Gifts for book lovers – tat or tremendous?


Imagine this is your home. Maybe it is your home, in which case, I do apologise for intruding and I’ll let myself out.

But on the off-chance it isn’t your home – imagine it is.

You love books, but maybe you’ve taken your love too far. Maybe a delightful hobby is tipping over into looming divorce, supervised visits with your kids and knocks on the door from the local mental health nurse and a TV crew from one of this programmes about hoarders.

Someone bought you a Kindle (other e-readers are availabel) but you didn’t take to it. There’s something about the damp, fusty scent that makes your soul sing, the rough tingle of the paper under your fingers, the weight, the heft, the history of a real book that connects with you in a way a screen and its faux type can’t.

So, your home is filled with books you can’t part with and if you bring one more into the house you’ll be sleeping in a Youth Hostel with nothing but a spare pair of pants and your tooth brush for company. What do you do? What do you do to keep feeling that thrill?

Do you buy literary gifts instead?

A quick stroll through the back alleys and ginnels of the net and you’ll find whole sites dedicated to gifts for book addicts – that aren’t books. You can buy jewellery made from print, mugs with famous book covers and quotes on, bags, scarves, ties, cushions and cufflinks all with some reference to your favourite book or author.

The hippest site is Red Molotov, who I knew sold tee-shirts with oblique references to TV and films, but also have a book-themed range. In-jokes and cliqueness abound. For instance, there’s a tee-shirt listing the surnames of the characters from Room with a View which reads as nonsense to anyone unfamiliar with the novel.

Clever or smug?  I can’t decide.

What do you think of gifts for book lovers that aren’t books? Do they make your heart soar or sink?