A Book Apart

The ABA Holiday Gift Guide

Oct 14, 2022

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Blurred image of a stack of colorful books with words overlayed. They read ABA Holiday Gift Guide.

Delivery drivers are working harder than ever. To meet free two-day shipping guarantees, we’ve seen them sprinting through pelting rain and providing service long after the sun sets. We're grateful for their labor, and while many of us can't forgo delivery services, some of us might be able to lessen the load a bit.

This holiday season, we’re shopping early, local, and small. Without the constraints of immediate delivery, we (and you!) have expansive options for thoughtful, distinctive gifts, created by wonderful artists, real business owners, and fellow community members.

So this October, we’re sharing a gift guide to help you plan and order ahead. We hope you’ll discover a delightful gift on our list, or be inspired to explore your own local businesses. And no matter where you shop, always thank your delivery folks!




We polled ABA authors and staff for their favorite small shops and noteworthy business owners. Browse their gift selections here!

🌙 CEO and author Katel LeDû highly recommends her favorite artist’s moon calendar (forthcoming for 2023). This year’s calendar was such a beauty, she framed it! For a Philadelphia-themed gift, she also recommends the Philly Tarot Deck.

👩‍🍳 Women-owned small shop Rare Bird Preserves in Oak Park, IL, ships the most delicious passionfruit curd. Our marketing specialist Brittany loves this quaint little shop, and insists you add the vanilla scone mix to your cart, too.

✊ Support better, safer and more equitable workplaces by checking out the Amazon Labor Union’s merch shop. Hat tip to author Ethan Marcotte for highlighting a great way to put our money where our mouth is.

🏺 Author Eva PenzeyMoog can’t help but tell you about the shop owned by her friend and talented ceramicist, Jessica Egan! Little Fire Ceramics creates ethereal hanging planters, mugs, vases, and bowls. Based in Milwaukee, WI, the shop ships nationwide and is stocked in small plant stores in Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, and more.

🧀 For another Wisconsin favorite, check out Wisconsin Cheese Mart, highly recommended by upcoming author Leon Barnard. You can’t go wrong with cranberry white cheddar cheese, and, while you’re at it, grab some caramels and hickory sticks.

🔮 Go a little bit witchy this year with this recommendation from author Karen McGrane: snag yourself (or a friend) a Magic of I print or journal. Don’t miss out on their astrological planner for 2023—this year is mycology-themed and the illustrations are stunning.

💍 Browse beautiful and unique jewelry from Catbird, made with almost entirely recycled gold and diamonds. And since they give back a percentage of all sales, supporting this women-led business is a decision you can feel good about this holiday season.

🌹 Author Lisa Maria Marquis suggests supporting independent artist Radical Emprints. The shop writes, typesets, and letterpress prints all kinds of fierce, beautiful words, with a mission to nourish organizers and keep them invested in community work for the long haul.

🤔 No idea what to get? Try a small shop that does all the work for you! Suggest a few key phrases to the lovely folks at Anthology Madison, a paper and craft store in Wisconsin, and they’ll package up a selection of items that match your theme. Hooray for making the holidays easy!


If you’re looking for book-ish gifts, we suggest supporting independently owned publishers and bookstores in your community. A few gems for your gifting consideration:

📖 For friends and colleagues who design, write, and code, take a look at our own library here at A Book Apart. Stay up to date with recent release, Inclusive Design Communities, or pick a time-tested bestseller like Design Is a Job—the brand-new second edition is available for preorder next week.

📕 BOOK/SHOP is a design-minded concept shop offering objects, events, and experiences related to books and the reading experience. This Tell Me What You Are Reading is the perfect conversation-starter for any book lover in your life.

📘 Yu and Me Books is one of the very few indie bookstores that focuses specifically on immigrant and diasporic literature. Drop by their cozy store on Mulberry Street in New York City, and keep an eye out for author Preston So.

📙 Black Pearl Books in Austin, TX, is committed to promoting diversity, inclusion, equality and cultural awareness, and is a favorite of author Sameera Kapila.

📚 For any other book you might want to read or gift this year, we highly recommend checking out Bookshop.org. This certified B-Corporation lives up to its slogan of “a better way to buy books online,” and they’re on a mission to help local, independent bookstores thrive in the age of ecommerce.