Monday, November 21st, 2011

SantaThing 2011: Play secret Santa to a book lover!

It’s time to announce the fifth annual SantaThing!

What is SantaThing, you ask? SantaThing is Secret Santa for LibraryThing members. Go ahead and sign up now.

The idea is simple. You pay into the SantaThing system—this year $10, $15, $20, $25 or $30. You play Santa to a LibraryThing member we pick for you*, and choose books for them, based on their LibraryThing library and a short description. Someone else (secret!) does the same for you. LibraryThing does the ordering, and you get the joy of giving AND receiving books!

You can sign up as many times as you like. You can sign up for yourself or for someone else. If you sign up for someone without a LibraryThing account, make sure to mention what kinds of books they’d like, so their Secret Santa can choose wisely.

Even if you don’t want to be a Santa, you can help by suggesting books for others.

A peppermint twist to the plot. Like just about every year, we’ve decided to make some tweaks to the SantaThing process. For the first time we’re allowing members to choose how much they pay in. Choose to pay $15, for example, and someone will pick $15 worth of books for you. Choose $30, and someone will pick $30 worth of books for you.

If you choose the $10, $15, $20, or $25 options, you can choose to have your books picked and sent from Powell’s Books, Harvard Book Store or BookDepository ships to the most number of countries (see the full list), and they have free shipping on orders of any size!**

If you select the $30 option, you can also choose to have your books come from or its national subsidiaries (, .ca, .de, .fr). Restricting Amazon to the $30 option was necessary because LibraryThing can’t otherwise get free shipping unless the gift totals $25 or more.***

Note that you don’t need to factor in shipping. There’s also no profit “cushion” built into this for us, although we expect under-orders to pay for situations where the shipping isn’t free. We do this for fun, not money.

Important dates:

  • Sign-ups close Thursday, December 1 at 4pm Eastern time. Once the sign-up closes, you’ll be able to use the same page to pick for your Santa.
  • Picking closes Thursday, December 8th at 4pm Eastern time. As soon as the picking ends, the ordering begins, and we’ll get all the books out to you as soon as we can. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have books to you by December 25th, but we’re going to do our best!

Go sign up to become a Secret Santa now!

Questions? Ask them in this Talk topic.

*We match members based on the contents of their catalog, thereby matching you with a Secret Santa you share tastes with. In theory. No guarantees.
**All the time! Go check them out—their prices are often as low as other online booksellers, and the free worldwide shipping with no minimum order is the absolute icing on the cake.
***The problem is that Amazon’s free shipping starts at $25, especially since they won’t let us use our Prime account. We considered making everyone pay $30 and then “splitting” the order—so everyone would get and give to two people (see the Talk thread debating what to do). But there were obstacles. $15 is a lousy target on Amazon, and if the total of the gifts was below $25, we’d end up paying full price for it. Abby came up with the solution—$30 for Amazon, $10-30 for everyone else.

Labels: santathing, secret santa


Leave a Reply