Gifting e-books for the Holidays

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This holiday season, remember that e-books can make great gifts, too.

It is possible to gift e-books at most major retailers, like

One thing to bear in mind is that you need to know what device the recipient reads books on. Kindle devices only read Kindle e-books, whereas Kobo and Nook devices don’t read Kindle e-books (they need Kobo or Nook e-books instead). However, some devices can read different kinds of e-books. For example, iPads and iPhones can read Apple books, but can also read Kindle e-books. Find out what the recipient prefers.

Another thing to realize is that gifting an e-book is like sending a gift certificate with a suggestion tied to it. For example, if you gift a $3.99 e-book at, the recipient can spend that $3.99 on anything—i.e. they aren’t obligated to buy that e-book. This can actually be a good thing, in case you accidentally picked out a book that the person didn’t really want to read (they can pick out a different book instead).

Gifting across countries can be rather tricky. Gifting within the same country is usually much easier.

Read Tuesday makes it even better to give e-books as gifts this holiday season. Read Tuesday is a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers on December 9, 2014.

How (And Why) To Give An E-Book

This article was written by Misha Burnett.

Electronic books are a cheap and easy way to read. They are less expensive than printed books, often a lot less expensive, and they are convenient. Even people who do not use a dedicated e-reader like a Kindle or a Nook often have reader apps installed on their tablets and smart phones. Readers worldwide are able to enjoy their books wherever they are and carry whole libraries around in their pockets or briefcases.

Odds are, you know someone who uses an e-reader or a reader app on a regular basis. With the holiday season approaching we’re all looking for gifts for our friends and families. Gifting e-books is quick, there’s no shipping involved, and you can do it from home without braving mall traffic. What’s more, the major e-book retailers allow e-books to be exchanged for store credit, so if you make a mistake and give a book that your recipient already has, she or he can exchange it right from the device screen.

Electronic retailers make it easy to do, too. All that you need is an account with the retailer and the recipient’s e-mail address.

Here’s how:

First, find out what sort of e-reader or app your friend uses. The most popular is Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle apps. (Even many iPad users are more likely to use the Kindle app for iPad than Apple’s dedicated iBooks reader.) If that’s the case, then shopping on Amazon is going to be easiest.

Nook and Nook apps are the creation of Barnes & Noble (B&N), and so you’ll want to shop there. The Nook uses the epub format, which is the same format used by Kobo readers, and which can also be read by Apple readers and apps.

Sound confusing? It really isn’t. If your friend uses a Kindle or a Kindle app, go with Amazon. For other e-readers, the B&N site should provide a file that is compatible with their equipment. Again, remember that e-books on both sites are easy to return for store credit, which means music, games, anything that the retailers sell.

(Don’t want to tip off your friend? You can always use the “I’m thinking about getting an e-reader, what do you recommend?” ploy.)

Once you know what format of e-book to buy, all you need to do is find something in the right genre. Obviously I’m going to suggest that you look through the offerings on this site that are sorted by genre—I wouldn’t be writing this article for this site if I didn’t believe that books by contributing authors to this site were worthwhile. (Including, ahem, mine.) I do hope that when you finish reading this you’ll take a moment to look through what we have to offer. The books listed here will have links to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sales pages.

However, any retailer that sells e-books is going to have them sorted into types—Mysteries, Romances, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and so on. Most will offer recommendations based on other books, so if you know a title that your friend really enjoyed you can find that title and see what else the site suggests.

I’ll be showing screenshots from Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s websites. They are the two biggest retailers of e-books, and while there are others—lots of others—these two are, in my opinion, the easiest to work with. Many other sites will require you to download the books to your own computer and then transfer it to the e-reader, which isn’t that difficult, honestly, but a little more in-depth than I want to go into here.

Not being an Apple user, myself, I don’t have any real experience with using their iStore. I don’t believe that they allow gifting of specific titles, instead they tend to prefer that customers buy iTunes gift cards.

Once you’ve found a title that you think your friend would like, you’ll see an option for Give This Book As A Gift on the book’s sales page.

Gift Amazon

on Amazon


Gift BN

on Barnes & Noble

Click on the gift button and you’re almost home.

Next you need to tell the retailer what e-mail to use to notify your friend that there’s a gift available. The forms are very easy, and can include a personal message.

Gift 3

Click on an image to enlarge.

Gift 4

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble

allow adding personal messages

and scheduling delivery.

And that’s it. No shipping, no fighting traffic, and many authors offer books on sale for the price of greeting card. E-books don’t spoil and the recipients can download them at their convenience and read them at any time. (And if you’re an e-reader user who is tired of getting ties that you won’t wear, feel free to share the link to this article as a hint.)

The above article was written by Misha Burnett.


Please support the Read Tuesday Thunderclap. This will help spread awareness on the morning of Read Tuesday (December 9, 2014).

It’s easy to help:

  • Visit
  • Click Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and sign in.
  • Customize the message. (Optional.)
  • Agree to the terms. All that will happen is that the Thunderclap post about Read Tuesday will go out the morning of December 9.
  • (The warning message simply means that Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr need your permission to post the Thunderclap message on December 9. This is the only post that Thunderclap will make.)

Other ways to support the event include clicking the Follow button on the Read Tuesday website or through Twitter or Facebook.


Read Tuesday is a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers. In 2014, it will be held on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

It’s a great deal for readers and gift-givers.

Meet some of the participating authors here:

It’s FREE promotion for authors. We’re promoting the event. You just need to sign up. (Use the forms above.)


Authors can participate in Read Tuesday for FREE:

Submission is easy and should go smoothly—you just fill out a Google Docs form. However, if you encounter any issues, have questions, receive an error message, or see a symptom that might suggest that your information didn’t save, please use the Contact Us form on the Read Tuesday website.


Give the gift of reading this holiday season.

Chris McMullen, founder of Read Tuesday

Follow Read Tuesday (@ReadTuesday) on Twitter

Like the Read Tuesday page at Facebook

9 responses to “Gifting e-books for the Holidays

  1. Sorry, just a slight correction. The newer generation Nooks, including the Nook HD and the new Samsung Galaxy Nook can read Kindle. All you have to do is download a kindle app from the googleplay store. I do it all the time. Also If you have a Kindle or an Ipad, or any android device you can download a nook app from and read a nook book that way. If you have an older reader this might not be possible, but the newer devices are more flexible.

    • That’s right. Those apps work on the tablet-like devices, and that’s the direction everything is evolving. I have a Kindle Fire, but even though I could get an app, I still only shop for Kindle. I wonder how many customers are as flexible as the device… Thank you for clarifying. 🙂

  2. Pingback: It’s #READTUESDAY! | Jemima Pett·

  3. Pingback: Read Tuesday: Today’s Book Deals | Nicholas C. Rossis·

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