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Author Topic: Reading gift books before giving them  (Read 46503 times)

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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2010, 12:06:39 PM »
I think the only problem here is that it sounds like she's giving it away under the pretense of a new book that she bought for the recipient. That's now what it is. It's a book that was hers, that she read, that she is now giving away.

I love used books, and that's exactly what this is. It's also giving something that was her own. As long as she tells people that this is what she is doing, and I'm guessing she doesn't tell them, then she would be fine in my book.

But I don't think this is what she is doing? I think she is buying the book as a gift, and then taking the opportunity to read it first. Then, if she likes it, she can buy her own copy. I would have no problem with that, as either giver or recipient. I think it is a bit precious to be over concerned with it, TBH. This is, of course, as long as the book is in good condition, no ripped stained pages, etc.

I was under the impression the point was to avoid buying the book for herself. She gets the benefits of the book  and the "credit" for giving a gift. More she picks a book she would buy for herself anyway then gives it away as a way to spend less, is that right OP? I should note that I give anyway books all the time I just don't call them gifts. I rather have a friend go to the used book sale and select one for me that was 10 cents then go to a book store and buy one for $25 because they want to read it and then call it a birthday gift. I buy my husband books all the time we have the same taste I almost always wait for him to read them first , if he's being slow about starting a book I ask him to read it.

TBH, I still don't see a problem. Nobody is entitled to a gift, used or new. I realise that all e-hellions' points of view are from the giver, not the recipient, but I think to suggest that there are certain rules around giving gifts-they have to be new, the giver isn't allowed to get any milage out of them, etc.,  negates the entire spirit of gift giving. So what if someone's read it first? Does that make it any less of a gift? The whole mentality seems to smack of consumption for its own sake, and style over substance. Unless the book is torn or dirty, I really, truly don't see a problem. I do this allllllllllll the time, and I don't think that the practice is remotely rude.

How is it consumptions for consumptions sake when I'm advocating buying a used book. I do agree that it differers from a dress though , but not the way you think ,a dress can be worn 20,30 ,100 times a book may only be read once by a person after one wearing I  still have 19+ more uses in a dress after reading a book I may be completely done with it. Many read books are ready for garage sales after only one reading, by reading once I'm completely used the book for my purposes. As far as substance goes if I find  at a thrift store the missing piece of china you inherited from your grandma I thinks that a great gift the new set that was just perfect for my Thankgiving re-boxed for your Christmas gift not so much. I chose the gift for my personal use not for the giftee, the purpose of the "gift" was to save me from buying my own set. There is a different between " I want" and "she/he/they will want" I want shouldn't be part of the equation in gift giving.

I agree that if the gift aspect of the item is its secondary purpose (as in your china example) then that is not so good. But let's turn your example on its head, and say that I bought a full set of china for someone (unlikely, let's say a large plate). There is the plate, all beautiful. You'll love it when you get it, and I bought it for you.  But I decide, perhaps on the spur of the moment, to carefully take it from it's box, use it to serve T'giving dinner (moot, as I'm British, but nevermind). I then clean it and  dry it, very carefully, repackage it, and wrap it in pretty Xmas paper, for you. Rude? Tacky? I'm not seeing it, and if someone gave me the impression that it was, they would be freed from the burden of ever recieving a gift from me again.
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Fluffy Cat

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2010, 12:10:28 PM »
I don't think its acceptable in most cases.  I did it once when I was in middle school.  :-[
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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2010, 12:12:27 PM »
I don't think its acceptable in most cases.  I did it once when I was in middle school.  :-[

Again, why not? And why the blushing smilie? I have done this many times, and am yet to be convinced by a logical argument for why it is wrong.
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gollymolly2

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2010, 12:30:06 PM »
To work off your plate/china example:

Certainly you would not go to a friend's house and take their china or books or dress or whatever for your own use (without asking, at least).  Because that china/book/dress belongs to your friend, and it's not yours to use without permission.  I think once you buy someone a gift, that gift becomes theirs, even if you haven't had occasion to give it to them yet.  So if I buy my a girlfriend a present on Monday, and her birthday party isn't until Friday, that gift isn't mine to use from Monday to Friday, it belongs to her. 

That's how I feel about books.  I'm perfectly comfortable buying a book for myself, reading it, and then passing it along to Susie because I think she'll like it.  But I'm not comfortable buying a book for Susie and then saying "well I may as well use it myself until I give it to her."

shhh its me

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2010, 12:35:37 PM »
To work off your plate/china example:

Certainly you would not go to a friend's house and take their china or books or dress or whatever for your own use (without asking, at least).  Because that china/book/dress belongs to your friend, and it's not yours to use without permission.  I think once you buy someone a gift, that gift becomes theirs, even if you haven't had occasion to give it to them yet.  So if I buy my a girlfriend a present on Monday, and her birthday party isn't until Friday, that gift isn't mine to use from Monday to Friday, it belongs to her. 

