Why you should care

Because these gifts show them how much you care about their book problem.

It’s an annual gift-giving dilemma: What to buy that friend who spends hours a day immersed in books, but reads titles so obscure they can only be ordered online from a used bookstore in Kentucky? Or that cousin you haven’t seen in years with a penchant for the parchment?

“Unless you really know someone’s literary taste and what books they already have, you should buy them a book accessory,” says Leigh Altshuler, director of communications at the Strand Book Store in New York. The store was founded in 1927, but it wasn’t until 1980 that it started selling book accessories — the first was a branded tote bag. (In 2017 alone, the Strand introduced 20 new tote bag designs.) These days people buy merchandise almost as frequently books, Altshuler says.

But finding the best book accessories isn’t easy. So we did a little digging, and came up with some faves.

Rubber Ducky, You Make Reading Lots of Fun ($4.60)

What’s better than getting sudsy with your rubber ducky? Reading and bathing with your literary rubber ducky. A bookish twist on the traditional yellow floating fowl, this plastic bath-time friend is quiet (no disturbing squeak) and comes with its own book.

If you need to abandon your book, it floats!

Take Your Book Swimming ($72)

If you’ve ever wondered how to get sudsy without also getting your book wet, YouBumi Waterproof Book Cover Bath Bag is the answer. It works like a blow-up pool toy — but before you blow it up, insert your book. It also comes with little thumb pockets, so you can turn or fold pages freely. Whether you’re chilling in a Jacuzzi or a kayak, this gadget will keep your reading material high and dry. The best part? If you need to abandon your book, the bath bag floats!

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The Classiest Book Stand ($14.99)

Even the most seasoned reader’s arms get tired after an hour or two — and craning your neck to read a book spread flat on a desk is bad for posture. This gorgeous and hyperfunctional book stand isn’t the cheapest on the market, but it’s classy and well-made. It also works for sheet music or your iPad — and is strong enough to support a textbook.

Bookend With a Sense of Humor ($18)

Most books are small, but this bookend — cheekily called “The End” — reminds us of their weightiness when it comes to the big ideas or storylines encased within. The silhouette of a small man about to be crushed by massive tomes adds the kind of drama and suspense that book nerds, especially those fans of noir or mystery, will love. Plus, it will help keep their favorites nicely organized.

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So You Can Write With Your Feet Too! ($10)

Who started the rumor that socks were bad gifts? These knee-high No. 2 pencil socks are perfect for writerly types, whether they’re getting cozy with a book or sitting down, pencil in hand, to write the next Great American Novel. The company also makes library-card socks.

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