my bookish gift guide: aka support small businesses this holiday season!

Don’t know what to get the book-lover in your life? Luckily for you I’ve put together this list of recommendations! I’ve tried to ensure that most of my recommendations support small businesses and presses – we gotta support local businesses, y’all! (Also, I live in the UK so the majority of these businesses will be based here.)



  1. 3 of Cups

I am a huge fan of this small press, so I wanted to make sure that I included them in this list! They are a micropublisher dedicated to providing a platform for voices otherwise heard in the mainstream. For example, they are dedicated to publishing disabled and queer authors.

These are the books that they’ve published so far, all of which are collections of essays by various authors:

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So far I’ve only read On Anxiety, but I thought it was an incredible book! And while I understand that not everyone is as enthusiastic about essays and anthologies as I am, I’d really encourage you to help support this small and incredibly inclusive press. If you want to learn more about 3 of Cups, you can read my interview with them here.


2. The Emma Press

Why not give someone the gift of poetry?

The Emma Press is an independent publisher specialising in poetryshort fiction and children’s books. They are a BAME-led, feminist, radical organisation, keen on making poetry, publishing and literature as welcoming and accessible as possible.

I have a bit of a soft spot for The Emma Press because they’re based in Birmingham, which is where I used to live! It’s so rare to get publishers outside of London, so I really want to help support them. Some of their books that I find particularly interesting are Second Place Rosette: Poems About Britain and Poacher.


3. Unbound

I actually cannot express to you how much I love Unbound. They’re a publisher that crowdfunds their books – this allows them to publish books about quite esoteric topics! I’ve personally helped fund Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers, A Curious History of Sex, and The Pyjama Myth: The Freelance Writer’s Survival Guide. (And while all of my crowdfunded books are nonfiction, they also publish fiction too.)

I think that this could be a really cool gift, because not only could you just buy one of Unbound’s books, you could also help crowdfund a book on somebody else’s behalf. This means that their name would be published at the back of the book as a supporter! (Let me tell you, it’s really cool to look through the list of names and find your own!) Some of the books that are currently being crowdfunded include:

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Subscription boxes:

  1. The Queer Book Box is a subscription box that sends a queer book to you every month! I’ve personally used this subscription box before, and I really like it! They only send out books, so you won’t get any little bits from books or fandoms that you’re not interested in. They also support other small queer businesses:

We source our books from Gay’s The Word, the UK’s only lesbian and gay book shop. Serving the community since 1979, the shop boasts stocking “an enormous range of books from the profound to the frivolous, from the liberating to the indulgent.”

So by subscribing with us you’re supporting not one, but two queer-owned, independently run businesses. Nice, right?


2. Mr B’s Reading Subscription

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that I’ve included this particular subscription on my list – I talk about how much I love Mr B’s all the time! On their website they explain:

A reading subscription begins with a simple questionnaire about your reading tastes which can be completed online, by email or phone. Or, if you live near enough to our shop in Bath, then you can pop in and chat with one of the Mr B’s team.

Once we know what you like to read we’ll appoint one of our booksellers to be your bibliotherapist. They will then hand-pick and post out to you a beautifully wrapped book at the beginning of each month.

I can personally attest that the booksellers are incredible at picking out books that suit your interests and that you’ve never heard of! Some of my favourite authors, such as Kirsty Logan, were first recommended to me when I had my own consultation at Mr B’s.

And even though Mr B’s is a small independent bookshop in the UK, they ship internationally!


3. Bird & Blend

OK, so this isn’t actually a book subscription box, but I absolutely had to include Bird & Blend on my list. (And it’s a commonly accepted fact that bookish people love hot drinks!) They are a tea company that I have supported for at least three years now, because I absolutely love their tea subscription service. Every month you get three new packets of tea, each of which makes 10 cups. Pretty much every month is themed, too! In the summer I’ve been sent fruity teas and teas based on cocktails, and in the colder months they send holiday exclusives.

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I really love Bird & Blend because their teas are really different to any other company I’ve tried. (And believe me, I’ve tried a lot.) While they do offer blends such as Great British Cuppa, they also have really interesting flavours such as Dark Choc Chilli Chai, Rhubarb & Custard, and Ice Cream Matcha.


Small bits and pieces: 

  1. Fable & Black

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with collecting cute enamel pins this last year – and when I discovered Fable & Black I knew I had hit the motherlode! Their super adorable pins are beautifully hand-made to order – and they ship internationally!

They also have a pin club in collaboration with Illumicrate. When you subscribe, you’ll receive an exclusive enamel pin inspired by the featured fandom of the month. And if you’re not sold on these as gifts (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be), they also sell book-inspired stationery, bookmarks, badges, coasters, and a lot of other things!


2. PretAGeek

I don’t know about you, but I love a good candle. And PretAGeek makes amazing ones! They’re all hand-poured soy wax candles that are sent in recyclable packaging. And let’s not get me started on how they smell… Some of the main book-related candles include The Library, Buttered Beer, and Avid Reader, but I’d really recommend taking a gander through their shop, as there are lots of different candles relating to Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and many other classics.

They’re also offering special Christmas scents right now, such as Christmas at Pemberley.


What presents will you be getting for your favourite book lover? Let me know!

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