That's how I feel about books.  I'm perfectly comfortable buying a book for myself, reading it, and then passing it along to Susie because I think she'll like it.  But I'm not comfortable buying a book for Susie and then saying "well I may as well use it myself until I give it to her."
This , if I ever did co-opt a gift I would buy a new one to replace it and keep the one I used.

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2010, 12:38:16 PM »
To work off your plate/china example:

Certainly you would not go to a friend's house and take their china or books or dress or whatever for your own use (without asking, at least).  Because that china/book/dress belongs to your friend, and it's not yours to use without permission.  I think once you buy someone a gift, that gift becomes theirs, even if you haven't had occasion to give it to them yet.  So if I buy my a girlfriend a present on Monday, and her birthday party isn't until Friday, that gift isn't mine to use from Monday to Friday, it belongs to her. 

That's how I feel about books.  I'm perfectly comfortable buying a book for myself, reading it, and then passing it along to Susie because I think she'll like it.  But I'm not comfortable buying a book for Susie and then saying "well I may as well use it myself until I give it to her."

Well, if that's your feeling, then you muct act by it. I think that this is one of those 'agree to disagree' situations. I do not see taking something in your friend's house to be even remotely similar to using her gift before giving it, beacuse the way I see it, the gift is not hers until it is actually in her property. It was your money that bought it, so it is yours. What if you fell out with her the day before you were due to give it? Is it still hers? People are talking of ungiven gifts as if they were the property of the giftee. In my opinion, this is not the case.
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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #36 on: October 03, 2010, 12:40:33 PM »
To work off your plate/china example:

Certainly you would not go to a friend's house and take their china or books or dress or whatever for your own use (without asking, at least).  Because that china/book/dress belongs to your friend, and it's not yours to use without permission.  I think once you buy someone a gift, that gift becomes theirs, even if you haven't had occasion to give it to them yet.  So if I buy my a girlfriend a present on Monday, and her birthday party isn't until Friday, that gift isn't mine to use from Monday to Friday, it belongs to her. 

That's how I feel about books.  I'm perfectly comfortable buying a book for myself, reading it, and then passing it along to Susie because I think she'll like it.  But I'm not comfortable buying a book for Susie and then saying "well I may as well use it myself until I give it to her."
This , if I ever did co-opt a gift I would buy a new one to replace it and keep the one I used.

And this is what I don't understand. Why spend money twice? It is still the same plate, or book, or item of jewellery. The only exception would be clothing or shoes, or earrings.
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Hushabye

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #37 on: October 03, 2010, 12:50:31 PM »
My MIL has gifted me with books from her bookshelves on several occasions.  I'm sure they've been read before, but they're fantastic books; being read didn't make them any less of a gift in my eyes. 

I really see this issue as more of a case of personal preference than anything else.

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #38 on: October 03, 2010, 12:55:50 PM »
My MIL has gifted me with books from her bookshelves on several occasions.  I'm sure they've been read before, but they're fantastic books; being read didn't make them any less of a gift in my eyes. 

I really see this issue as more of a case of personal preference than anything else.

Total POD, especially to the last line. I don't think that either side is right or wrong, it's just about preference as you say. The only reason that I'm arguing it persistently is that I strongly disagree with it being labelled rude, when it is a matter of preference. Not that anyone has used that word, but some seem so strongly against it that I wonder if they do think it rude.
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Brentwood

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #39 on: October 03, 2010, 12:58:50 PM »
I purposely don't read books before I give them to the reipient (exception, children). If I do, I wonder if I'm buying it for myself, or because they really want it. Plus, I feel like I'm then giving them one of my old books, rather than a new one just for them. I don't think you have to buy them a new book- I always check half price books for a "new" version before paying full price, but I feel like it should be new-to-them AND me, and not a castoff.

I guess I just don't undestand that. Why should it matter? As long as the book is clean, there really shouldn't be a problem.

Well...look at it this way. I buy a sweater to give my friend for her birthday. I like the sweater too, so I wear it once or twice before I give it to her. I make sure it's clean and still new-looking when I give it to her, and she'll never be able to tell I wore it.

Somehow that just doesn't seem right to me.

I say this as a lover of used books. I would have no problem buying used books as gifts. I buy them for myself all the time. It's just that if I bought a book specifically to give to a friend as a gift and then used it myself first, I'd feel as if I actually bought it for myself and was giving it to my friend only when I'd finished using it. I wouldn't then feel as if I were really giving her a gift - just leftovers.

ydpubs

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2010, 01:02:14 PM »
I keep my books in pristine condition. If you looked at my bookshelf you would think the books (if I purchased them brand new and uninjured) had never ever been read even though I've read them all at least once and many of them multiple times.

