Unwrapped: The Best Gifts For A Book Lover

Beyond bookmarks

'Tis officially the season for gift-giving. For us, it’s 31 days of gift giving; for a month, we’ll be providing gift ideas for everyone on your list—from your hard-to-please parents to your ’90s-loving BFF and even your spoiled pet. Filled with creative picks that got our pulses racing, our Unwrapped holiday gift guides will make Christmas shopping a breeze this holiday season.

It might seem like holiday shopping for a book lover would be the easiest holiday shopping of all. Just get them a book from this list, right? Right! Done! That was easy. 

Except, well... not so fast. Sure, you could just head to your local bookstore and grab a few paperbacks, and that would be wonderful and undoubtedly much appreciated, but it's also not the most imaginative thing in the world. And if there's one thing that impresses literary fanatics, it's imagination. So expand your gift-giving repertoire beyond literal books (although, you know, those are still the best) and get them one of the following gifts, all guaranteed to be loved by the book nerd in your life.

Photo via Book of the Month

Book of the Month, Monthly Membership to Book of the Month, $44.97-144.98, available at Book of the Month

Okay, so this is an actual gift of books, but it's also so much more than that. A membership to Book of the Month allows your recipient to choose from one of five books selected every month by judges which include literary (and otherwise) luminaries (this December, Broad City's Abbi Jacobson was a guest judge; in November, Anthony Bourdain pitched in). Once the book is chosen, it's mailed straight to your home, and then you get to, you know, read it, which is where the fun really begins. Selections sometimes even include books that haven't yet been otherwise released, so if you want to really impress a book nerd, this is a great way to do so. Plus, if you buy a membership now, Book of the Month is offering a free one-month membership for anyone who gifts a membership to someone else, so you'll get to pocket something too!

Photo via Anthropologie

Anthropologie, Hand-Cut Agate Bookends, $98-$128, available at Anthropologie

People who love books tend to love displaying them. And these gorgeous bookends will allow them to show off their literary treasures as the jewels they really are. It's also a style alternative to the trend of coordinating books by color. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Photo via CB I Hate Perfume

CB I Hate Perfume, 'In the Library' Parfum, $15-100, available at CB I Hate Perfume

This perfume is perfect for the person who refuses to switch to an e-reader because they love the smell of books so much. The perfume-maker was inspired by a signed first edition he found of one of his favorite novels that had been published in 1927; it had a "marvelous warm woody slightly sweet smell," which he immediately set out to recreate, and which he did quite successfully—the scent is beautifully reminiscent of old leather bindings and the soft starchy smell of well-worn pages. 

Photo via Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters, Bia Globe Desk Lamp, $98, available at Urban Outfitters

Let there be light—reading light, that is—in the form of this graceful lamp which would look just right on a table by the side of a bed or comfy reading chair.

Photo via MoMA

Bookniture, $89, available at MoMA

So maybe your gift recipient needs a table to rest their lamp upon? How about one that is totally sturdy and innovative in its design, and just so happens to be able to fold up so that it looks like a book when its not in use? Don't think it's possible? Well, you've never heard of Bookniture's incredible end table, which makes it seem like anything is possible when it comes to design. 

Photo via Whimsy and Spice

Whimsy & Spice, Classic Sampler Cookie Gift Box Set, $25, available at Whimsy & Spice

Reading can really build up an appetite, but messy food that needs to be eaten with a fork and knife is not ideal for those who would rather pay close attention to the book at hand. That's why this cookie sampler box by the wonderful Whimsy & Spice is just perfect for bookworms—they can mindlessly reach for a delectable cookie or brownie and savor each perfectly sweet, spiced bite while not missing a word on the page. And what goes better with cookies than...

Photo via Kusmi Tea

Kusmi Tea, Wintertime Gift Set, $25,20, available at Kusmi Tea

The perfect accompaniment to those cookies is revered Parisian tea company Kusmi's Wintertime Gift Set. The assortment of teas are all sophisticated and soothing, just what anyone curled up with a book would want to be sipping on a cold, blustery day. But tea should never be given alone. Don't forget to include...

Photo via Melville House

Melville House, Mug, $20, available at Melville House

This classic mug from independent publisher Melville House pays homage to Herman Melville's classic tale "Bartleby, the Scrivener." In the story, Bartleby is a legal clerk who one day just decides to stop working and to stop doing anything; whenever something is asked of him, Bartleby replies: "I would prefer not to." (I won't tell you how this tale of a futile fight against existential despair ends, but nab a copy of it here for just $10 and gift it along with the mug.) I think this mug will be much-used and beloved by any avid reader who is asked on the weekend: What do you want to do today? Go for a hike? Something outdoors-y? They can simply hold up the mug as a response.

Photo via Out of Print

Out of Print, '1984' T-shirt, $24, available at The Strand 

The perfect literary shirt for our imperfect times.

Photo via Etsy

Coryographies, Maple Sugar Bookshelf Necklace, $37.54, available at Etsy

Another great book-related fashion choice is this adorable necklace, which any book and/or miniature-lover (and I'm pretty sure that's a Venn diagram with a generous overlap) is sure to adore.

Photo via MoMA

Lumio, Book Lamp, $198, available at MoMA

Sometimes, you need light for reading in places where there's no space for a traditional lamp. That's where the Lumio Book Lamp comes in. It's awesome in countless ways, one being that it freaking looks just like a book, and the other being that it's totally portable, so you can read anywhere, anytime, no matter how dark it is.

Photo via n + 1

n + 1, Holiday Gift Subscription Deal, $30, available at n + 1

A subscription to this amazing magazine will give someone you love an ample amount of brilliant, insightful writing all year long. Each issue of n + 1 features essays, criticism, and fiction, and each issue makes the reader smarter. And if a simple subscription doesn't seem like quite enough of a gift, nobody's tote bag game is as good as n + 1's, so pick up one of those while you're at it.

Photo via Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond, Teak Bath Caddy, $39.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond

Personally, there's no place I like reading better than the bath; this is why most of my paperbacks have a wavy one-inch border along their bottoms. So give the gift of protected bathtime reading to your literary loved one with this handy bath caddy, which not only will prop up a book, but can also hold a glass of wine. Heaven.

Photo via Kneipp

Kneipp, Herbal Bath Oils, $4, available at Kneipp

While you're at it, give some of these amazing German bath oils, which come in vibrant hues and will keep your book nerd's skin soft and moisturized, since they're probably destined to spend hours in the tub, lost in the pages of their miraculously dry book.

Photo via Diptyque

Diptyque, 'Feu de Bois' candle in 'Gris,' $90, available at Diptyque 

And maybe one more thing to set the bookish bathtime mood? A candle that smells like a cozy wood fire and will make anyone who gets a whiff immediately want to pick up a good book and curl up in a blanket and just relax. But where to get the perfect blanket?

Photo via Brooklinen

Brooklinen, Fall Throw Blanket, $189-229, available at Brooklinen

Here! Here's where you get the perfect blanket. Brooklinen is pretty much killing the textile game right now, and this blanket is a perfect example. Once anyone wraps themselves up within it, they will never want to leave. But as long as they've got a good book as company, why should they have to?

Check out more of our Unwrapped gift guides here.