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SantaThing

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Every year, from mid-November to early December, LibraryThing runs SantaThing—a Secret Santa program for book lovers.

Sign-ups for SantaThing 2017 are now OPEN. They will close Monday, December 4th, at 12pm EST.

Contents

How it works

1) Sign up

Members sign up to become a Secret Santa for another LT member. You can sign up for yourself, or for a friend or family member (regardless of LibraryThing membership status). You must have a LibraryThing account (which is free) to participate. You can register for a LibraryThing account here.

2) Name your price

Members pick a price point, ranging from $15-$50, in $5 increments, and will have that amount's worth of books sent to them. Paying $30 gets you $30 worth of books. LibraryThing takes no cut. However, certain stores have minimum amounts that must be met in order to get free shipping. Amazon.com, for example, grants free shipping with orders of $25 or more. Members who pay in at the $25 level and pick Amazon as their store will get $20 worth of books, to cover shipping costs. See Store Specifics below, for more details.

3) Pick a store

You get to choose which bookseller you would like to support by participating in SantaThing. Store options have varied a bit from year to year. For SantaThing 2017, the stores available are Print in Portland, ME, Amazon (and its international stores), Powell's, Book Depository, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Nook, and Audible.

4) Pick some books

LibraryThing chooses another member to be your "Santee,"—the person you'll be picking books for. They try to match members with similar reading tastes. You'll browse the online store selected by your Santee, and pick books for them, based on their SantaThing profile, library, and wishlist. The limit is whatever they paid—there is no fee on top.

5) LibraryThing places your order

LibraryThing places the order to the store, and books are shipped directly to the Santee. Only LibraryThing and the bookseller see mailing addresses. LibraryThing tries to place orders in time for holiday shipping deadlines, and will let you know if there's a delay on your SantaThing gifts.

Who can participate?

Anyone from anywhere can do this. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we can only ship to countries on this list without extra permission.

Gift-giving advice

  • Avoid choices that might offend your Santee. When in doubt, pick something else.
  • When picking books, use "The Price is Right" rule. Get as close as you can to the total without going over.
  • If you are signing up for someone other than yourself, please make sure they know that books are coming to them. Use your own judgement, but know that some people don't like surprises.
  • Do not order items that are out of stock or where the stock level is uncertain. We cannot order pre-order books.
  • Do not select used books from Powell's or Amazon—it's not that LT has anything against used books, but there's no way to guarantee prices. Always base your selections on the pricing for new copies.
  • So long as your Santee has a public SantaThing profile, other LT members can offer suggestions in the form of comments on this profile, which can be very helpful.
  • Feel free to ask other Santas for advice. Once SantaThing is up and running, we'll have a lively Talk thread in which members can post for help, commentary, and general merriment.

Saving your picks

Once you've selected books for your Santee, be sure to fill out your Santee's profile with your choices. To do this, head over to your Santee's SantaThing profile, and copy/paste the ISBN, link where you found the book (to Amazon, Powell's, Book Depository's site), Title, and Price in the appropriate blanks. PLEASE be sure to include the titles of your picks. This goes a long way toward ensuring that we're ordering the right books for your Santee.

Note: It does not matter whether you use the 10-digit or 13-digit ISBN. Either will work just fine. For ebooks, please enter the ASIN in place of an ISBN.

Each SantaThing profile has 5 slots in which you can save ISBNs or ASINs for your choices for your Santee. If your Santee's budget has room for more than 5 books, please post the ISBNs or ASINs for any extra books as a comment on their SantaThing profile. LT staff will make sure they are purchased for your Santee, as well.

Once you've clicked "Save Choices" on your Santee's SantaThing profile, the page will refresh. You can confirm that your choices have been saved by heading over to the main SantaThing page, and looking for a green checkmark next to your Santee's name. The green checkmark indicates that you have successfully picked and saved books for your Santee.

Exchange rates 2017

If your Santee is outside the US, you'll need to take the exchange rate into consideration. Here are some rough calculations you can use to estimate. These are all approximate.

  • USD/AUD

$50=65, $45=58, $40=52, $35=45, $30=39, $25=32, $20=26, $15=19, $10=13

  • US/Canadian Dollars

$50=63, $45=57, $40=50, $35=44, $30=38, $25=31, $20=25, $15=19, $10=12

  • USD/Euros

$50=43, $45=38, $40=34, $35=30, $30=25, $25=21, $20=17, $15=12, $10=8

  • USD/GBP

$50=38, $45=34, $40=30, $35=26, $30=22, $25=19, $20=15, $15=11, $10=7

Store specifics 2017

You can select any of the following stores at all price points, $15, $20, $25, $30, $35, $40, $45, and $50. As indicated below, certain stores offer free shipping across the board, while others do not, or only offer free shipping above a certain price point. LT staff adjust the budgets on SantaThing profiles to reflect this. In all cases, if your Santee's store and price point combination needs extra room for shipping costs, the budget will simply be less $5 than what the Santee paid in.