I've never read a book before I gave them as a gift, but if I had read it, no one would ever be able to tell I had. I do not see the big, huge deal in reading a book before it is given and I certainly would not be offended if someone had done so before they had given me a book. There is no correlation between doing this and going in to someone's home and using their stuff, it is not the same at all.
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Brentwood

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2010, 01:03:36 PM »
I give away books all the time but never as an "official" gift.  To me, it's like buying a new dress for a friend's birthday and wearing it to an event before giving it to her.  That's not a gift, that's a hand me down*.  We all know the famous quote "It's the thought that counts" and I want my gift to be 100% about the giftee.  If I want to read the book, I will get my own copy or go to the library.

*I love hand me downs and am greatful for them.  I just don't want it disguised as a gift.

I think that there is  a difference between a dress and a book. If one has worn a dress, then it has to be cleaned before giving, and that somehow takes the 'sheen' off it. To be honest though, I am a little disturbed by the 'it's not a gift, it's a hand me down'? Can it not be both? Again, noone is entitled to a new gift. It might be nicer to get one, but a gift is not a right.

Yes, it can be both, but rose red's point was that if she did this, she would feel like she'd made the gift about her rather than the person she was giving it too.

I used the clothes analogy too (apologies to rose red - didn't see her post first). Wearing a dress would take the "sheen" off of it, yes. If one has purchased a new book, reading it also takes of the "sheen." It doesn't make either item less useful or enjoyable, but for some people it does make a subtle difference.

I'm not saying anyone is rude for giving a gift they've already used, but to me there's a big difference between giving a friend something I've already had and used and thought they would like and buying something specifically for them but deciding to use it myself first.

Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2010, 01:03:50 PM »
I purposely don't read books before I give them to the reipient (exception, children). If I do, I wonder if I'm buying it for myself, or because they really want it. Plus, I feel like I'm then giving them one of my old books, rather than a new one just for them. I don't think you have to buy them a new book- I always check half price books for a "new" version before paying full price, but I feel like it should be new-to-them AND me, and not a castoff.

I guess I just don't undestand that. Why should it matter? As long as the book is clean, there really shouldn't be a problem.

Well...look at it this way. I buy a sweater to give my friend for her birthday. I like the sweater too, so I wear it once or twice before I give it to her. I make sure it's clean and still new-looking when I give it to her, and she'll never be able to tell I wore it.

Somehow that just doesn't seem right to me.

I say this as a lover of used books. I would have no problem buying used books as gifts. I buy them for myself all the time. It's just that if I bought a book specifically to give to a friend as a gift and then used it myself first, I'd feel as if I actually bought it for myself and was giving it to my friend only when I'd finished using it. I wouldn't then feel as if I were really giving her a gift - just leftovers.

Oh, if it doesn't seem right to you, you shouldn't do it! I'm afraid I got a bit carried away, arguing my point. I don't mean anyone whould do what they're uncomfortable with. It is just that I am not at all uncomfortable with it. I would most likely tell my friend wha I had done, and if I didn't it wouldn't be out of shame, but because it didn't occur to me. I suppose it all depends on your social circle.
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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2010, 01:06:10 PM »
I give away books all the time but never as an "official" gift.  To me, it's like buying a new dress for a friend's birthday and wearing it to an event before giving it to her.  That's not a gift, that's a hand me down*.  We all know the famous quote "It's the thought that counts" and I want my gift to be 100% about the giftee.  If I want to read the book, I will get my own copy or go to the library.

*I love hand me downs and am greatful for them.  I just don't want it disguised as a gift.

I think that there is  a difference between a dress and a book. If one has worn a dress, then it has to be cleaned before giving, and that somehow takes the 'sheen' off it. To be honest though, I am a little disturbed by the 'it's not a gift, it's a hand me down'? Can it not be both? Again, noone is entitled to a new gift. It might be nicer to get one, but a gift is not a right.

Yes, it can be both, but rose red's point was that if she did this, she would feel like she'd made the gift about her rather than the person she was giving it too.

I used the clothes analogy too (apologies to rose red - didn't see her post first). Wearing a dress would take the "sheen" off of it, yes. If one has purchased a new book, reading it also takes of the "sheen." It doesn't make either item less useful or enjoyable, but for some people it does make a subtle difference.

I'm not saying anyone is rude for giving a gift they've already used, but to me there's a big difference between giving a friend something I've already had and used and thought they would like and buying something specifically for them but deciding to use it myself first.

I understand the difference, but my argument is that it does not alter the article from my friend's point of view. As long as the book is still prisitine, I have a huge difficulty in seeing the problem.
I have a thousand parents. Sadly they
Dissolve in their own virtues and recede.

Brentwood

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Re: Reading gift books before giving them
« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2010, 01:10:04 PM »

I understand the difference, but my argument is that it does not alter the article from my friend's point of view. As long as the book is still prisitine, I have a huge difficulty in seeing the problem.

I wouldn't even care if the book was still pristine (I would definitely buy gift books from a used bookstore, for example); I'd still have trouble with the idea that I actually bought something for myself and that giving it to my friend afterward was only a secondary purpose.

This is one of those discussions I particularly like, though, because there is no right or wrong answer. Lots of shades of gray!


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