Tis the season to stress out about what to gifts to give your friends and family. I can’t help with your whole list, but if you happen to know a book lover (or if you are one yourself), I have just the thing for you.
You might think shopping for a reader is easy – just ask what books they like, click “add to cart” on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and then boom, you’re done! But if you’re like me and you want to support a small business or independent artist, or you want to give something a little more unique and special, I’ve got what you need. The list below covers alternatives to Amazon and other major booksellers, as well as online shops that sell a plethora of bookish goodies.
Books and Audiobooks
We’ll start with the basics. If you want to purchase a book but you don’t want to contribute to Jeff Bezos’s empire, Bookshop.org is an excellent alternative. It will allow you to order books online like any other retailer, but part of your purchase will go to support an independent bookstore of your choice. The website even has a store locator so you can find your closest indie bookstore! If you don’t know of a bookstore to support, you can always go with The Midtown Scholar, one of my favorites near where I went to college.
If audiobooks are more your style, you can’t go wrong with Libro.fm. If you’ve ever used Audible (also owned by Amazon), Libro.fm works very similarly – you can buy audiobooks a la carte, or purchase a monthly subscription that gives you a credit for 1 free book per month, plus a 30% discount on all other audiobooks in their catalog. Credits never expire, even if you cancel your membership. I had a credit sitting in my account since last year, and I just used it to purchase Little Thieves by Margaret Owen. And, like Bookshop, all purchases from Libro.fm support an indie bookstore of your choice. If you don’t know of one, you can use their store locator, or feel free to support Let’s Play Books from my hometown.
If you really, really must use Amazon to purchase a book, then be sure to shop via Amazon Smile. While it’s not a local business, Amazon Smile does give a portion of your purchases to a non-profit organization of your choice.
Maybe you know someone who loves, say, Percy Jackson & The Olympians. You can’t exactly get them another copy of The Lightning Thief, because they already have three of them. But never fear, there’s a plethora of bookish goodies all around the internet! Here are a few of my favorite artists and businesses to shop from:
Clothing and Accessories
The Dear Writer Co. is a great place to start for any literary wardrobe. In addition to some general reading items, like this “Death by TBR” shirt, they also have book-specific items for books like A Darker Shade of Magic or Shadow and Bone. I have this shirt inspired by The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and it’s one of my favorites.
If the reader you know is of a more academic bent, you can’t go wrong with College Bookcore. Their designs take locations from popular books and turn them into something that would fit right in on a university campus. They’re available as both t-shirts and sweatshirts, and both are super comfortable. I have the Aglionby Academy and Ketterdam Crow Club sweatshirts, but I’ve been eyeing that New Rome University one for a while too…
Tea and Coffee
There’s nothing quite like curling up with a book and a warm beverage, right? If you’re more of a tea person, Riddle’s Tea Shoppe* has a good selection of loose-leaf and bagged teas based on your favorite books. I also recommend The Sunny Teacup for more general “reader teas,” or Lady Gray Kitchen for people whose nerdiness extends beyond books (I love their Jasmine Dragon House Blend).
*as of this writing, Riddle’s Tea Shoppe is currently closed for the holidays, but gift cards can be purchased via their website!
I’ll admit I’m not an expert on coffee, but for the caffeine addicts out there, Fable Grounds Coffee has a great selection of bookish blends. They have fandom-specific and more general flavors and I have to admit, they might even tempt me!
Candles & Scented Items
I simply cannot get enough of the candles from BriarWick. I never met a scent I didn’t like from them. My favorites are the ones based on Nikolai and Nina from the Grishaverse. Nikolai’s smells just like the sea, and Nina’s has a delightful pomegranate and raspberry scent. BriarWick also has candles based on classic literature, a certain wizarding world, and other popular YA series. Their candles are available in two sizes.
If you want to make someone’s self-care routine a little more bookish, Fiction Bath Co. has a whole catalog of scents based on your favorite books. They’re available as soaps, lotion, perfume, and candles. Even though I’ve never purchased from them directly, I’ve tried a few of their products and they’re delightful. As I look at their website now, this Legendborn collection sounds wonderful.
And if that wasn’t enough, here’s more!
Ethereal Curiosities also has foil bookmarks and stickers based on your favorite books!
And finally, I would be terrible if I didn’t mention two of my dear friends who run their own Etsy shops. Still Poetry Photos, owned by my friend Sarah, sells stickers, clothing, wall art, and unique jewelry. If you know someone who’s a big fan of classic literature, her “Famous Authors” sticker collection is sure to be a hit. She also does custom pet stickers!
Nowhalle, owned by my friend Noelle, specializes in items to raise awareness for mental and chronic illnesses. She has keychains and stickers with motivational quotes and phrases, which I love using to help get me through hard days. My personal favorite is the “Tomorrow Needs You” sticker.