I don’t know about you, but, personally, the start of Christmas tends to put me in full-on battle mode. As much as I absolutely love the festive cheer and holiday parties, I can’t seem to truly enjoy all of it until I know that my shopping is done. There’s nothing like the thrill of watching someone you love open the perfect present you found for them, but getting to that point can be insanely hectic.Hotline-Banner-Home

As of earlier this year, I now have a grand total of 3 nephews and 1 niece. And being the bookish auntie that I am, I’ve spent the past few years gifting books to my family’s next generation (and thankfully, they love it). But here’s my problem. I have no kids of my own, and I don’t live nearly close enough to my siblings’ families as I’d like. So, every year the question is, what kind of book do they want? Leave it to a group of penguins to come to my rescue.

During this time of year, Penguin Publishing hosts an online hotline for your book gifting needs. All you have to do is go to their site and submit a request that includes as much information as you’d like (i.e. the receiver’s age and likes). Below you’ll find the few questions required with my own answers for my nephew.

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Unlike most gift suggestions, this is not a random generator that connects buzz words and sends you on your way. When you submit your request, it is handled individually by an actual person — a marketer, editor, publicist, etc. — that works at Penguin. Sure, this does slow down the process a bit, but it gives it that personal touch that the holidays are all about. I think that this process would actually prevent you from potentially choosing a dud because your request is going through people who are reading these books and not just trying to sell them to you.

After about 24 hours, I received an email with recommendations for my nephew (below). The email is short and to the point but also personable and cute. I love that I got a number of options that all sound like something my nephew would love reading and that even I would love reading to him. I will definitely be looking up all of these suggestions.

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What I really love about this system is that Penguin is looking beyond their own publishing and will give you recommendations from anywhere! This could have been a fantastic opportunity to boost their own sales, but it isn’t about that. It’s about getting the right book into your loved one’s hands. It’s about sharing the joy of reading. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the holidays! The hotline ends December 21, so get your requests in soon!

Happy holidays and happy reading!

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