The Book as Christmas Present


Starting in the 1820s, when Christmas was still largely a day of feasting and religious observance, publishers helped pioneer the concept of giving mass-produced goods as presents, inventing an entire genre of books, called Gift Books, designed to be presented to loved ones at Christmas. These were typically anthologies of poetry, fiction, essays, and drawings, with the contents of each volume tailored to appeal to a specific audience.

At Lit Hub, Michael Borne explores the history of the book as Christmas present, and the current sales trends of books typically purchased as gifts. (And if you haven’t purchased your own holiday gifts yet, head over to our store for books, gift subscriptions to our Book Clubs and Letters programs, and more! Free priority shipping through the holidays!)

Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at More from this author →