Tis the gift giving season, and a question we're getting asked by family and friends is how do you give an ebook as a gift? You can't pop it in a box and wrap it. You could give a gift card, sure, but what if you want something more personal or precise? What if you want to give someone a copy of this one great book you just read?
It's easy: there's a button, we tell our loved ones. And our loved ones look at us skeptically and consider revoking their previously bestowed title of She-Who-Is-An-Expert-In-All-Things-Book-and-Ebook.
So we're here to back up our statement with the following image-heavy tutorial: There is a button on almost all major ebook retailers' sites, and many of them offer you the option of emailing the recipient immediately with their gift, or on a future date of your choosing, or of retaining and printing the redemption code yourself.
Below we've detailed the process for Amazon Kindle ebooks, Barnes & Noble Nook books, Kobo ebooks, and OmniLit ebooks, as well as provided some suggestions for those of you who'd like a physical gift to stick a bow on rather than a email present.
Amazon Kindle ebooks as giftsOn the right hand menu of any Amazon book/ebook listing, you'll see a yellow-orange button that reads "Give as a Gift."
When you click this button, you'll be prompted to tell Amazon who the gift is going to go to, and when you want it delivered to their email address. Choosing this option emails a special code to your recipient that they can plug into Amazon to download the title to their Kindle. Of course, to use this option, you need to have your recipient's email address.
With the "Email the gift directly to my recipient" option, you can choose the email to be automatically sent the morning of December 25, or any other date. But if you don't specify a date, it will send the gift code immediately. So pay special attention to that.
Or you can choose the second option, "Email the gift to me." This allows you to completely control when the recipient receives their gift code. And it gives you the chance to print it, and give them a physical gift if that's something you like to do.
If you're crafty (or even moderately craft-inclined) making good looking personalized ebook gift cards isn't all that hard to do.
In the image at left, we've simply downloaded book cover art -- or in this case a promotional image from the Shards of History blog tour -- and printed it out on the office printer. (Sadly, the office doesn't do color.) Then cut it down to size. On the back, we have printed a little message -- A fabulous fantasy ebook gift for you! -- and below the message listed the code and the words "Redeem at Amazon."
You could, of course, make these nifty little cover art gift cards for any book with codes from any retailer. They'd be great as stocking suffers, gifts for those living across the country tucked inside greeting cards, or as little bonuses tucked in with that shiny new ereader or tablet gift. And best of all, you can buy an ebook gift code at any time -- Midnight on Christmas Eve included -- without it looking like you gave up and went with the gift-card-for-anything option.
Don't forget that most tablets have the ability to download Kindle, Nook, or Kobo apps to allow them to read books directly from those retailers regardless of whether someone like Apple made the tablet!
As far as gifts-from-crafty-people go, this is extremely low effort. We'd love to see what someone could do with scrapbooking paper, some stickers, and maybe a die-cutter. No, seriously -- we'd love to see it. If you have an awesome DIY book gift card you want to show us, email the pic to publicity [at] worldweaverpress.com.
Barnes & Noble Nook books as gifts
To give an ebook gift for Nook readers, go to the Barnes & Noble page for the title of your choice, then look for the words beside the BUY NOW button which say "Buy as a Gift."
You'll then be prompted to enter the recipient's email information and type a gift message should you want to write one. Barnes & Noble says they allow you to forward-date your gift, but we couldn't find the button on the first screen. If the ability to choose-your-send-date proves illusive, you could always send the gift code to yourself to print out and give, or forward at a later date if that's important to you.
Kobo ebooks as gifts
Kobo has a big blue button on the right hand side bar: "SEND AS GIFT."
Kobo will allow you to forward-date your gift up to one year in advance of when you purchase it.
Not familiar with Kobo? The Kobo ereader is primarily associated with Chapters, a Canadian chain bookstore. In the United States, it's mostly sold in independent bookstores.
OmniLit ebooks as gifts
OmniLit is an ebook retailer that isn't associated with any particular ereading device. This means that most ereader owners can download titles from OmniLit and read them on their device. This is good if you know someone who has an ereader but can't recall if it's a Kindle or Nook or Kobo, etc. It does pay to be careful though: OmniLit sells in many formats, but not all books are available in all formats. If your gift recipient has a Nook, Kobo, or iPad, they'll likely need an "epub" file. If they read on a Kindle, they'll need a "Mobi" or "Mobi PRC." OmniLit lists all these details above their BUY and GIFT buttons.
Locate the dark red/maroon button that says "Gift" in the product information -- it has some pretty wrapped gift icons hanging out with it so it's hard to miss.
That's it for our tutorial on how to gift an ebook! If you have other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and we'll see what we can suggest in terms of answers. And again, we'd love to see what you come up with for ebook gift cards. Send us those links too!
Now, how about some ideas for what to send whom?
Note: All information is up to date as of December, 2012. Retailers may change their formatting or ebook gifting policies at any time and this tutorial does not reflect those changes.
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.