Last-Minute Gift Shopping? Give an E-Book!

goldilocks-and-3-bears460Still wondering how to fill those gaps in your Christmas gift list? Now that books come in so many different forms and genres, a book is more than ever the ideal stocking-stuffer. For your loved ones who favor digital bookshelves, how about an e-book?

Is there a way to give an e-book as a gift?

Of course there is!  Would Amazon leave a potentially lucrative shopping gap unfilled?  In “How to Give an E-Book as a Gift,” Sharon Vaknin of CNET outlines the procedure now commonly called “gifting” for your loved ones who read on Nook, Kindle, iPad, or Android devices.  It’s a story reminiscent of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”:

  • Amazon, the experts at making everything easy for everybody, has a “Give as a Gift” button which lets you either send your chosen book directly to your chosen recipient, or print out a voucher to wrap and/or send.
  • Barnes & Noble will let you buy a Nook book as a gift if you open an account.
  • iTunes and Google+ have no procedure for gift books; however, you can buy a gift card and enclose a book suggestion with it.

Smashwords and Kobo aren’t covered by Vaknin’s article, but trust the ever-flexible Smashwords to enable easy gift-giving.  On Smashwords you can give an e-book in almost any e-format, however old, new, or obscure.  Just find the book you want, click on the title, and click the “Give as a Gift” button.  Your recipient will need to open a free Smashwords account to pick up the book; that done, s/he can open or download it on any device from a phone to a computer.  Full details here.

Kobo doesn’t have a specific gift-book procedure but will let you give a gift card which the recipient can redeem online.

And if your taste is retro, remember that the US Postal Service this year charges $5.80 for delivery within 1-3 days of a Priority Mail envelope or small (5.25″ x 8.5″) box of any weight.  When they ask you if your package contains anything hazardous, say Yes!  It’s a book!