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Sustainable Bookish Goods to Gift This Holiday Season

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Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

I’m just as susceptible as anyone to cute bookish goodies — stickers, enamel pins, T-shirts, mugs! I want it all. It’s really easy to accumulate all of this stuff, especially the more inexpensive things, because it speaks to our literary inclinations or because it’s especially clever or pretty. And I get it — I love supporting creatives, and scrolling through Etsy can have such a soothing effect. But at a certain point, I have started to look around my house and think, Wow, I really don’t need any more of this stuff.

I don’t want to shame anyone for their consumption, but it’s always worthwhile to stop and think, Am I buying this because I need it or can use it, or am I buying it because I just like it? And sometimes buying things because they make you happy is legit! We also, I think, have a collective responsibility to be more mindful about our consumption and how it affects our planet. And while no one person can reverse the effects of climate change, we can all make more mindful choices that encourage a culture of mindful consumption and creative reuse. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds — bookish and sustainable, literary and useful — then here is a small list of some bookish goods and gifting accoutrement that fit the bill!

Literary Goods to Help You Reduce Your Footprint

Library Embosser ($23): For those who love the idea of bookplates, here is a classy alternative that doesn’t use extra paper, adhesive, or packaging! This embosser can be customized, and you’ll get way more uses out of it than you would a package of 100 bookplates!

A white page wooing an embossed stamp that reads "from the library of ________" and an open book with flowers

Insulated Water Canteen ($23): It’s pretty, and it’ll help you reduce the amount of disposable water bottles you use!

A blue insulated water canteen with an open book and flowers blooming out of it.

All Booked Up Shopper ($7): Bookish tote bags are an obvious solution to plastic waste from grocery stores to library runs, and there are thousands of options out there perfect for all sorts of loads you might want to carry beyond books. We love this one from Blue Q because it’s spacious and made from 95% recycled products!

a large ressemble tote bag with scenes of people reading in various environments

Reusable Bookish Gift Wrap ($29): Give the gift of books year-round, but make the wrap reusable! This is really fun because you can encourage the recipient to reuse the wrap and even jump on the reusable wrap train!

bookish cloth used as wrapping paper

Book Page Gift Bows ($10): Gift bows add such a nice finishing touch to a warped gift, but you know more often than not we just pull them off and toss them. If you want bows that are made of recycled book pages (and that are easily recyclable! some municipalities won’t recycle the shiny plastic coated paper that these ribbons are traditionally made from!) then these are perfect!

a pile of gift bows made out of old book pages

Bookish Wet Bag ($19): Wet bags and reusable bags are so very handy (perfect in the kitchen, on the go, for stashing in kids’ bags, and using as makeup or toiletry bags) and this cute one in bookish print comes in all sorts of sizes and configurations!

a zippered bag in open book print

Upcycled Bookish Goods

Reclaimed Wooden Bookshelf ($600): Looking for a showstopper of a gift? This bookshelf was crafted out of salvaged wood from old pianos!

a dark wooden three shelf bookshelf.

To Be Continued Spoon Bookmark ($18): What a clever way to upcycle old spoons!

An old spoon hammered into a bookmark that reads "to be continued"

Book Sculpture ($80): This is a pretty piece of artwork, and it makes clever use of an old book!

An old book opened to a sculpture of florals made of old pages.

Upcycled Where the Wild Things Are Ornament ($14): If you love this Maurice Sendak classic, snag a one-of-a-kind ornament made from pages of a retired copy!

flat wooden ornament decorated with pages from Where the Wild Things Are

Looking for more bookish goods for this gifting season?