Market Watch reveals that Barnes & Noble’s list of suggested gifts for this Christmas includes only one book. Odd for what we think of as a large chain bookseller, but perhaps not altogether out of line with the preferences of the general public. The list is:

Gifts of “Comfort”:

  •  Black and White Houndstooth Long Reading Socks.
  •  Grey Heather Long Reading Socks.
  •  Black Heather Short Reading Socks.
  •  Grey and White Houndstooth Short Reading Socks.
  •  Flannel Seattle Puff Floppy Hat with Pom Pom.
  •  Flannel Seattle Puff Mittens.
  •  LapGear Designer Tablet Pillow – Plaid.
  •  Lilac Ash Seattle Puff Mittens.
  •  Lilac Ash Seattle Puff Snood.

Gifts of a “Magnolia Home”:

  •  “Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave,” by Joanna Gaines.
  •  Magnolia Home Gather Mini Tin.
  •  Magnolia Home Love Diffuser.

Gifts of “Creativity”:

  •  Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera Holiday Bundle.
  •  Original Buddha Board.

Gifts of “Festivity”:

  •  Blue Tote with Book Tree.
  •  Green Tote with Metallic Birch Trees.
  •  White Tote with Cardinals.
  •  White Tote with Snowman.

Gifts of “Tech”:

  •  Google Home Mini.
  •  Google Mini Mickey Mouse Speaker Mount.

Before we get too scandalized we should reflect on the fact that this single book represents an increase in book content over last year’s list.

I am aghast to note that though I count myself as a big reader I don’t own a single pair of reading socks, of any color! How have I been managing? NYRB’s Reader’s Catalog also offers socks, somewhat more literary in fact, but not pushed as reading socks. Are they missing a marketing opportunity?

On the other hand, let it also be said in fairness to Barnes & Noble that a few minutes of dedicated noodling around their website has failed to discover this list. There are just too many gift lists, chock full of boring old books, getting in the way. Here’s a page of 108 gift lists to ease your holiday gift giving choices. Those reading socks may be located in “Cozy Gifts” if any of you think that reading socks will up your literary throughput. Furthermore B&N’s commitment to books can be shown by their discounting 100 of them by 50% as reported by BookRiot, who pick up on Publishers Weekly.

Also, let it be said, we commentators constantly urge bookstores to widen their offerings to include items with wider margins and it really doesn’t behoove us to turn around and mock them about the results. Sorry B&N.

And let it further be said that it does seem B&N’s stock has rallied a bit recently, partly it’s true as a consequence of sale rumors. (That possible purchaser cold-shouldered by Mr Parneros, is said to have been in fact British chain W. H. Smith.)