The Best 'Digital' Gifts (That Aren't Gift Cards)

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If you’re looking for a last-minute gift that doesn’t require any shipping or handling, don’t assume you have to send a boring old gift card. Here’s Lifehacker’s guide to gifting ebooks, audiobooks, digital games and more.

Books

I love ebooks—they don’t take up any space, I can read them nearly anywhere, and when I’m done, they disappear into wherever ebooks go when you’re not reading them. (The cloud, I’m assuming.)

Here’s how to purchase an Amazon Kindle book as a gift. All you need is your recipient’s email address. Your gift recipient doesn’t even need a Kindle to read Kindle ebooks, since they can download the Kindle app onto a variety of devices.

Here’s how to give someone an Apple iBook. (They’re going to need an Apple device to be able to read this one, so make sure they aren’t PC users.)

If you’re on a super-tight budget, you can always send someone a Project Gutenberg public domain ebook. It won’t cost you anything but your time, and there are plenty of classics to choose from.

Audiobooks

Ever since I read Literary Hub’s article about the best audiobooks to give this holiday season, I have been secretly coveting the Tom Hanks-narrated audio edition of Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House.

If you’d like to buy it for me (or anyone else), here’s how to gift an Apple Audiobook and here’s how to gift an Audible book.

If you’d like to send someone a free audiobook, visit LibriVox. These public domain audiobooks are read by volunteers, and I spent one summer listening through most of the Anne of Green Gables series while working a temp job that involved a lot of envelope stuffing. Consider LibriVox highly recommended.

Games

Here’s how to give someone a Steam game. (Try the Untitled Goose Game, if they haven’t played it already.)

Here’s how to give someone an Xbox game.

If you want to give someone a PlayStation game, you’ll need to buy a gift card and hope the recipient uses it on the game you wanted them to have.

Subscriptions

I was about to write up a guide to gifting digital movies, shows, and albums, but it looks like you can’t really do that anymore (RIP, iTunes).

So... let’s jump straight into subscriptions.

Amazon Prime has a straightforward gifting process, and your recipient will be able to benefit not only from Prime Delivery, but also all of the Prime streaming media that comes with the membership, including music, ebooks, movies, and Amazon Prime Original Series like The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel (which just released its third season).

Disney Plus also has a gift subscription option, and I bet a lot of families will receive Disney Plus subscriptions this year.

If you want to give someone Apple Music or Netflix, you’ll have to pass along a gift card that covers the annual subscription cost. Beyond that, well... I know there are a billion other media services out there, but I’m not going to look each one up individually.


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