Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Discussions: Gift Card Giveaways

This past couple of weeks, I've been gaining a lot of new followers (hello new followers, you are loved! So are all my old ones for that matter) because I've had a million and one giveaways going on and participated in a blog hop. This is something I used to do all the time but don't do so often anymore. During my time in participating in the blog hop, I went down EVERY SINGLE blog and saw what they were giving away. But you know what, I do more than that.

A hop will take me several days to get through because I don't just check out what the blog is is giving away. I check out what type of blog I've stumbled across. Do we read the same sort of stuff? Would I gain new knowledge or glean anything from this person's reviews? If the answer is yes, I will follow them. If the answer is yes but I already have the book they are offering up for the giveaway, you know what? I will follow them.

What I'm getting at here is I really love these giveaway blog hops not because I can win something. I love them because I'm able to find new blogs that are passionate about reading and writing and books the way that I am. That's a gift all on it's own. But here is one of my biggest pet peeves:

  • I hate it when a blog offers up a gift card.
But Amber, I did that! I want you to get what you want. 

My response is that I appreciate that. But you know what I really want? To know a little bit about you and what you love by the books you are giving away. Why not even offer me some suggestions on what I could spend that gift card on? Or show me choices and be willing to trade in for other things along that lines. 

I'm not saying that I resent people for offering gift cards or I am ungrateful. I'm just saying that it makes it a little harder for me to get to know you when I'm blog hopping and I WANT to know you. Seeing what you want me to get, what you are excited about, makes me excited too.

Because the truth of the matter is that your giveaway will end but your posts and thoughts and ideas will be fresh on my blogger dashboard every morning. I won't even remember what you gave away. But I will remember that you're the girl with the unicorn layout that made me smile and the one with the dead-on reviews. So tell me a bit about you while I'm dropping in by giving away books you love or are looking forward to!

I'm sure some of you think this is silly but I'd love to know, what are your thoughts on gift card giveaways? Do you see any positives to them or do you feel the same as me?


  1. This is a double edged sword for me. I do a fair amount of giveaways. Usually a few books each month, often for some theme or another. And what I find is that I am often picking the same books, and often have the same people entering the giveaways.

    I worry that I don't look like my blog is 'progressing' fast enough since I often am not reading the newest thing out there. I started a lot of series that have been out for a while and since I don't want to bore my readers with back to back reviews of them, and I review as I go, I don't get to zip through things as fast as I'd like.

    When I offer a book in a series, I do always state that if someone would prefer a different book from that series -- or potentially even by that author -- that I am happy to oblige them.

    It also depends on the type of giveaway I am doing. Sometimes I do one for a very specific book and it's to promote that author, and then I won't be dealing with a giftcard. But sometimes the theme of a giveaway or event can be more ... (trying to think of the word I want) ... accepting of one.

    My current giveaway event has people doing post about their favorite book boy / commenting about him on my blog. In this situation, giving people a book of their choice from Book Depository just seems like the better solution, since I am asking them who they like rather then telling them who I like.

    But I'm also doing a giveaway for my birthday, and I think you just helped me decide the prizes. I already wanted to give away a copy of Graffiti Moon since it's releasing on the 14th and I love it, and the other book I'll do will be the one I do *my* Valentines post about.

    Thanks so much for the great topic!

  2. I get your point. I like when someone offers a gift card as a giveaway but also gives suggestions as to what they think others might enjoy. Sometimes I discover books that I forgot about or hadn't heard of yet, that sound interesting.
    When someone offers suggestions it helps me to see just how close are reading tastes are.
    Great discussion!

  3. true i love when bloggers speak about books they love but i think the giveaway post can be about one book and the giveaway a gift card because sometimes it's the only way to give the opportunity to international followers to enter

    For me see if the blogger think about all of his readers/followers is also very important

    so no problem with me^^

    all the best

  4. Personally...I have NEVER entered a contest that has given away a gift card. I go straight to the contests with the books. I can not explain why this is..I know I can buy a book with the card, any book I want, but I feel giving me a book is more personal, something they picked out, took thought into choosing to give away. As for when I run contests- when I first started I gave away gift cards, mostly because I thought " what if they dont like the book..what if they already have the book.." Now I tend to go for the books in my giveaways, once again, its just a more personal thing, I have taken the time to think about what I want to give away, put more thought into it.Will I stop giving away gift cards? No, I still will throw one in occasionally, there are some people out there that like them, but mostly you will find books on my giveaways and if your giving away books in a can bet my name will be on the list !

