Sustainable ways to buy books as gifts (or for yourself!)

Image on the left shows a gift wrapped in Reader's Delight gift wrap which features books, teacups and cupcakes with a twine ribbon wrapped around it. Image on the right shows the book Sustainable(ish) by Jen Gale


World Book Day takes place on 2nd March 2023. World Book Day is a charity in the UK and Ireland that sets out to see more children, from all backgrounds, developing a life-long habit of reading for pleasure, benefiting from the improved life chances this brings them.

According to World Book Day reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income.

With the power to transport us to other worlds, build empathy for others and learn about things beyond our own experience, books make excellent gifts for children and adults alike.

While buying new books from Amazon and other retailers can feel unsustainable and decidedly un-eco, there are some options for buying books that are sustainable and reduce waste. And these eco-conscious books make great gifts all year round!

  1. Choose one of your own books to give as a gift

Great for the environment and great for the pocket, give a book that you already own. Perhaps it’s a book you’ve read and thought the recipient would enjoy, or a book you love that you highly recommend, or a book gifted to you that you can re-gift.

  1. Charity shops

Charity shops are great places to buy books from. Pop into your local charity shop or check out Oxfam’s collection of second-hand books online. Easy to order and easy to find a book you’re looking for.

  1. Give books from independent bookshops

If you’d like to buy a new book as a gift (or for yourself!) we highly recommend buying new books from your local bookshop instead of Amazon or bigger retailers. If you can’t get to a local bookshop, you can buy online from Hive, or Awesome Books.

Hive, supports independent high street bookshops in the UK. You can order books for delivery or click and collect from a bookshop of your choice. After you purchase you can choose a bookshop and they receive a percentage of the money you spent on the order. also works with independent bookshops, but across the globe. They give 30% commission to partner bookshops that you choose to buy from on their platform and 10% of all other sales are split across participating independent bookshops every month.

Founded in Reading, Berkshire AwesomeBooks divert books from landfill, ensuring no books go to waste. Books are either re-sold, donated via their literacy programs or pulped and turned into something new.

  1. Audiobooks and ebooks

We recently discovered Cornwall-based business xigxag. A certified B Corp, xigxag doesn’t require a subscription. Instead you can buy books and pay on a volume basis with prices starting at £7.99 per book and reducing from there with some £3.99 specials. You can gift specific books or buy vouchers, which makes giving books even easier. A feature we love is the x-book, unique to xigxag, you get the audio book and the ebook. Sign up and invite friends for perks for you both!

Our envelope gift wrapping hack is perfect for giving an audiobook or ebook. We always recommend our fabulous Reader’s Delight gift wrap. Perfect sustainable gift wrap for a sustainably bought book.