We live in the future—a glorious future wherein you can browse a catalog on a picture box, purchase items from merchants big and small, and have those items delivered to your doorstep all without the hassle of putting on pants. So why would you endanger your sanity or your life to battle with traffic, crowds, and surly store staff this week?
Maybe you’re too smart (or cowardly) to brave crowds to get movie-playing technology for 85% at an hour best used for sleeping or watching the Forever Comfy infomercial. Instead, you’re overwhelmed by options and stumped for ideas to fill your obligatory gift-giving duties. Major retailers and independent merchants are all clamoring for your attention and (more importantly) your dollars. You’re facing an onslaught of sales adverts for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Pre-Boxing Day Sales, Last Chance Xmas Sales, and What-if-the-Mayans-Are-Right-Do-You-Really-Want-to-Die-Without-Ever-Owning-a-Flat-Screen-TV Sales. So paralyzed are you by the noise of it all that you’ll wind up waiting until the last minute and be stuck giving someone a bottle of perfume that is dusty and sticky because it’s been on the back on the shelf for three years. Nobody wants sticky dusty things in their stockings!
Take a breath. Relax. Let me take care of your holiday gifts this year.
As a maker of things, I’ve got an awful lot of stuff available for sale on the internet that will fulfill most of your gift-giving needs without blowing your budget. Here’s the selection of things I’m offering for sale and some coupons/discount codes/incentives to make those purchases right now.
Two of my books are still available for print this holiday season through Amazon.com.
30 Failures by Age 30 ($7.95) is a micro-memoir perfect for those places where you need a quick read—airports, waiting rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms—and the women’s magazine you picked up has only feature stories on female genital mutilation in third world countries and a heartbreaking recollection of a mother dying of cancer. 30 Failures by Age 30 is light and fluffy and doesn’t discuss genitals or disease (much). Reading 30 Failures by Age 30 is like reading marshmallows!
The Curable Romantic: Advice for the Romance-Impaired ($7.00) is a novelty book about relationships and is perfect for the unlucky-in-love person in your life. It’s not quite self-help and it won’t help anyone get dates but it’s mostly inoffensive, avoids a lot of the traditional romantic cliches and is another quick-and-easy toilet read.
(I should stop promoting my books for the bathroom, but I really want people to stop using their electronic devices in there. Stop dropping your iPhones in the toilet! All that fine Chinese craftsmanship wasted! If you drop my book in the toilet, at least you can dry it off and recycle it.)
The print editions of 30 Failures by Age 30 and The Curable Romantic are both eligible for Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion (basically buy three, get one free). This quantity also qualifies for free shipping. So, if you go to the Amazon book links above, add four copies of one of the books to your cart, you can get some decent savings. See?
The Curable Romantic averages out at $5.25 per copy. 30 Failures averages out at $5.96 per copy. That’s less than you’d pay if you bought it directly from me! Of course you can browse and find other books and whatnot that fit within the 4-for-3 promotion. Maybe you only want one copy of one of my books and three other things. And then maybe it works out that my book is the cheapest thing in your cart. You get my book for free, I still get a few coins and we all go home happy.
Maybe this is the year you finally shrink your carbon footprint and you’re doing so by giving presents that don’t require manufacturing or shipping. And maybe you’ve already donated money in people’s names for worthy causes but there are some people on your list who bitch about donations not being “real presents.” And you can’t just not give them something because they’re spouses of siblings or your cubicle mate or someone equally unavoidable. You could give them ebooks. (Yes, I know. Anyone who argues over what might or might not constitute a “real present” is perhaps not the target demographic for ebooks.)
Most ebooks can be read on most modern electronic devices. Even a PDA from 2003 (remember PDAs, you guys?). Even a clamshell iBook from 1999. But probably not on that word processor from the early 1990s, because that thing doesn’t have the Internet and only reads floppy disks and you can’t get floppy disks here in the future. You can’t even get video cassette tapes to record things on your VCR anymore. Your VCR also will not read ebooks. But your computer will! And your smartphone!
All of my books, including the Robot of Leisure series, are available in digital format from a variety of ebook retailers. So if you’re locked into buying books from one store because of device limitations or you’re free to download ebooks from any source, you can purchase and read my books.
(Apparently I’ve been lax in my promotion of The Curable Romantic, but it is available everywhere 30 Failures is sold.)
Right now, Kobo books offers a coupon code for 35% off your purchase: thankyou2012. So you can use that to scoop up all the Robot of Leisure ebooks. Keep an eye on Retail Me Not for coupon codes for online stores of any sort (I’m not getting any kickback for mentioning that site, so consider that a friendly tip).
If you’re new to ebooks and want to check them out without investing in a specialty ebook reading device, all of the major ebook retailers (Amazon, B&N’s Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, etc.) offer software to download and access ebooks. Or you can download Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre.
But perhaps books don’t feel like gifts to you. My Etsy shop Peppermint Robot Surprise is full of little doodads that are perfect for Secret Santas, tweenyboppers, or work colleagues. Get a set of weird illustrated prints, a couple of plush monsters, some coasters, some costume jewelry and you’re set for the season.
All items in the Peppermint Robot Surprise shop are handmade by me, constructed from upcycled materials and rescued scraps, and mostly one-of-a-kind. Giving a stuffed monster from PRS is like giving someone a snowflake. Except that the monster won’t melt.
Get 20% off your order today with code: PRS20.
The trouble with Etsy is that you won’t save much on shipping if you make purchases from multiple shops because the individual sellers ship their items. Nothing ships directly from Etsy. It’s like eBay without the adrenaline rush from bidding. But you probably know that because you are not new to the Internet, right?
So maybe you’d like to support a bunch of indie artists without exorbitant shipping rates.
I have some things on Society6, which is like CafePress for hipsters. You can get artwork on prints, iphone cases, shirts, tote bags, and other things. Aside from my Robot of Leisure prints, you can browse art like illustrated pop culture references, mixed media animal collages, outdated cliches printed in whimsical typography, and serious photography. I’m in the process of preparing more art to add the Robot of Leisure Society6 page.
Lastly (but not leastly), if you’re looking for something super original yet super cheap and you know someone who likes robots, you can order a personalized Robot of Leisure micro-commission. For $5, I will draw Boris in a costume or activity relevant to your intended recipient’s interests. Then you’ll get a PDF of the illustration and you can print it, tattoo it, project it on your wall and paint a mural from it…the possibilities are seemingly endless (because you can’t just go and resell the illustration on your own Etsy or Society6 store. Personal use only, please.). See my Boris 366 project for inspiration.
Maybe you’re completely broke. Me too! That’s why I’m giving you these free things to download that you can either keep for yourself or pass along.
Robot of Leisure #1: Boris and the Open House is available for free download from Kobo, iTunes, and directly from the ROL site. Download for yourself. Send the link(s) to friends and family. Post a review/rating if you’re an opinionated sort. You can reward yourself with the other downloadables from Robot of Leisure.
Now you’ve done all your holiday shopping! Hooray! You’ve saved your sanity and maybe a few dollars. You’ve supported an independent artist instead of buying singing Justin Bieber toothbrushes at Walmart. And you didn’t suffer bodily harm in pursuit of a pre-apocalypse television. Wins all around.