It’s that time of year when I blog my annual reminder that books make ideal Christmas presents.

Amazon has now introduced the option to send Kindle books as a gift in the UK. (This service has been available in the US for a while.) Look for the button on the right of the page for the book you are ordering.

That’s a convenient (and cheap!) way to buy gifts right up to Christmas Eve. I can see the Internet crashing on 24 December.

In the end, though, there is nothing quite like a paper book as a gift. For many people, including me, the convenience of e-books means that that’s where we do most of our reading these days, but paper is special. Paper books can be lent to friends or passed on when they’re finished with. They do, indeed, furnish a room.

Old textbooks remind us of our student years, an autographed volume of a special meeting. 

There is something personal about gifting a paper book. A paper book says that you want to share something you have enjoyed, or that you have thought about the interests and enthusiasms of your friend and sought out a book that matches them. The transfer of digital data from computer to computer does not, for some reason, carry the emotional resonance of the gift of a physical book. Paperback books make excellent Christmas presents and paperback books from less well known authors suggest you’ve given your gift more thought than just a quick check on the Best Sellers shelf.

All my historical novels are available in paperback as well as in e-book format, though Amazon can sometimes hide them away. If the paperback edition doesn’t show up, try adding “paperback” to your search. If all else fails, let me know about the problem (try mentioning it in the ‘Comments’ here) and I will track down the link.

My latest, Dark Magic should be available in paperback next week (technical glitches notwithstanding), giving you plenty of opportunity to get it in time for Christmas. It’s a short book, which people often appreciate in a gift, and early reviews suggest that some people, at least, enjoy the rather dark humour of this supernatural thriller.

So there you are: your Christmas gift problems solved and it’s barely November. Buy a book for yourself and give others to your friends. And keep a couple spare, for those last-minute gifts.  And remember, a book is for life, not just for Christmas.

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