With the holidays rapidly approaching, our thoughts are turning to books and how to give them as gifts. With some stores like Amazon that is easy, but with other stores like Kobo it is difficult, and in the case of iBooks it is simply not possible to gift an ebook.
As a general rule, I think it is better to give a gift card rather than an ebook. This lets the recipient choose the ebooks they want to buy, or perhaps use the funds to get a magazine subscription instead.
While it is fun to give books as a gift, it’s not always as much fun to get a book. One might already have the ebook in question, or it might not be to one’s taste, or the gift might have been purchased in the wrong store (iBooks vs Kindle, for example).
And that’s why I say give a gift card.
Here are a list of the main ebook retailers, as well as several of the bookstore chains in the US, UK, and Canada that also sell ebooks. Many of the sites in this list will let you buy an egift card which will be delivered via email, with the exception of Google Play, which only distributes their cards through brick and mortar stores.
Oh, and Kobo is another exception; they will let you gift an ebook, but they won’t sell you a gift card. Luckily those in the UK and Canada do have another option: they can get a gift card at WH Smith or Indigo, respectively, and use it to buy Kobo ebooks.
- Amazon gift cards
- Barnes & Noble
- Google Play
- Indigo (Kobo)
- WH Smith (Kobo)
But wait, what if the recipient prefers one of the subscription ebook services?
You’re in luck; all three of the leading services offer gift cards, so you have the option of buying a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to one of the services and then sending the gift by email.