Q&A with Melissa at Literary Book Gifts

I have something a little different on What Cathy Read Next today as my guest is Melissa, owner of online shop Literary Book Gifts.

As regular followers of my blog will know, I mainly feature book reviews with the occasional author interview, guest post or book extract; I generally don’t do any type of promotional feature.  However, when Melissa contacted me and I looked at some of the products on the Literary Book Gifts website, I was delighted to make an exception.  After all, second only to actual books, us bookworms love anything book-related, don’t we?

Please note: I have no commercial relationship with Literary Book Gifts and received no payment or products in exchange for this feature on my blog.  Any queries about products or shipping should be directed to Literary Book Gifts.

Melissa Literary Book GiftsWelcome, Melissa!  Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, about Literary Book Gifts and why you decided to start up the business?

My name is Melissa, and I am from the beautiful city of Toronto, Ontario. I have always harboured a deep love for literature and stories.

I’ve never really been able to find clothing that suited my personal style. At face value this always seemed rather unimportant. But over the years I came to realize that self expression is a key part of the human experience, in the very same way that tastes for specific novels between individuals differ. So I combined my love of reading with my background in design to create Literary Book Gifts.

What is the typical process from initial design idea to finished product?

It really differs for each product. Sometimes very old book covers are available that I think already look great for a shirt design. In this case I process them into graphics that will print properly. Depending on the condition of the book cover, this process of remastering and editing can take anywhere from an afternoon of retouching to many days.

In most cases, the book covers available do not fit very well with what I have in mind for the collection. In this case I scour unrelated very old books and their illustrations for images. This process is hit and miss and sometimes I pass on the title altogether until I can find what I am looking for. If I do find something I think is suitable I match it with typography and go through the same reprocessing to get it top notch and ready for the shirts and totes.

What legal restrictions, if any, are there over the images you can use on your products?

Yes, the images and titles themselves must be free to use. This really limits what is available as well as where I find them.

What has been the most challenging thing about setting up Literary Book Gifts?

Definitely the website, I am not very computer savvy so it was a big step for me to launch it as its own site. I’m learning a lot about websites every day; it’s challenging but quite interesting.

….and the most rewarding?

The most rewarding has definitely been some of the feedback I have heard. Right now it is only early stages but it amazes how a simple design can make someone so happy.

What’s the best-selling product from the Literary Book Gifts range?

Definitely the Jane Austen items, with the most popular being the Pride and Prejudice T-Shirt. The Jane Austen Tote Bag is also very popular.



What’s the best piece of customer feedback you’ve received?

That they love the shirt or bag!

If a friend was browsing Literary Book Gifts for a gift for you, what item would you hope they’d  choose?

I would hope they choose the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland T-Shirt and J. M. Barrie Peter Pan Tote Bag for me!


If we were to peek inside your own tote bag (and now we know it would be a Peter Pan one!), what personal favourite books or authors might we find?

I love Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger! And I am also a super fan of the Harry Potter series. One would also find a pair of headphones in my tote because the audio book versions of Harry Potter are some of my all time favourites.

What plans do you have for Literary Book Gifts in the next twelve months? For example, do you intend to add further products to your range?

This is a tough question! I really don’t know what the future will hold. There are a few more designs I’d love to add when I get a chance. In the far future I’d love for the designs to be available in scarves because I just know how cozy they feel!

If Melissa’s answers to my questions and the product examples above have tempted you to purchase, I’m delighted to say Melissa is offering an exclusive promotional discount.  Just enter the code WHATCATHYREADNEXT20 to receive 20% off anything in the store.  There’s no minimum spend or expiry date.

Happy shopping at Literary Book Gifts!

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