CNet’s Sharon Vaknin has a 3-minute video (embedded below) in which she covers some ways of giving e-books as gifts. While the process is pretty simple overall, it is interesting to see Vaknin present video of how it works.

Giving e-books as gifts with the Kindle or Nook is as easy as clicking on “Give As Gift” on the Kindle or B&N listing for the book. Both sites offer a time-delay feature in which you can choose a calendar date to have the e-book delivered. iBooks doesn’t permit e-book gifting, however, so all you can really do is send a gift certificate and a note telling the recipient how to use it—or else buy something from the Amazon or B&N site for them to use the Kindle or Nook iPad reader to view.

Vaknin does fall down at the end of the video, however, in which she says that Kobo sells EPUBs that are compatible with “almost every reader” and suggests an alternative is to buy an e-book from there, download it onto a flash drive, and give it to your friend. Last I checked, Kobo used Adobe DRM, so anyone who follows that bit of advice will be in for a surprise.

One e-book gifting method that Vaknin does not mention in her video is Smashwords’s system, which I find rather charming. Since Smashwords doesn’t DRM its e-books, its “gifting” system lets you choose to pay for multiple copies of a particular book, and then you can handle giving as many extra copies away as you paid for yourself—through e-mail, on flash drives, or whatever.

At any rate, some time ago I lamented that the major e-book stores didn’t allow you to gift e-books the way you could gift games through Steam. I’m pleased that, since then, both Amazon and B&N have remedied that defect.


  1. You can certainly give apps and music to other people from iTunes. Why not ebooks?

    For some strange reason, you can give apps and music from iTunes on a desktop system, but not from iTunes on a mobile device (including the iPad). Once you start using the iPad as your main computing device (as I have), it’s easy to see only the available features it has. I don’t know why this disparity in iTunes features exists, but it would be helpful to have it removed, and also applied to ebooks.

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