A friend of mine was out shopping with her 15 yo daughter. The daughter picked up a couple of books and remarked how she was going to get them for her 13 yo sister, but that she was “so reading them first”. The mom was disappointed because she had already purchased the same books to give the 15 yo for Christmas, and now the 15 yr old will have already read them.
I was more dismayed that the 15 yo would think it was acceptable to read books that she meant to give as gifts. My friend brought the idea up as a discussion at dinner that night and said that neither girl seemed think there was anything wrong with it as long as you didn’t damage the book in anyway, like cracking the spine.
I still think it’s not right. You don’t use someone’s present before you give it to them. What do you guys think?
Doesn’t seem wrong to me at all! If anything, I would be happy that someone else read a book before giving it to me, since it would indicate he is A) a wise steward of our limited resources, who eschews needless duplication, and B) actually qualified to recommend the book to me, since he knows what’s in it.
Not at all, and that is not what I mean. If it’s obviously a used book, then its a used book. But if you buy a new book at a book store, it seems wrong to me to “use” it then give it to them as if it were new.
For those of you who it it’s Ok, what if it was a sweater? If you buy someone a sweater for Christmas is it Ok to wear it once before you give it to them?
I’d totally read a book before giving it to my sister. This is because my sister and I have a long-standing agreement that this is an okay thing to do. (Though I do still tease her about the time she gave my birthday present to her boyfriend to read as well before I got it!) I think this has its roots in our childhood, where we’d go to the bookstore and sit around reading parts of books, careful not to break the spine.
I have a couple of other, very close friends with whom I talk about books a lot, where I’d probably feel comfortable doing that, although I’d ask them first. I’d also feel comfortable giving these particular friends books bought from a used bookstore or a used book sale. Most of my friends, however, I’d feel uncomfortable asking, and in that case I wouldn’t read a book I’d bought for them before giving it to them, or purchase an already-used book as a present.
I would also not wear a sweater once before giving it as a gift – unless it was my sister, in which case I might, although I’d clear it with her beforehand. (I’d be worried about messing it up, though – I’m much more careful with my books than with my sweaters.)
I wouldn’t personally wear a sweater and give it to someone because what if it was the wrong size? Now I’ve taken the tags off, plus I’ll have to wash it, so it might be damaged. But if someone gave me a used sweater and I liked it, what would I care if they’d worn it?
I wouldn’t because it wouldn’t appear new- the spine might be cracked, you might bend a page or spill coffee on it. It’s not mine to use- it belongs to the recipient, at least in my mind.
I only would give a used book if there was something special about it- a rare edition, a favorite book that you can’t find new, an edition from their childhood with the “right” cover art, etc. I wouldn’t give a used book as a gift otherwise. I know my husband is extremely sensitive to book mold and he’d get sick fom many used books ( which is why my old book collection sits behind glass now).
I wouldn’t do it. If it’s a paperback, it won’t be in new/mint condition. Even with hardcovers, you can often tell if a book’s been handled.
In the OP’s specific situation, the daughter is basically buying herself a gift. She’s being a little shit. There’s some pleasure in being the first to read and recommend a book, and she’s depriving her sister of that.
If it’s already an obviously used book, can you read it?
What if you don’t know if the person will like it, so you read it first to see if it’s even any good, and buy them a different book if it isn’t?
I’d rather read a decent book than a fresh one. If someone else reads it first, so much the better. Now I’ll have someone to discuss it with.
If it’s a book I want to read too, must I really purchase a separate copy so as not to be a “little shit”? Oh wait no, even reading my own personal copy in advance will deprive the recipient of some ethereal pleasure of firstness that every recipient is owed.
I don’t think you should use something first and then gift it. It’s really not more complicated than that. I’m sure I could think of rationalizations why it’s ok, but I don’t think it is. If I wasn’t sure it was a good book, or had no reason to think they’d like it, I wouldn’t buy it. I could borrow it after if I wanted to share the experience, or yes, get my own copy.
That’s great that it might not bother you, but if I’m gift-giving I’m going to err on the side of caution unless I know they won’t be bothered by it.
I wouldn’t do it. Seems a scabby sort of way to give a present. My son was reading a book he really enjoyed but had to take it back to the library. He knew it was the sort of book I’d like, so he bought it for me for Mothers’ Day. I read it and gave it to him to read. I’d have been somewhat disappointed in him if he’d read it first.