  5. My favorite giveaways are the gift cards! I usually browse around to see what the blog is about, what the person is reading or reviewing, but I have a wishlist that is almost as large as my TBR pile.

    If anyone is looking for favorite reads, I have a whole page (or 6) of my favorite authors. I have top reads of 2011, I have top reads for some previous years. I have genre reads, I have...a lot of books. :>) So if you ever stop by my blog and want to know what I'm reading or what I recommend, just ask. Be more than happy to drown you with book discussions. Or yanno, if you garden or have a cat, we can talk about those too. :>)

  6. So I get why people like them but I don't. I get more excited about entering to win a certain book! I try to offer a couple to choose from so as not to limit but I'm not a fan of gift card giveaways. I will admit I've done a couple.


  7. I do love gift card giveaways because there are burning books that I really want to win but can't seem to win.. so with a gift card, I can just request a specific book and i'm good :)

  8. I really like gift cards because sometimes you see the same books being given away, or the same types of books, and there are so many OTHER books I'd like to get. Plus, if it's an amazon card, you aren't limited to books. I have a ton to read already, so it's hard to always be buying new ones that I can't read right away.

    I can see why you woudln't like them though. Personal book giveaways are great. I love hearing about a book that someone LOVES, but I don't think all giveaways are about that anyway, so it's hard to tell.


  9. I prefer gift card/Book Depository giveaways. But that is because I am based in Australia and these are the ones I can usually enter.

    Very often I'll see a giveaway listed for a particular book, one that I'd love to read, so I head over only to find it's only available to those in US/Can because of shipping costs.

    Now that's totally understandable as postage can be really expensive, but it is always a disappointment. At least with a giftcard/book of your choice giveaway, I can then choose to get that book I really wanted on the other giveaway.

    That's why my giveaways tend to be 'book of your choice' or an e-book copy of one of my books - that way I can open it to everyone and not just those in Australia.

  10. I always give away books, but that's just because I can't afford gift cards. I already have the books. I prefer to win gift cards. Okay, that's not really true. I don't care if it's a book or a gift card. LOL But I do love winning gift cards. I rarely buy new books, so I just bank the gift card until I come across an ebook or sometimes a used book, that I want. I never consider spending them right away, so I don't worry about suggestions for a book. It's interesting to know that some people don't like to enter for gift cards, though.

  11. Very well said. It's the reason I don't give gift cards for holiday or birthday presents because there's nothing personal about them. Just handing over a GC doesn't require any thought and likewise, doesn't show any thought put into the present or the person. Kinda the same in the book blogosphere--I follow bloggers to get recommendations of what new books are worth the read, not because I can win stuff. That's what the lotto is for.


  12. Your Shifting q and a was very interesting. I especially liked the "pen/pencil" question because I've often thought about why I always, always use a pencil. I don't think it's because I lack confidence in my responses but more that I have a need to have perfect looking answers.

  13. Of all the gift card giveaways out there, I've only entered two, and they were for Barnes and Noble gift cards. I've got a Nook, so it's hard to pass up giveaways that will increase my Nook Book collection. But, as a general rule, I avoid gift card giveaways. I head for the book giveaways because it seems a little more personal, and it seems like more thought was put into it.

    Also, those blog hops are dangerous for me! Of course I spend all the time entering the giveaways, but like you I actually take the time to check out the site. I usually end up adding like 10+ new blogs to my Google Reader with each new blog hop. And there are loads of blog hops throughout the year. My Google Reader subscription list is pretty much never ending. I love it!

    - Jackie

  14. Personally I like gift cards... Like some of the others my wishlist is just as long as my TBR list!! ALso sometimes with a $10 GC I can get 10 books on Amazon instead of just one that someone picked out... I think one of the suggestions about recommending books along with the card is a great idea!!

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