Gift Lists & Ideas

A Sentimental Gift: Vintage Books Combine Beauty and Meaning to Make the Perfect Present

Best gifts for bookworms

Are you looking for a heartfelt and hand-picked present this holiday? Whether someone is already an enthusiastic collector or not, with a few search tips and unique ideas, you will find the perfect gift for everyone on your list in our inventory of over 100 million used, rare, and out-of-print books. This guide will help you find the perfect gift idea for the reader in your life and give intentionally this holiday season.

A sentimental gift: why vintage books make a great present

Vintage books combine beauty with meaning in the perfect sentimental gift. They are unique and pretty; the person who receives them will know how one-of-a-kind it is and how thoughtful you are. Shopping ‘used’ is also environmentally friendly and sustainable – recycling previously loved classics and preserving hard-to-find books for future generations.  

So how can you find the perfect vintage book set or a unique gift for the book lovers in your life? 

Playing around with different search terms, publishers, keywords, and years of publication using our ‘Advanced Search’ option will bring up many interesting finds and rare treasures specific to your taste and budget. 

Search for favorite authors and books

For avid readers, it is easy to browse by author or title and filter by the first edition, or signed copies using the ‘Advanced Search’ option. A signed first edition of a more recent book can be inexpensive (unless it’s Harry Potter) but it may go up in value as the years pass.

If the favorite is an older book, look for special limited or illustrated editions by famous artists, like Joyce’s Ulysses illustrated by Henri Matisse, or Jane Eyre illustrated by John H. Bacon

If you are buying for someone with children or grandchildren, a gift edition of their favorite childhood book will make a special present. One of the most incredible things about selling rare and out-of-print books is being able to link someone with a long-lost literary treasure. Using the search option and setting parameters around the year, title and cover: i.e., title: Wistful Unicorn, Publish Date between 1970 and 1986, check mark on “w/ Bookseller-supplied Photos,” helped me find an edition of a long forgotten book from my childhood for my sister. 

Signed copies

Unlike a regular retail bookstore, you can find treasured copies signed by the author on Biblio. Whether first edition or a later printing, a signed copy of a favorite book is a unique and memorable present. 

What’s the difference between ‘Signed’ and “Inscribed’?

While some people prefer an ‘inscribed‘ copy for the personalization aspect, a book signed to ‘Michael – July 1991″ and gifted to Deborah in December 2022 can sometimes taint some of the shine your special gift is intended to give. A ‘signed’ copy is often the better way to go. 

A note about authenticity: 

Most Biblio sellers are established and reputable rare booksellers. Booksellers that are members of professional bookseller associations such as the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America), the ABA (Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association), and ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) are proven to be highly educated, specialized, and held to strict codes of ethics regarding the sale of books. Buying books from sellers with memberships to such organizations ensures the quality of your purchase. 

Exploring their roots through food and drink: shop vintage cookbooks

The gift of a cookbook can be a welcome reminder of your gift recipient’s heritage and family. Taking a thoughtful interest in their individual story and upbringing lets them know you have been paying attention! Moments in the kitchen create our family stories, from cooking with Grandma to memories of home economics classes in high school; failed honeymoon recipes and the shared making of food, and sharing meals, is how many of us remember home.  

Vintage cookbooks like Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The Joy of Cooking, and Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook are all classic favorites, with multiple editions released through the years. 

You can also search keywords ‘cookbook’ and ‘signed’ ‘first edition,’ or enter a favorite chef’s name, like Alice Waters, to find specific treasures. 

Perhaps your loved one is also an oenophile? A great classic book about wine could be the perfect pairing for the holidays. If they are more of a cocktail connoisseur, there are many beautiful books about booze to choose from. 

Other hobbies and Interests

Sports, Photography, Bird-watching, Gardening, Beer, Art, Dogs, Golf, Medicine, Religion, Maps, History, Music – the breadth of interests human beings can hold is amazing. Browsing our Rare Book Rooms is a great way to find hidden gems in chosen areas of intrigue.

Places under their feet and in their heart

Are they frequent travelers, or do they have a particular place of interest they want to visit? A novel about the city they love, signed by the author, like a signed copy of Open City by Teju Cole, or The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, is a great gift. Also, for those struck with wanderlust, choose a gift edition of Bill Bryson, a vintage travel book by Isabella Bird, or check out these favorite travel books. 

Need more inspiration? Check out these unique gifts for book lovers:


Bookbinders Design: These incredible personalizable journals give your loved one blank pages to write their own story. This Swedish company also supplies beautiful storage boxes and leather accessories perfect for readers.

Know someone that loves the smell of old books (Biblichor)? Check out Powell’s unisex fragrance on their gifts page.

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