Washington, DC

Bookish Gifts for a DC-Proud Mom

Claire Handscombe

Mother's Day is coming up fast, but don't panic! You've still got time to get your mom the perfect gift, and support Small Business Week at the same time. If the mom you are treating is a reader, she'll love one of these options from DC independent bookstores.

A surprise pack from East City Bookshop

from the East City Bookshop website

ECB is offering a bundle that consists of a book and a small batch of locally handmade chocolates. You choose the book from a selection of three, so you get to personalise the gifts without drowning in options. The last date for shipping has passed, but you -- or the mom you're buying for -- will be able to pick up the gift in person if you order it by May 4!

An audiobook subscription

Libro fm marketing materials

Libro.fm is just like any other audiobook company, with one crucial difference: it profit shares with independent bookshops. When you buy your mom a gift subscription, she'll get one credit a month to get the audiobook of her choice, and she'll be able to choose which DC-area bookstore to support!

A grab bag from Capitol Hill Books

There are a lot of books out there, and it can be hard to choose just the right one. So why not let the pros do the choosing? The used bookstore -- and DC institution -- Capitol Hill Books offers a service where you let them know a few things about the person, and they pick out a pile of books to send to the recipient.

A t-shirt to cheerlead for East City Bookshop

Bonfire website

East City Bookshop is proudly women-owned, and they have a limited edition tshirt to prove it! It is available to order online until May 10.

An entire bookstore to herself!

Capitol Hill Books has been closed to browsers during the pandemic, but for a $15 deposit, two customers can book an hour long slot to look around the store. This little shop is crowded and bustling in normal times, so it's a great chance to take your time without having to weave around other customers.

A Book and Wine Subscripton from Kramers

Image from Unsplash

For a gift that keeps on bringing joy month after month, why not try a books and wine subscription from Kramers? There are several different pricing options available for pickup only, with 1-2 books and 1-4 bottles of wine available per month, and you can choose from a variety of genres, and let them know if the mom you're buying for prefers red, white, or rosé, or likes to be adventurous! There's a tailor-made three-month gift option if that's all too much choice, too.

And if coffee is more her thing, there's an option for that, too, available for shopping or pickup.

A Mug from Politics and Prose

from Politics and Prose website

And, of course, she'll need something to drink that coffee in (or that wine -- it's 2021, after all, anything goes!). Why not add a Politics & Prose mug to that bundle? It's a satisfyingly chunky diner mug, featuring their logo and the common refrain of "so many books so little time".

A Personal Shopping Experience

Nobody knows books better or loves them more than East City Bookshop's buyer, Emilie. For a $50 deposit, the mom in your life can spend half an hour with her soaking up that expertise and enthusiasm and getting personalised recomendations.

A Leap of Faith Box from Loyalty Books

Loyalty Books website

Part of the mission of Loyalty Books is to lift up authors from marginalised communities and make sure excellent books get the attention they deserve. Each quarter, they will send the mom in your life a book they absolutely loved by a BIPOC, Queer, or Disabled writer, along with other fun items in line with the theme of the book. Or, for $50, you can buy the box from last winter and last fall.

A Gift Card from Solid State Books

Solid State gift card

And, of course, who doesn't love to open a card and find money for books in there? All the DC area bookstores have gift card options, and they're a great way to support a small business, especially one that can't be open for browing at the moment.


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Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC, in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but really, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a monthly show about news and views from UK books and publishing; the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan; and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.

Washington, DC

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