can be used to read thousands of books downloaded from the Amazon Kindle Store or the library.
4. For the reader who wants an e-reader upgrade: Kindle Oasis
With its waterproof aluminum body, physical page turn buttons and glass display, the form and features of the Kindle Oasis feel luxurious. It also has warm, yellow-hued backlight that's gentler on the eyes than the blue-tinged Kindle Paperwhite, which will appeal to anyone who's sensitive to screens. If your book-loving friend or family member wants a high-end e-reader, the Kindle Oasis is the bookworm gift to beat this year.
5. For the minimalist book collector: Umbra Conceal Floating Bookshelf
Traditional bookcases are lovely, but their footprints can be too big for small-sized living spaces. These minimalist floating bookshelves, on the other hand, are a fun and flexible way to organize a book collection.
With books in place, the L-shaped shelves disappear, creating the illusion of a floating stack of books. This set of three bookshelves comes with all the necessary hardware for installation, too.
6. For the nostalgic bookworm: A bound collection of postcards
This collection of Penguin book cover postcards is a great way to share some literary nostalgia with the readers in your life—and for them to share the same with their friends. Featuring 100 classic book covers on 100 individual cards, this set is perfect for folks who're tickled by literary art and design.
And here's a bonus: If you gift someone a collection of elegant postcards, there's a good chance you'll get one of them as a thank-you note sometime down the road.
7. For the lit lover who listens to their books: Audible membership
Audiobooks make it easy for people to keep up with their reading while exercising, cooking dinner, cleaning the house and other activities that don't traditionally involve having a book in hand. Audible, Amazon's audiobook subscription service, is a favorite of both our staff and our readers for its simplicity and incredible selection. It's the perfect gift for the person who laments about their lack of available reading time.
With a three-month Audible membership, your book-obsessed loved one will get access to Audible's entire collection, plus one credit each month to get a title on the app to keep forever.
8. For the reader who consumes their books in any way they can: A Scribd subscription
Scribd is a subscription service that offers unlimited access to e-books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers and more in its collection. It's not compatible with Kindle e-readers—so don't give it with one as a package gift—but the app works with most smartphones, tablets and even smartwatches, so it's a great gift for someone who wants quick access to different types of media wherever they are.
9. For the reader who likes working toward a goal: a scratch-off poster
This 23.4-inch by 16.5-inch poster shows the titles of 100 notable books—from "War and Peace" to "The Secret Garden"—with corresponding illustrations that are revealed once its gold cover is scratched off. This provides the reader on your gift-giving list with some nice wall decor and even more inspiration to catch up on the classics.
10. For the one who stays up too late reading: Philips Wake-up Light
Reading in bed is part of most book lovers’ evening routine. If they often find they stay up later than intended, give them the Philips Wake-Up Light. We love this lamp-and-alarm clock in one, which has a sleep timer feature that lets it stay lit for a certain amount of time before fading out, allowing the reader time to enjoy their book and still remember that they have to go to sleep at some point. It’s also easy to reset if they want to finish a chapter before turning off the light. In the morning, the same light eases on to wake them up naturally for the day.
11. For book lovers who read in the dark: a rechargeable reading light
Any bookworm who shares a bed or room with someone but needs to plow through a book as their companion sleeps will appreciate an old-school reading light. This one from Perfectday is slim, reliable and rechargeable, and shines a small but intense beam on the page to ensure the reader sees the words but others close by aren’t disturbed by a glare. The light also has three brightness settings, each with its own color temperature.
12. For the reader who thinks books are better with a hot beverage: A tea subscription box
The Venn diagram of bibliophiles and tea lovers isn’t quite a circle—but we think it’s probably pretty close. If the reader on your list falls into this group, they’ll be into the Sips by tea subscription box, which delivers four types of high-quality teas each month, plus filters for loose leaf tea and coupons for certain brands if they decide they want to re-up one of the teas they received. The present comes in the form of a gift card, so the person you’re giving it to can activate it when they want and curate the box by taking a brief quiz and determining whether they want more herbal, green, black or other types of tea.
Choose between a 3-, 6- or 12-month subscription, and your giftee will always have something to sip on as they read their way through the winter.
13. For the reader who's partial to the public library: A thematic mug
Whether they’re a tea or coffee drinker (or both), any local library devotee will enjoy sipping their beverages out of this mug. It features a vintage library card print filled out with stamped-in due dates and comes in two sizes (11 and 15 fluid ounces) and with a white or black handle. Most libraries don’t use this kind of stamp system anymore—but drinking out of the mug while reading a library book may remind your giftee of their looming due dates.
