Buying Guide: How To Shop For A Writer This Holiday Season


The gift-giving season is upon us! If you're not done shopping yet, and you've got a writer in your life, we're here to help! 

Here's a list of gifts that any writer would love. They come in a variety of price ranges, to compensate for how wealthy/cheap you may be, but most importantly, they are thoughtful, useful gifts that any writer would appreciate. (For example, I am a writer, and I would appreciate anything on this list. So there's your proof!)

Cheap (but still cool) gifts

Moleskine notebooks

These are the hardest of the hardcore when it comes to notebooks, a thing I'm constantly buying, and a gift I'd love to receive since I need a new one every few months. Pro-tip: If the receiver has a preference, try to find out what it is. Moleskine's come in a wide variety of shapes and styles.


Good pens

Writers get excited about pens (weirdos), which means this is a cheap-o gift that actually carries some real weight. Extra points if you do a little snooping and find out exactly what kind of pen they prefer. For example, I heart Uni-Ball Vision Stick Roller Ball Pens, fine point, in black. 


Gift cards

A Staples gift card will let me buy all the supplies I've convinced myself I need, and will never use, but will be happy to have. A Starbucks gift card will be exciting for people who write at Starbucks. A bookstore gift card is just always a very awesome gift. 


A pound of good coffee

To a writer, a pound of coffee is like a pound of heroin to a junkie. We thrive on this stuff. So it makes a very thoughtful and practical gift! Just don't get Starbucks, which tastes like burnt dirt. Spring for something nice. Yes, there is a difference. 


Literary clothing

We are all nerds at heart, and nerds wear shirts like this. What better way to say that you're well-read than to wear A Clockwork Orange on your chest? They come with an added bonus: The feeling of superiority you get every time someone asks, 'What does that shirt mean?'

Visit Out of Print Clothing!


Mid-range (but incredibly useful) gifts


You can buy an ad-supported Kindle for $79 (and there are even hacks to get rid of the ads). This is for your writer friend who hasn't made the digital plunge. The Kindle is a solid piece of hardware, easy to operate, and this model is almost approaching "impulse buy" territory. They won't even feel bad if they break it!



This a poster on which there is the entire text of a classic novel. I repeat: THIS IS A POSTER ON WHICH THERE IS THE ENTIRE TEXT OF A FREAKING NOVEL. Over at Postertext you can choose from such gems as The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick and, as pictured here, Crime and Punishment.

Visit Postertext!


Literary magazine subscription

This will remind them of you every time a new issue shows up. This is another instance where it doesn't hurt to do some snooping to find out what they're into--I would swoon over a subscription to a crime fiction mag. 

Here's a link to a lot of great literary magazines!



This turns a section of your wall into a dry-erase board. And it is snazzy. Just be careful about the fumes. This stuff reeks, and five minutes into painting, a dinosaur in a Batman costume showed up in my office. Awkward

Learn more about IdeaPaint!


Nice bottle of booze

This only works if your intended target is a drinker. But if they're a writer, they probably are! Expensive booze makes us feel fancy as we're sitting in our boxers at 3 a.m., dotting the latest draft of our novel with tears of frustration. I'll take a cask-strength Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey.


Expensive (but awesome) gifts

Awesome coffee maker

A coffee maker with a built-in grinder and a timer is probably one of the coolest things a coffee drinker can get. Having a delicious pot of coffee ready when you wake up? You can't buy that kind of love. Unless you buy this coffee maker, in which case you just did. 


Noise-cancelling headphones

Great for blocking out external noise so you can concentrate. Also great for flying (on planes). Noise-cancelling headphones can be pretty expensive, but I swear by this model: JVC HANC250. They're not terribly expensive, they sound great, and I've had them for about five years without a glitch.


iPad with wireless keyboard

It's slim, easy to carry, and if you're just going to be drafting out some work, you can hook up the keyboard, go to town, and stow it away when you're not using it. I fell in love with my iPad all over again while traveling through Europe for two weeks. Not as powerful as a laptop, but it doesn't need to be.


Firing range session

Yes, you heard me. It's great research. Any writer who's going to write about guns should fire one at least once. Plus, firing an AR-15 assault rifle at a zombie target is great for blowing off steam, especially when the rejection letters pile up! (Be prepared to spend a few hundred bucks, and for it to be very worth it).

Here's a guide to gun safety so you can't sue us!


Adjustable height desk

Apparently sitting too long will kill you. And who sits longer than writers? I know I can't sit for too long before I get antsy and have to stand up. An adjustable-height desk will switch back and forth with ease, so you can keep working if you feel the need to stretch out a little.

Visit GeekDesk!


To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.


James Storie's picture
James Storie from Alabama is reading The Fireman December 16, 2011 - 8:22am

This is a great list of items!

NotMarilyn's picture
NotMarilyn from Twin Cities, MN is reading Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn December 16, 2011 - 8:44am

Awesome list! I'd be ecstatic to get any of these items.

vic_vega66's picture
vic_vega66 from Over there and to the right a bit December 16, 2011 - 8:45am

Yup, I want all of those with the exception of the trip to the firing range, guns aren't my thing. I have a fetish for pens, notebooks and stationary. My own pen has a cow on the end of it that shoots snot out of its nose *nods* writers are strange. Swop the coffee maker and coffee for some good tea, I drink gallons of it and that's my gift list.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. December 16, 2011 - 8:55am

Those textposters are awesome.

I want the H. G. Wells and the Lewis Carroll ones.

Razvan Teodor Coloja's picture
Razvan Teodor Coloja December 16, 2011 - 9:19am

The eReader is always a good idea, but those posters are simply incredible.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts December 16, 2011 - 9:33am

or you can get them The Growler, a gallon hip flask

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind December 16, 2011 - 10:37am

I think inspirational posters are a good idea, too. So that when we despair over how talentless we are, we can look up and see something that gives us strength.

.'s picture
. December 16, 2011 - 12:23pm

When did writers start getting stereotyped? Probably a long time ago...

Great list. Especially the idea paint so you can look like a crazy person. I'd like a Keurig one shot coffee maker though. But damn, how can you beat a built in grinder? Every time I walk into a hippie coffee shop, someone usually has A Clock Work Orange shirt on.

J.S. Wright's picture
J.S. Wright from Milwaukee is reading Black Spring December 16, 2011 - 1:01pm

Sadly, those posters are only made using a portion of the book.  For example Ulysses' first 8 chapters make it up.

But!  It's still a really good idea.

m1r0k0v's picture
m1r0k0v from Nebraska is reading Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes December 16, 2011 - 8:13pm

Although not very exciting, a comfy chair is also pretty nice idea. Since I sit for a long time at my desk when I write, comfort is really important.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs December 18, 2011 - 4:35pm

I want those headphones. I use cheap ones from a hardware store that construction workers wear. They're not that good at blocking out noise and pretty uncomfortable due to their bulkiness.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz December 18, 2011 - 9:37pm

I want that Frankenstein Postertext (just in case Santa is online).

Had to laugh at the firing range thing. I just got a pass to this place:

Threat Dynamics

Fun article.

johnmiller2017's picture
johnmiller2017 January 30, 2017 - 6:05am

Great tips. I actually did some of these during the holiday shopping season.