If you’re anything like us—and hello, you’re here, reading this—you’re probably a book lover. Whether those to-read piles on the brink of teetering over are yours or your bestie’s, parent’s, or partner’s, we’re not here to judge the unread stacks.
But when it comes to the great responsibility of sharing the love of books through gifts, there are so many options beyond books themselves. To help you do right by the book lovers in your life, we asked for gift suggestions from the most bibliophilic, word nerdy people we know: the Dictionary.com staff.
You have our permission to also buy all of these things for yourself—we won’t tell!
🎄 Games for book lovers
Even book lovers put their books down sometimes. Here’s a good reason: to play some of these beautifully book-themed games.
Recommended by: Heather B., Lexicographer
Hardback is a tabletop deck-building card game. The basic object is to spell words using the letter cards in your hand. But, as Heather notes, there are all kinds of card effects for the different genres of cards (adventure, horror, mystery, and romance).
Heather says: “The game is pretty rewarding for a novice, because you can always spell something, but to really be great, you need to strategize using the card effects and powers.”
2. Electric Literature’s Papercuts
Like Apples to Apples but with a novel twist. Electric Literature’s Papercuts pairs questions and answers inspired by famous novels and works of literature.
For the book lover slash gamer, there is Pentiment, now available on Xbox. The theme? A medieval manuscript mystery—and some very beautiful scripts.
4. Mystery puzzles
Recommended by: Danuta M., Editorial Coordinator
What do you call a mystery and a puzzle combined into one? (A myzzle? We’re working on it.)
Danuta got an Agatha Christie-inspired mystery puzzle for her parents last year.
5. Dear Holmes: Mysteries by Mail
While we’re on the subject of mysteries, take a look at Dear Holmes, another puzzling game. Recipients receive a mystery by mail each month. Is it the perfect gift? Elementary, our dear gifter!
6. Marrying Mr. Darcy
If you ardently admire a certain literary character, the card game Marrying Mr. Darcy just might be for you.
🎄 Booklover shirts and wearables
Want to wear your book love on your sleeve, literally? You’ve got options—including from some beloved independent bookstores. Don’t forget to check out the selection of bookish merch from your favorite book shop or local library (like the New York Public Library and the Seattle Public Library).
1. Phenomenal Book Club
Phenomenal is a media company that promotes underrepresented writers. Its “book club” offers a great selection of shirts for book lovers.
2. A Room of One’s Own
A Room of One’s Own is a queer-owned bookshop in Madison, Wisconsin, whose online shop offers some iconic T-shirts.
3. Harriet’s Bookshop
Recommended by: Mariel J., Research Editor
Harriet’s Bookshop in Philadelphia offers classic author tees that let you show your allegiance (e.g. “Team Butler” and “Team Angelou), along with general book lover options (“Books Are My Love Language”) and Philly-centric ones (“Well Read Jawn”).
4. Dictionary.com T-shirts
Our collection includes cheeky shirts with the definition for legend (great for Mom or Dad) and tee-shirt (you know exactly which friend would love this). There are so many good ones, your going to have a hard time choosing!
(See the next section for our equally cheeky mugs.)
5. Out of Print
Recommended by: Allison T., VP of Product
The Out of Print company has donated more than 5 million books to literacy initiatives and communities in need. Its online shop offers book lover-themed T-shirts, tote bags, necklaces, and more.
Allison says: “So many great gifts for book lovers, including this ‘Read Banned Books’ T-shirt!”
Recommended by: Jess M., Director of Marketing, and Aroline H., Content Editor
If the recipient of your gift has a taste in clothing that’s literary in a literal way, check out these shirts from Litographs that feature actual text from classic works.
7. Book-page earrings
Recommended by: Aroline H., Content Editor
Aroline says: “I love wearing the pair I have because wherever I go I always have a book on me!”
🎄 Book lover gifts for the home
Once you’ve geared up with book lover apparel and some literary games, surround yourself with some book lover home goods.
1. Dictionary.com mugs
Mugs are like books: You can never have enough. And with all of the cheeky things we’ve added to Dictionary.com mugs, you’ll probably want to get several.
2. Book-themed candles
Chi Candle is a family-owned company with a whole line of soy-based candles with reading-related scents, including: “Old Book Pages,” “New Book Pages,” “New Bookstore,” and “Reading on a Rainy Day.” (Sorry, there’s no “Reading Next to a Snoring Cat”—yet. For now you’ll have to provide your own.)