Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Books Make Great Gifts This Holiday Season

Last Christmas season, I wrote a post about buying books as presents. I’m going to recycle it here, with a few updates. I’ve already bought 6 books to give to relatives, and I’ve got another on my list that I need get. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be mailed.

It’s nice to see people out buying books as Christmas gifts. I went to the bookstore yesterday. I called to order a book, but the store closest to me didn’t have it in stock, so I trekked across town to another. The store was packed! I even saw people I knew. The checkout line was about twenty people deep, even though they had five or six cashiers. The guy behind me in line was on the phone sort of grumping about the line.

But I didn’t mind the wait. It moved fairly quickly and, to my mind, it meant people were buying books. It’d be nice if they all bought the books of friends of mine, but any book is a good gift. You can find something to suit anyone’s taste. Even if they don’t read, there are always coffee table books with luscious pictures. I buy books every year.

There’s one thing I wish bookstores would do this time of year. I’d like for them to set up two tables -- one that has autographed books and one that displays books by local authors. The second bookstore I went to (yes, it’s like chips – you can’t visit just one) had a table of books by local authors. That’s interesting to browse, but they only had one book that had been autographed. Usually I get books autographed during the year and have them ready to give. I didn’t do that this year, but I still like to give autographed books.

I had to walk the aisles, looking for books signed by the author. I only found one that I thought the person I wanted to give it to would like. Plus, it was time-consuming to find autographed books. They usually have a sticker, but the sticker’s on the front cover, not the spine. This year, I had trouble finding a particular book. Actually, I should say that I had trouble finding autographed copies of a particular book. But I kept calling around until I found a store that had three, the exact number I was looking for. Lucky for me, the Austin area has a lot of bookstores.

I think more people would buy books if they were autographed and easy to find. So I would like stores to set up tables of these kinds of books and I’d like more local authors to sign stock and encourage stores to set up these kinds of tables. Not just because it would make my life easier, but because it would also increase sales.

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