14. For Kindle Paperwhite owners: A leather cover
If your book-loving friend or family member already owns the best-selling Kindle Paperwhite, surprise them with an attractive protective cover that won't add much bulk to the slim device. This leather cover is available in seven colors, but if you ask us, there's nothing more classic than black leather.
15. For the reader who always decks out their holiday tree: A library ornament
If the reader on your list loves decorating their Christmas tree every year, they'll be psyched to receive this ceramic vintage library card-inspired ornament, which can be personalized with their name on the back. It shows a vintage library card and a multitude of stamps and dates, but most importantly, they'll think of their most-loved pastime—and you—every time they decorate their tree.
16. For the reader who likes getting cozy with a book: Reading socks
Cold feet can be a distraction from reading. But Toronto-based bookseller Indigo has a solution for this exact quandary: reading socks. Really, they’re just regular slipper socks, with a cozy plush lining and knit exterior, but your giftee will appreciate knowing that they come from a real bookstore. (And if you make it a package with a book you know they’ve been wanting, they’ll be extra pleased.)
The socks come in a variety of patterns and colors, from stripes to Fair Isle to solid box stitch, and different rises, from ankle-height to mid-calf.
17. For the reader who loves putting pieces together: a book-themed puzzle
Reading a lot of books is one way to get through winter. Another? Jigsaw puzzles. Give your bibliophile one that reflects their interests, such as one of the whimsically designed, literature-inspired options from puzzlemaker Galison.
Choose between a bookshelf, book club or one that says “I’d rather be reading”—no matter what you go for, it’ll provide them with a fun diversion when they want to take a break from their book.
18. For the bookworm who enjoys setting the mood: Paddywax Library Collection soy wax candle
The Paddywax Library Collection features an array of scents designed to evoke the lives and work of literary legends. Consider the Jane Austen blend: gardenia, jasmine, and tuberose, the last of which is thought to leave a lascivious impression on those who smell it.
If the reader on your list isn't an Austen fan, you have other options. Paddywax also sells candles inspired by Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Leo Tolstoy and others. Whatever author you choose, burn time is 60 hours—but that's just for the candle itself. True literary passion burns for a lifetime.
19. For the classy reader: Hide & Drink leather bookmarks
Nothing says "I'm serious about reading books" like a big, honkin' piece of cattle hide hanging out of the side of your copy of "Moby Dick."
These hand-sewn leather bookmarks from Hide & Drink are far sturdier than an old envelope, a frayed baseball card, or whatever your loved one is currently using as a bookmark. And each set comes with three, because no true bibliophile has only one book going at a time.
20. For the whimsical reader: Fred & Friends Sprout Little Green Bookmarks
If leather bookmarks are too serious for your giftee, consider these precious sprout-style bookmarks from Fred & Friends. Each pack comes with six sprout bookmarks, and each sprout features its own special shade of green. Get 'em for the daydreamer in your life.
21. For the reader who needs a closer look at their book: Stylish glasses
After many years of reading, the words on the page may not seem as focused as they once did. Peepers by Peeperspecs—stylish, chunky-framed reading glasses you may have spotted on Oprah’s "Favorite Things" list—could be the solution for the reader on your list. They come in six different magnification strengths from 0 x to 3 x, and 13 patterns and colors, like cherry red, clear and tortoise. Reviewers say they help magnify text on pages (and screens) without causing irritation or feeling fussy.
22. For the reader who's always looking for their readers: an eyeglass holder
Reading glasses are a boon to any dedicated reader whose near-vision isn't what it used to be—but those necessary specs have a tendency to go missing around the house. Help your book lover remedy this by giving this adorable owl eyeglass holder. It's hand-carved and provides a perfect perch to set a pair of glasses on and remember where they are when they’re needed.
23. For the reader who wants to spice up their decor: "Literary Insults" Poster
Know someone who worships the acerbic wit of authors like Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Elizabeth von Arnim? They’ll be giddy when they get a look at this poster, which features a flowchart of some of the best jabs and one-liners ever committed to print, neatly organized by type and style. This gives your giftee some inspiration to work on some barbs of their own—and provides a good conversation piece for guests.
24. For the reader who needs something to carry their books: a new tote bag
When a reader is on the go, all those books have to go somewhere. Give them a place to put them with the time-honored book-carrying vessel: a canvas tote bag. The best option is one from a local bookstore—you can find one on Bookshop’s local bookstore map—possibly with a gift card so they can go to the store (or arrange a curbside pickup) and fill it up.
If you want something that references a specific text, you have a lot of options. Perhaps the “Cool story, Poe” tote will strike their fancy, or a bag with the first-edition cover of "Pride and Prejudice" will do the trick.
