An excellent question from Kate Ward of Shelf Life in regards to gift-giving etiquette:
“Is it possible to feel good about spending $20 for a book that you despise but know your loved one will devour?”
For me, it depends upon where the profits from the purchase are going. If my loved one has asked for a copy of Virginia Woolf’s TO THE LIGHTHOUSE or Edith Wharton’s ETHAN FROME, two novels that I despise, I would have no reservation about plunking down $20 for the gift. While Woolf and Wharton are unlikely to receive any share of the profit (since both are dead), the profits would eventually find their way into the pockets of the authors’ estates or to the publisher who purchased the rights to the books.
However, if it’s a book by someone like Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, two individuals who would not choose to support under any circumstances, this would be a more difficult, and perhaps impossible, proposition. In this case, I might instead purchase them a copy of TO THE LIGHTHOUSE or ETHAN FROME (or maybe even both), explaining to my loved one that if it is Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin that they want, these two early twentieth century novels might serve as suitable replacements.
As much as I despise them, they can’t be any worse than a ghost-written copy of GOING ROGUE or Glenn Beck’s ruination of Thomas Paine’s perfectly good title, COMMON SENSE.