I'm wasn't going to look at mini tablet computers in this posting, but if your budget does stretch that far then I guess the choice is between the iPad Mini, the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7. The Apple's the most costly choice out of the three, but you probably knew that already. It's getting mixed reviews, largely because its screen is 'only as good as the iPad 2 screen', the screen on arguably the most popular variant of the full sized tablet. My view is that is if the recipient is already embedded in Apple technology then this has to be a contender. After that its between the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7. Google have just raised the bar by upping the memory to 32Gb on their flagship model, but pricewise these two devices are running neck and neck. Behind them is the Nook HD with only 8Gb of memory and an almost unknown market presence in this country. For those prepared to tough it out until Christmas Eve you may find the Nook being discounted. Of course, if you're spending this kind of money you may want to make sure the gift can be returned in the case of multiple tablets being bought for the same person - in the UK most high street retailers will issue a gift receipt that will allow the recipient to return the item for a full refund until mid January.
For dedicated eReading devices the choices are bewildering. As I pointed out in a recent blog entry, dedicated eReaders are past their peak, being usurped by the rise of the multi-tasking tablets. However, right now, there are so many new models on sale in the UK it is inconceivable that some of these won't be discounted. So if your in the market to buy one for someone, waiting is probably as smart as it gets. They're not going to run out and they're not going to rise in price. Choose a price point and stick with it, but be prepared to shop around the various brands. Unlike tablets, the dedicated eReaders tend to be stuck to one eBook store, although most use the same format of book (EPUB) which is readily available through Smashwords, as are Kindle format books. Again, gift receipts might be a good idea in case of duplication.
If your gift options don't run to a bit of technology then consider vouchers. Apple do them for the iBook store (strictly for anything on iTunes, but if the recipient is a reader then perhaps it will be used for your intended purpose). Amazon also do vouchers, which like the iTunes vouchers can be bought in stores around the country or can be downloaded to your own computer for you to print off. Add a fancy card, a nice message and your shopping is done. The only limitation with this is that the voucher can be used against any Amazon purchase - or put another way, against anything that can be bought on this planet. So don't get too excited if your intention is to persuade your recipient to download that book you've been raving about.
If you do want to gift 'that book' then you could try Smashwords - they have a gifting option, read about it here. The only downside I can see with the Smashwords version is that the gift will be emailed to the recipient the second you pay, but I guess you can do it on Christmas day. If you're stuck for books to gift, may I suggest you cast your eyes to the top of the this page - all six books are listed on Smashwords and are currently $0.99 each in my December promotion.
If eBooks are too radical for the target of your generosity then print books are still available and, heck, may be for a few years more. Just don't let anyone know I said that. Again, all those books at the top of this blog are available from your local Amazon outlet and are printed to order. Better be quick, though, because it can take a couple of days from placing an order to Amazon and the Post Office getting it to your front door. I don't think Amazon supply gift receipts, but trust me on this one, I doubt your present will be duplicated (I've seen the Amazon sales figures for my books!).
Enjoy the holidays.
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