For something more general, they’ll get a kick out of a tote that says, “There’s a chance these books are overdue” or “Thanks for not talking to me while I read.”
25. For the reader who gets chilly on the couch sometimes: Big Blanket
Help a bookworm make their reading experiences even cozier with a Big Blanket. We love this extra-large blanket made of temperature-regulating polyester and spandex, which makes it soft, stretchy and comfortable in every season. It’s also machine-washable and easy to fold and store, so next time they need something to curl up under as they read, they’ll be happy to have the Big Blanket.
26. For the bookworm who reads in the tub: A bathtub tray caddy
No longer should your loved one live a life in which they are not reading in the tub after a long day's work. This bamboo bathtub caddy from Utoplike is extra long to fit most tubs and features all of the slots and trays needed for wine, candles, and, of course, books.
27. For the reader who likes to display their personal library: cool bookends
Why frame books with anything less than a modern, visually appealing bookend? These geometric bookends from Sriwatana feature a chic design without taking up too much space. Available in both black and white, they're an elegant way to keep literature front and center.
28. For the bookworm with big ideas: Book Darts Line Markers
A gift doesn't need to be flashy to be thoughtful. Take Book Darts, for example. These old-school metal line markers clip onto the outside edge of a page to mark reference-worthy lines and passages without covering precious books in sticky notes or ink.
Whether it's as a stocking stuffer or standalone gift, Book Darts are simple, elegant and sure to be appreciated by anyone who enjoys rereading favorite sections again and again.
29. For the reader who also needs some new wall art: Author posters
If your giftee loves books in general, chances are pretty good that they love the specific books of authors like James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. London-based Etsy shop Frequency of Love sells unique prints featuring portraits of these authors—and many others—enhanced with bright colors and African fabric patterns. Whether you get one or a few, it makes for great reading nook decor.
30. For the foul-mouthed bibliophile: A naughty Shakespearean card game
The game Bards Dispense Profanity is exactly what you think it is: a Cards Against Humanity-style game where every card features a reference to the works of William Shakespeare. This may sound tame to those not in the know but—surprise!—the Bard is bawdier than you think.
31. For the reader who likes to keep track of their reads: A book journal
Sure, there’s always Goodreads or the good ol’ Notes app on a smartphone. But if you know someone who wants to keep track of the books they read and prefers an analog approach, they’ll love the Book Riot Read Harder Reading Log, a notebook designed for hardcore readers to keep a record of everything they consume. Reviewers rave that it has dedicated spaces to write down important details about the book, including the start and finish date, a brief review and notable quotes. It also includes 12 reading “challenges,” which prompt users to read different kinds of books than they might normally pick up, like ones originally published in a different language or from an independent press.
32. For the reader who's missing their IRL book group: A book club-inspired candle
In the time of social distancing, book clubs are relatively easy to replicate over video chat. But for those missing those in-person gatherings, the Book Club scented candle from Homesick may just sweeten the occasion. This candle doesn't replicate the heady wine-and-cheese aroma of most book clubs—instead, it strikes a subtler note with a blend of orange, nutmeg, sandalwood and cinnamon. Still, it's a great, relaxing scent that makes a nice complement to a virtual book group.
33. For the book lover in search of some solitude: Noise-canceling headphones
There's nothing worse than settling in for a good book and finding yourself consumed by the noisy distractions of the world around you. If the bookworm in your life has been searching for some peace and quiet, these Sony headphones are a perfect investment for longterm tranquility. Of all the noise-canceling headphones we've tested, the Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ears impressed us the most, thanks to their comfortable fit, posh design and superb noise-canceling performance. Did we also mention that they're perfect for audiobooks?
34. For the reader who needs to get a grip: A clever page holder
For serious readers, it can be hard to juggle a good book with some of life's more important day-to-day tasks—like lying on your back in a park, for instance, or sipping a glass of wine. Consider, then, this handmade gadget from PagePal that makes holding a book an easier task to carry out single-handed. This frees up your other hand for a glass of wine and makes it easier to read on your back.
It's one of the most utilitarian gifts in our book lovers gift guide, but it's also just an attractive-looking object to have hanging out on your coffee table or nightstand.
35. For the vocabulary champion: Scrabble Deluxe Edition game
Give a reader an opportunity to flex their impressive vocabulary with a new Scrabble board. This high-class version of the game features a swiveling wood cabinet design with mahogany finish, matching tiles, and an unspoken promise that you'll never be satisfied with another plastic, rinky-dink version of Scrabble ever again.
As a gift for a word lover, it's both safe and thoughtful—the gift-giving equivalent of making a classy toast at a party.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 35 best gifts for book lovers 2021 - Unique gift ideas for readers