Gifts for Readers

My local newspaper recently ran an article highlighting gifts for readers for the Christmas season. I thought this was a fantastic idea, so, I decided to share a list of gifts for readers on my blog.

The following is a gift guide featuring books from small publishers.  It was difficult to just pick a few books to highlight, so I choose to feature books that have won awards and cater to a wide audience.

Preschoolers

The Color of Grace, by Jennifer Neill (In the Wind Books $12.99)—This book was a recent winner of the Gold Moonbeam Spirit Award and the Young Voices Foundation Gold Award. A young boy uses his five senses to question his mother about grace while getting ready for bed.

Young Elementary

The Prize Cake, by CBH Ministries (CBH Ministries $10)—This book was a recipient of the 2010 Homeschool Crew Seaworthy Award. Tori and her mom decide to make submissions to a cake competition but when things don’t turn out the way tori hopes, will she be able to find forgiveness in her heart?

Ten Things Every Kid Should Know About God, by Tina Bryson (Leeway Artisans $10.95)—Winner of the 2011 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, this book walks kids through 10 essential things they should know about God.

Teenagers

I Can See the Shore, by Mike Dawson (Grace Acres Press $19.95)—Winner of the 2011 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, this story is a biographical account written by a missionary to the Yanomamo tribe in South America.

Conventional Wisdom, by Alain Auderset (Atelier Alain Auderset $11.99)—This comic book is a Christian best-seller in Europe. Its vivid illustrations make you think about God and the meaning of life. Full of humor, this book is great for helping individuals toward more faith.

Adult Fiction

Picking Up the Pieces, by Paula Vince (Even Before Publishing $18.99)—This book won the 2011 International Book Awards Religious Fiction category. One terrible decision leads to another and the Parker and Quinlan families find out what it means to be in total despair. In a moment of recklessness, Blake Quinlan does something he never should.

Seasons in the Mist, by Deborah Kinnard (Sheaf House $13.99)—This book was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the Grace Awards for excellence in faith-based fiction. Stranded in 1353 cornwall, american graduate student Bethany Lindstrom knows she must find a way back to her own time or face a life of falsehoods and peril.

Adult Nonfiction

Your Average Joe Unplugged, by Joseph Schneller (Nordskog Publishing $11.95)—This is a devotional book for men. Through 30 daily devotionals and a half-dozen humor articles, Joseph Schneller presents honest, often humorous encouragement for your Christian pilgrimage through this fallen world.

Real Spiritual Spinach: Faith for the Journey, by Tammy Real-McKeighan (Truth Book Publishers $17.99)—This book is a compilation of 59 faith-boosting weekly newspaper columns by Tammy Real-McKeighan. Each column dishes up commonplace, but encouraging stories that show how the Bible applies to people today.

If you are looking for a great book to give to someone this Christmas, consider these or other great books by small publishers! Books make great gifts.They are affordable, and they provide hours of surprise, escape, and discovery. Best of all, Christian books encourage your loved ones in their relationship with God.

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Do You Give Books as Gifts?

I think that anyone involved in the publishing industry, whether you are an author, publisher, distributor, bookseller, editor, publicist, or literary agent, should give books as gifts.

Why?

1. It’s good for business.

Giving books as gifts means more books are being purchased. This is good for business. We need books to sell to keep the business of publishing and selling books alive and active. The more people you expose to a good book, the more people you win as enthusiastic fans who will help you promote that book, resulting in more book sales.

2. It promotes reading.

According to statistics, reading is decreasing in the United States. Giving books as gifts encourages people to read. The more people read, the more books they purchase. It’s simple math.

3. Books have the power to change lives.

Ultimately, only Jesus has the power to transform lives, but books still have the power to change people’s lives. Books provide people with insight and information that can help them learn to think and act in new ways. Most importantly, good Christian books can lead people to a better understanding and relationship with God.

I encourage you to give books as gifts this Christmas season and throughout the year. Books make wonderful gifts and last a long time.

Need some ideas of good books to give as gifts this Christmas? Let me suggest you check out the great books offered by member publishers of Christian Small Publishers Association. Just click on the CSPA 2009 Product catalog below and flip through it to be inspired!


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Books=Gifts Holiday Campaign

hpim1039I think the “Books=Gifts” campaign was a great idea. Random House launched the campaign that ran in consumer publications, on websites, in email blasts, and in ads on Facebook and YouTube in November and December 2008. The campaign was an effort to hype up book sales during a dismal holiday season. Random house offered the graphics they created for the campaign for free to anyone wishing to use them. These banners can be still be downloaded for free from

http://www.randomhouse.com/waterbrook/retailers/resources.html.

Why make this just a holiday campaign? People purchase gifts all throughout the year. They buy gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, to just say thank you, and the list goes on. Incidentally, Nielsen reports that about 17% of annual book sales occur in the last five weeks of the calendar year, indicating that people do purchase books for gifts. So, why not run the Books=Gifts campaign on your website or blog all year? I have decided to do just that. The banner for this campaign will remain on my blog long past the Christmas holiday season. Books make great gifts all year. They are inexpensive, yet consumers perceive that they have value.

Bundling your book with another product can make it even more attractive as a gift. The key is to keep the package still affordable with a total price under $25.00. Bundling is simply combining two or more products together. For example, if you have a book about faith, you could bundle your book with an attractive t-shirt that says “Faith.” If you have a book geared for women, consider offering it bundled with an attractive necklace. A book for fathers could be bundled with a small plaque or paperweight, making it an attractive Father’s Day present.

This Christmas, a friend gave me a beautiful journal book with a decorative cross on the front. Along with the book, she placed a beautiful small silver cross that can hang as a decoration on a wall. Now that was smart bundling and made a beautiful, yet affordable, gift.

Here is the beauty. If you are a book publisher, you don’t need to start manufacturing jewelry or t-shirts or plaques. Partner with other small business owners who are already producing these items. Offer the bundle on your website and you aren’t out any additional money until an item is purchased.