When people who do not write try to buy gifts for writers, they often get it wrong.
Specific books — things you think your writer might enjoy — a bad choice in most cases. We’re picky as hell. We have piles of books we intend to read that we haven’t gotten around to. We also have weird research interests; the books we need are often obscure and/or hard to explain. And our taste in books is very different from other readers’ because we can’t turn off our mental editors, and we’re constantly nitpicking the things we read. The bestseller you love? Your writer probably can’t stand the author’s style.
Gift cards to bookstores are always welcome. There is never enough money in the world for all the books writers need; this gift never gets old.
Exceptions: if your writer has given you a list of wanted books, or keeps a wish list on Amazon, go for it.
If you’re sure your writer doesn’t have a copy of The Unstrung Harp, Or Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel ($10 at Amazon), it’s one of the few books most writers — at least, writers seeking publication — will enjoy.
Writers start out as readers, and we stay readers forever — even if we have less time for it as we spend more time writing.
Thumb Thing for holding books open while you take notes, feed the baby, whatever.
Bookzup book easel ($5) or office-style stand is great for hands-free reading and note-taking.
Notebooks and Pens
Writers always want writing supplies, right? Wrong. Ix-nay on the fancy stationery. Writers are a neurotic bunch, and most of us feel like pretty notebooks are too nice for us to scribble in. Really.
Exceptions: ink refills for fountain pens, if you know what kind of pen your writer uses and which ink s/he wants, and Moleskine notebooks, if you know your writer uses them or needs a small notebook to carry around.
What else? Writers, add your wish list (or the things you dread receiving) here!
More, more, more!
ETA: more gifts for writers, via Emma Bull: literary action figures, more jewelry, bookends, bookmarks, sealing wax, the personal library kit I love but have never been able to justify given that I use Delicious Library… on and on.