Giving the gift of words is back in style as online booksellers offer the ability to gift an ebook. Actually, it’s a better idea than ever with greater accessibility and the eagerness of new readers to use their shiny new toys.
Sales for eReading devices like the Kindle and Nook continue to rise each year, so the initial ability to purchase ebooks as gifts (around Christmas of 2010) is growing in response. As people become more comfortable and accustomed to ebooks and ereaders, the gift possibilities move to the top of the ideas list.
To purchase an ebook as a gift, all you really need is the recipient’s email address and the date on which you’d like the ebook delivered. There is actually a new alternative option via Target. For the first time you can actually buy giftcards and redeem them online to purchase eBooks from some major retailers. Really, it has extremely limited availability except in the USA, so you want to primarily use online gifting.
One of the great aspects of online gifting is that you don’t need to own a Kindle, Nook, or give other people books. When you send a book to a friend they also don’t need a dedicated ereader because all the formats from major distributors can be opened and enjoyed with free reading apps on a computer, smartphone, or other supported device.
If you know the recipient owns or prefers a specific reading device, you can purchase the format provided by the vendor.
One important thing you need to know about iBooks in particular is that you cannot buy a specific book from iBooks as a gift. Instead, you have to purchase an iTunes gift card (which can be used for iBook Store purchases) are readily available for purchase online and on most gift card kiosks in major shopping centers.
To purchase a specific ebook as a gift, just search for the specific book on your preferred site. Just below the option to purchase on the ebook’s page, another option is available to “Send as Gift,” “Give as a Gift,” or “Buy As Gift.” Just click that button or link to process your gift purchase. Not all ebooks are eligible for gift purchases, however. If the gift option doesn’t appear on the ebook’s page, the option isn’t available for that specific ebook.
“What if they don’t like or want the ebook I gifted?” As always, a well-thought-out gift of a book is usually well-received, but if the recipient already owns the ebook or wants to exchange the gift, most of the major distributors do allow gifted ebooks to be exchanged for other books or gift cards when the gift is redeemed.
“I want to shop early, but I don’t want to give the book right away.” That’s okay, too. Look for the option to specify a delivery date. Optionally, you can print the gift email if you’d prefer to hand-deliver it in a card.
Sharing a favorite title with a friend, offering an inspirational gift for a special occasion, and encouraging tech savvy generations to discover old classics in a new medium are all enjoyed by gifting ebooks. The ability to gift a specific ebook certainly carries as much meaning as its message. But, if inspiration fails, all the major online booksellers offer gift cards, too.