Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts For Book People (Besides Books)

2015 Autostraddle Holigays

My whole life is books. I read books. I’m writing one. I’m getting married in a bookstore. Do you know how many books I have? I don’t either. That’s probably how I wound up with three copies of Pride and Prejudice. I mean that other people don’t know how many books I have, or which ones exactly they are. Like, I only bought one of those; other people gave me the rest. I feel like this is true for many, many book people? The lesson is: never get a book person books unless they’ve asked for something specific or you’ve had some sort of conversation. Instead, get them book things that aren’t books! Here are a few suggestions!

Wearable Book Things


Books for your body! There are these lovely chiffon book scarves over on Etsy ($24) — there’s a bunch of different ones, but I’m featuring Pride and Prejudice because, as previously mentioned, it is my favorite book. Actually, you’re about to learn a lot about my book tastes, because I’m about to let you know about Litographs (one of my favorite companies) by showing you a tee shirt with the entire text of The Tempest on it ($34). The Tempest is my favorite Shakespeare. I also want to make sure to include something comics-related on this gift guide, because comics are just as much literature as anything else. So here’s a skirt that looks like a comic book ($50)! If you’re looking for something jewelry, here’s an Open Book Necklace ($15). I want to point out that it is entirely possible to wear all of these things at one time.

Household Book Things


Book things for your house! The obvious thing to start off with is things to hang on the walls — check out this Harry Potter Golden Trio Portrait ($20) or this print of a nerdy owl on a dictionary page ($7). Plant in books with an up-cycled book planter ($50). I feel like that’s a controversial suggestion — some book people might not enjoy that a book died for the planter. So proceed with caution. No books had to die for this Old Books Scented Candle ($18), so it might be a safer gift idea for the more purist among us. Frostbeard Studio also has scents from specific books (Sherlock’s Study or Le Cirque des Rêves, among others).

Readers Who Are Writers


I feel like most readers are also writers, even if they don’t do it professionally. Readers usually have a reverence for the written word that leads to journaling, fan fiction and personal project novels AT THE VERY LEAST. That love doesn’t evaporate. So consider a Midori Traveler’s Notebook ($35) with some planner and journal pages (and some binding-elastics to keep it all together). A set of good pens wouldn’t go amiss ($13) — I have these exact ones and can highly recommend them. If your book person already has a journal, a bandolier to keep books and pens together ($26) in a bag is a nice thing to do. If you’re not sure of your book person’s writing preferences, maybe get them a loose-leaf tee shirt ($50) so they can wear their blank-page-conquering-pride on their sleeve — literally.

If you’re not really sure what a Midori Traveler’s Notebook is or is for, by the way, here’s a really good overview.

Book Accoutrements


Lastly, things that are for the books that book people own. First, those bookends on which you can build with Legos ($25) because I’m your Geekery Editor and of course that’s what I found on the internet. If your book person is a book-shelf-possessor, help them organize their life with Birch A-Z Book Dividers ($120). I’m pretty sure I’ve recommended this library kit before ($15), but a great alternative is a customizable stamp ($27) to just plomp that ownership right on the inside cover with some ink and a prideful smile.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. As a book person, I approve of this! Those book acoutrements are especially tasty!

    I love getting books as gifts, but not when they are all on one fucking topic. A few years back I was reading a (really good) book about Hitler and the nazis (and carrying the book around, as I was reading it on my commute) so all my friends thought that it would be great to buy me more nazi books! So now I have a shelf of books about the nazi regime that I didn’t even read, cause I got bored of the topic…people, I’m not doing my doctorate in that,!!!

  2. As a book geek, I strongly approve of this list. As soon as I stop this living-abroad-and-moving-around-a-lot lark and finally settle somewhere (with all of my beloved books), I will definitely be getting some awesome bookends to set up my home library. And probably other book-inspired home stuff too, because this list is great.

  3. This is amazing! My fiance wants to get married at The Strand bookstore in NY, but I suspect they wouldn’t be too happy about that haha. Anyway, her family doesn’t celebrate christmas, but I came across this and I just spontaneously got her one of the etsy book scarves, the Little Women one. Idk if she’ll wear it, but if not she can hang it up on her wall. I believe it will make her very happy; thanks for keeping these options so affordable too! I hope it’ll make my book lover very happy.

      • @pocketlibrarian and @newromanticism, I am in fact getting married at Housing Works Bookstore and I HIGHLY recommend them. I cannot recommend them highly enough, actually. They’re super lovely and part of our fees go right to the cause. Plus they keep the register open during the reception so our guests can buy books; they get us.

  4. These are great! I am definitely going to buy one of the scarves and maybe a tote for some family members.

    On a selfish note, I am going to invest in a midori travelers notebook for myself, to upgrade my current dance journal from a cheap, bashed up, spiral-bound notebook.

    I have been watching the youtube videos and am now planning mini vision boards and it’s going to double up as my choreo workbook too. So inspiring! Thank you.

  5. Totally read “I’m getting married TO a bookstore.”

    Which would still be a totally valid life choice…

    • I can vouch for Alice in Wonderland in black and white. It’s basically the centerpiece of my living room.

  6. I just learned about something called owl crates which is a book subscription which mails you a new book every month and I secretly wish someone would buy me that for Christmas.

  7. I love Lithographs, but my absolute favorite book related apparel is Out of Print Clothing! They have the softest shirts and sweatshirts!!! about half of my clothing is from them at this point.

  8. This list is awesome and I want so many Litographs items. Particularly the tote bags. And I LOVE the range of genres and authors available, not just canonical stuff.

    Has anyone bought anything from before? This also seems to have lots of excellent book nerd gifts (though considerably more canonical than litographs).

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