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Fun & Inexpensive Gifts to Send to Your Bookish Pen Pals

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Laura Sackton

Senior Contributor

Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You can catch her on Instagram shouting about the queer books she loves and sharing photos of the walks she takes in the hills of Western Mass (while listening to audiobooks, of course).

One of my favorite things about Bookstagram (among many favorite things) is the excuse it gives me to send books and letters to my bookish internet pals. Sometimes I pass along ARCs or books I’ve finished but don’t feel the need to keep. Sometimes I just send mail for fun — because who doesn’t love a snail mail pick-me-up? There is something extremely satisfying about sending (or receiving) an envelope from an internet friend. I chat about books with people from all over the world, and I doubt I’ll ever meet most of them in person, but an international stamp only costs $1.50, and letters allow us to connect in a different way.

A letter itself is always a delight, but a letter with a little gift tucked inside — a sticker, a bookmark, a pretty postcard — is even better. Whether I’m sending a note to say hey, or passing along a book I think someone is going to love, I like to include a little something extra. So here are 10 ideas for fun, simple, and inexpensive extras to send to all your bookish pals. Tuck in some stationery to make it easy for them to write back, some stickers, patches and pins for them to wear, or useful bookish accessories like pencils and tabs.

A small stack of lined notecards with an open book in one corner and a smiling tea cup in the other.

Who doesn’t love getting stationery in the mail? Send your pen pals some cards of their own so they can write you back! These sweet tea and books notecards come in packs of 30, so you can send them to lots of friends. $5

Six postcards with art of people reading, in subdued colors. Quotes about books and reading are superimposed over the art, such as: "Books provide a journey into a world of possibilities."

Postcards are another super fun thing to send in a letter! I love this pack of readers postcards from Bookishly. They feature lovely illustrations and quotes from readers about why they love books. This is the most expensive item on the list, but it’s a pack of 12, so it’ll last you a while! $15

A sticker of a stack of colorful books with flowers on top, and the words Read Books in a cursive script.

Stickers are my favorite thing to send in the mail. This Read Books sticker is simple and to the point. It’s substantial enough to feel like a nice gift but not too pricey! $3

Three sticker sheets featuring earth-toned stickers of open books, books and plants, pens, reading glasses, and book stacks.

Another sticker option: sticker sheets! You can send a whole sheet to your favorite pen pal, or you can do what I do: cut the sheets up and send a few stickers to lots of people! This bundle comes with four sticker sheets full of cozy book and flower stickers. $12

Two black bookmarks on some newsprint surrounded by green vines. Each bookmark shows half a white heart, with a person reading a book sitting inside, and the words 'Book Besties".

Let your bookish pen pal know how much you appreciate them with a charming Bookish Besties bookmark! They come in sets of two, so you can even keep one for yourself. $7

Small teardrop-shaped earrings with a design of colorful bookshelves.

Earrings are small enough to mail in an envelope and make a great birthday gift for all the jewelry lovers in your life! Step up your pen pal game with these simple and relatively inexpensive teardrop book earrings. $10

A selection of packs of pastel stick tabs, with cute drawings of animals, food, and cartoon creatures.

What book lover doesn’t love getting tabs in the mail? These sweet pastel book tabs come in an array of shapes and designs — animals, foods, flowers, desserts. They’re colorful and fun (I would be so delighted to open a letter and find these) and useful — the perfect pen pal gift. $3

A hand holding up a set of five pastel pencils in a field of white flowers. Each has a book-related slogan printed on it.

Another fun gift for the annotating readers in your life — bookish pencils! These pastel pencils each have a book-related slogan printed on them, i.e. “Just one more chapter” and “Eat, Sleep, Read, Repeat.” They come in handy packs of five, so you can send one to all your bookish friends! $9

A pile of several small rectangular patches, in different color stitching, with the slogan, "I put my book down to be here."

Are iron-on patches still a thing? I honestly don’t care, and I want to put this very relatable “I put my book down to be here” patch on everything! They come in a range of colors. $2-5

A small, pale blue, book-shaped pin with the words Book Worm on the cover and a blue heart on the spine.

There are seemingly endless bookish enamel pins out there! I like this book worm pin; simple and to the point. Plus, it’s small enough that it won’t affect the postage when you go to mail your letter. $11

Now that you have all these fun gifts to send to your bookish pals, you might want some stationery! Check out this bookish stationery and these sweet letter writing kits.