Books are one of my favorite gifts to both give and receive. How else can you transport someone to another time and place in just minutes?  You can find a book on a topic that interests them. So its a great gift, even for those who are not avid readers.  The hard part sometimes is figuring out what book to get someone. This is especially true if you’re not sure where their interests lie.

Browsing at Barnes & Noble

I wandered into Barnes & Noble recently looking for birthday gifts for a couple of family members. I have a hard time shopping for one of them and I really wanted to get her a book that she might enjoy. Even better would be to find one that she can enjoy at the beach, because she visits the beach often. I want to give her the gift of losing herself in a good book. The problem is, I don’t really know what kind of book she reads. So I hoped that I might find some inspiration at Barnes & Noble.

Well, if you are looking for some great gift ideas and want to save 20% in the process, Barnes & Noble has got you covered. I lucked out to find that my store had a whole “Discover” shelf of new writers and all the books were 20% off, 30% off if you are a Barnes & Noble member. This shelf is right next to their staff recommendations too so I could look through the titles and read the convenient little cards which detailed each book. Definitely the inspiration I needed!

If you are a frequent book purchaser or gift giver, the Barnes & Noble membership might be worth your while. You pay an annual fee of $25 and that entitles you to 10% off of everything you buy, 40% off of hardcover best sellers (perfect for gifts!). It also comes with free express shipping for your online orders, $60 in bonus coupons when you sign up, and member-exclusive discounts throughout the year. Pretty good deal! If you buy just 2-3 hardcover best sellers a year the membership will pay for itself.

The Book List

I ended up selecting Educated, a Memoir and The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock,  historical fiction book. Both books are  really interesting and I hope the recipient enjoys them! Memoirs are always a great gift choice because reading about someone else’s life is voyeuristic and fascinating. In my experience, historical fiction is often uneven in quality. However, critics described this book as “completely transporting” and “evocative of Dickens”. I would say that is high praise and I hope the book’s recipient will agree.

Shopping in store does not always lead to the deepest discounts. Sure, I could have bought these on Amazon for less, but I would not have known what books to get. I appreciate the in-store shopping experience for its ability to fire my imagination and expose me to new products I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I also happened to have a discounted Barnes & Noble gift card that I had bought online earlier and I was pleased to have saved some money in the process. With the discounted price, those two dollars I would have saved by shopping online saved me the time and hassle of having to remember to order the books and wait on their arrival. By shopping at Barnes & Nobles, I came home with two hefty tomes all ready to be gift wrapped.