Literary subterfuge is not so much a skill as it is a delicate art. When it comes to receiving the book you want, nay, the book you deserve, leaving it up to chance is a fool’s errand. Fear not, intrepid reader, because we present to you five more ways you can trick someone into buying you a book. If and only if NONE OF THESE WORK, please see our other bucket of options, found in 4 Creative Ways to Ensure You Will Get Books for Christmas.
1. Make it appear as if they concocted the idea to buy you a book.
I’m not sure how familiar everyone is with the sacred art of the flimflam, but it’s as difficult to execute as it is enjoyable to say. Your chances of success increase, however, if your target believes that they are the ones who came up with the original idea. There are few things us humans enjoy more than a wily ego stroke. If someone casually informs me that they enjoyed something I wrote or my taste in music, I don’t need Katrina and/or her Waves, because their adulation is enough to have me “Walking on Sunshine.”
The key is to start small. Compliment the target’s impeccable taste in books. Next, throw in a few well-placed subliminal messages in casual conversation. For example: “Can you believe Mark said that to Marisa? Mark really bought the book on that one. Am I right, old chum?”
Finally, after incrementally increasing your fabrications, casually say something like, “Ha, I should have just let you buy me (insert book name) when you wanted to. I should really listen to you more often.” The illogical inconsistencies won’t track with your target, because they’ll be too busy thinking, You know what, people really should listen to me more often.
This, in a nutshell, is how you brainwash somebody.
2. The ol’ purposely sent accidental email.
Purposely Sent Accidental Email: An electronic piece of mail that is deliberately sent to the wrong recipient for duplicitous reasons.
I once attempted the PSAE in high school in an effort to win the affections of a young lady—let’s call her Joey Potter. Like a coward I sent an email to Joey under the false pretense that it was actually meant for a friend of mine. In the body of the email I referenced a previous conversation that eluded to the fact that I may have romantic feelings for Ms. Potter. Was it successful? Well, yes and no. I didn’t capture the heart of my crush, but a decade later who’s using this anecdote for an internet article? Scoreboard, Joey Potter. SCOREBOARD.
This admittedly precarious plan can be successful if you employ a little more tact than adolescent Josh. Don’t make it too obvious, maybe add a link to a fun review of the book in question while peppering the whole thing with indecipherable inside jokes. A day later, follow-up with an “Oops I did it again” email. But don’t use that phrase unless you’re emailing an apology to the year 2000.
3. Write an article about what book you’d like to receive this holiday season.
WordPress, Tumblr, even a succinct tweet can be utilized to win your eyes the literary feast they deserve. For example, let’s say you just discovered a new book you’d REALLY like to devour, but you feel guilty about spending money on yourself during the holiday season. You’re probably so understanding because of your exceptional upbringing. Also, you’re broke. Two problems with one solution: write about it. Correction, subtly write about it, and then make sure your wonderful, beautiful, financially solvent mother, or I mean whoever, reads the article.
4. Employ a third party.
There are a plethora of pop culture examples that attempt to drive home the idea that sometimes you need a little bit of assistance to achieve your dream. A few examples in non-alphabetical order are: U2′s “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own,” the ethos of the television series Lost, the Friends theme song, and probably the theme of the book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I actually haven’t read it, but I’m assuming the book is more pro- than anti-friendship.
Your dream in this specific scenario is tricking someone into buying you a book. Choose someone you trust, but who—how to express this delicately—you could defeat in a battle of he said/she said tug-of-war. That way, if the operation goes super south, you can deny any shred of culpability.
5. E.T. your way to a free book.
This high-risk/high-reward plan, inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic film, is a risky last resort. But the plan itself is relatively simple:
Step 1: Leave a trail of Reese’s Pieces from your target’s bedroom to a computer with a browser conveniently opened to the object of your literary affection.
Step 2: Throw some audio jazz hands into the mix by scoring the event with inspirational theme music to add a fun sense of adventure!
Congratulations, you frugal genius! You now possess the tools required to receive a free book!
Now’s your chance: share this post with the person you hope will be giving you a book next week!