  • Book Depository: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.
  • Print: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.
  • Powell's: All orders will have $5 less in their budget, to cover shipping.
  • Barnes & Noble: Orders of $25 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders of $30 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books..
  • Amazon.com: Orders of $25 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders of $30 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.co.uk: Orders of $10 will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders of $15 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.ca: Orders of $25 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $30 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.fr: Orders $30 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $35 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.de: Orders $30 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $35 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.es: Orders $20 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $25 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon.it: Orders $30 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $35 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Walmart: Orders $35 or lower will have $5 less in their budget to work with. Orders $40 or higher will get exactly what they pay in books.
  • Amazon Kindle Only: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.
  • iBooks: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.
  • Barnes & Noble Nook: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.
  • Audible: All Santees will get exactly what they've paid in.

Shipping deadlines

Different stores have different shipping deadlines in order to guarantee arrival by Dec. 24th. We'll do our best to meet them, but some are beyond our scheduling abilities. If timeliness is a concern, you may want to take a look at the deadlines for your area in choosing your store.

  • Book Depository [1]
  • Powell's: not yet posted.
  • Print does not have their shipping deadlines online, but all their orders should arrive in plenty of time.
  • Amazon.com: Not yet posted.
  • Amazon.co.uk: Not yet posted.
  • Amazon.fr: Not yet posted.
  • Amazon.ca: Not yet posted.
  • Amazon.de: Not yet posted.
  • Amazon.es: Not yet posted.
  • Barnes & Noble: [2]
  • Walmart: Not yet posted.

Kindle only option

In years past, we've only been able to extend the option to receive Kindle ebooks for SantaThing to our US members. In 2014, this changed. You can now select to receive your books via the Kindle store on Amazon.com only. If your Kindle is registered to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, or any of the other Amazon national subsidiaries, you cannot receive Kindle books. Your Kindle can also only be registered through one Amazon site, so, if it is already registered to Amazon.co.uk, you cannot go and register it to Amazon.com for SantaThing.

This is because Amazon.com is the only Amazon site that allows us to send gifts of specific Kindle books, rather than just a gift certificate. Unfortunately, this also means that we are unable to select translations or other non-English editions for Kindle books, as we can only place the Kindle orders through Amazon.com.

Similarly, we cannot mix and match print Barnes & Noble orders with Nook orders.

SantaThing arrivals

Each year, we map where our SantaThing gifts go, using Google maps. Once SantaThing orders have been placed, we'll ask you to report received gifts in a special talk topic.

Past arrivals maps

SantaThing 2016 Arrivals Map

SantaThing 2015 Arrivals Map

SantaThing 2014 Arrivals Map

SantaThing 2013 Arrivals Map

FAQ

  • Why can't I send the gift to my Santa myself?

Many members have privacy concerns about allowing a random person to know their personal address. There are probably legal issues too.

  • Will you guarantee that books will arrive by December 24?

No.

  • But will they?

They certainly should. That's why the dates are so early. If you choose Book Depository and live outside the UK, you may not receive your books before Christmas. Check the shipping deadlines above, under "Picking a store," for store-specific information.

  • Can I request ebooks?

If you choose Amazon.com (Kindle Only), Barnes & Noble Nook, or iBooks, yes. Please indicate your preference for ebooks by selecting one of those three as your store of choice, and make sure to include your email address in the sign-up form. Note: If you choose ebooks, you will only receive ebooks—no mixing and matching with paper copies.

  • Can I request LibraryThing swag instead of/in addition to books?

Sure! Just be sure to note this (and any sizing preferences, if you're requesting apparel) on your SantaThing profile in either the "About recipient's book tastes" or "Other notes" section. The LibraryThing Store is located here: http://www.librarything.com/more/store

  • What if I'm having trouble picking gifts for my Santee?

Just ask for some help! LT members are great at this. Your best bet is to post on the official SantaThing Talk post, asking for help with your Santee (and including a link to their SantaThing profile is a good idea, too). You should see some comments on your Santee's SantaThing profile very shortly.

  • Who has final say over the gifts?

LibraryThing has final and absolute say over the gifts. If someone doesn't pick a gift, the gift is too expensive or is plainly unsuitable, we reserve the right to step in and change it. We do not, however, acquire any duties in this regard. If you get something you didn't want, it is not our fault.

  • How does LibraryThing make money off this?

Basically, we don't. However, as most orders can't hit the dollar amount to the penny, we get the difference. We usually end up spending most of that on gift memberships, people who go a few pennies over, etc.

  • What if I am unhappy?

This is a gift program. You're giving someone a gift. That you also get a gift is true, but it's a gift. Gifts don't always turn out just as you want them to. Ultimately, that's part of the fun.

More help

Feel free to email your questions to LT staffer in charge of SantaThing, Loranne at loranne@librarything.com.

SantaThings Past

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