You are here: Home > Resources > Ask John! > John Weighs In > What do you buy a book collector?
Virginia comments on what to buy the book collector in your family...

John is the book collector in our family.  He came to our relationship with a love of books, both in the reading and collecting.  One would think that buying gifts for the collector would be easy - just get them the next signed edition by their favorite author and "call it good."

Sigh... if it were only that easy!  After all these years, I've come to realize that book collecting is a very personal experience.  Many times the satisfaction of adding a new title to a collection comes from having found the exact title in the exact condition the collector is seeking.  I call it "finding the find."

One year I thought I had it made.  I sleuthed out a mint edition of James Patterson's The Thomas Berryman Number.  I struggled with the purchase price, but felt the effort and cost would be well worth it, as I knew it was one of the few titles John needed to complete his James Patterson collection.

John received it with gratitude, but I realized that I had, perhaps, taken a bit of the "gift" away because he was simply adding it to his shelf, and I had gone through all the ritual of "finding the find." 

So when someone asks what to get the person who has everything, I first recommend a gift certificate - not because they are easy, but they actually acknowledge that book collecting is a personal experience.

I then recommend giving your book collector the gift of time - time to sleuth the websites and browse the bookstores, to perhaps have the complete experience of "finding the find."

So, with that said - if your goal is to make sure something other than a gift certificate is under the tree, I recommend that you take a look at the book collector's collection.  Every book should be wrapped in an acetate jacket cover.  It protects the books and shows that you also respect those things of value.  We offer book jacketing services for a nominal fee.

Another good idea is to take a look at our New Arrivals category.  Would your collector appreciate trying a new author or genre?  This is a great place to look - books and authors outstanding in every way!

Finally, failing a gift certificate, jacket covers and the other accessories we offer, I suggest you read a book by one of the authors your collector collects.  Then, make dinner reservations and spend the evening talking about the book!

Good Reading,


Read articles about book collecting
Read John's answers to book collecting questions
Receive our Book Collecting PDFs and newsletters
Sign up for our Book Club

Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Watch our Videos