20 Better Ways to Word ‘Please Bring a Book Instead of a Card’


It's not unusual to ask for a book in place of a card these days. Actually, you'll notice lots of people requesting books over cards, mainly because you can find so many like new or gently used books that cost almost the same as a drug store greeting card.

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But how does one ask for a book instead of a card? Take a look below and see what jumps out. You might find a few arrows to tuck in your quiver next time you have a birthday party or baby shower to plan.

‘Bring a Book Instead of a Card’ Wording for a Birthday Party

Whether you’re planning a birthday party for a family member or another much-loved person in your life, here are some phrases you can use to make sure attendees come with the proper gift.

1. “Skip the card and support the book habit!”

If your child has recently started devouring all things “genre-blending” or anything in the YA dystopian section, then it’s okay to add that to the invitation.

After all, cards hang around for a day or two and then find themselves in the trash, but an excellent book will be read and reread.

2. “Consumption reduction! Bring a like-new book for Paul instead of a card.”

Is your family big into sustainability? If so, then you already know that a book lasts so much longer than a card. You’ll probably donate it to someone else looking to get lost in a story down the road. Maybe these good habits will resonate with your party guests, too.

3. Send out a group text to the kids for dad’s upcoming birthday party.
  • Provide them with a list of books or send a link to his online book wish list.
  • Suggest they write happy birthday messages to dad inside the book versus on a card.
  • Or, ask them to sign and date the inside cover.

Every time dad picks up a book from one of his kids, he’ll smile thinking about them.

4. Email the book club or writing group

Your bibliophile book club or writing group is likely already on top of this idea. Still, here’s an option for a starter email template the next time you gather on a special day for someone in your group. 

Subject: Vellichor and Vino!
Message: Fellow Bibliophiles, 
Next meeting, we’re celebrating Walt’s birthday at my house. So, try to bring a book he’s never read. (If that’s possible.)
Yours truly, Lyla
P.S. You know how he feels about cards...

Perhaps a little sarcasm is due? If so, there are fun ways to present the humor without sounding brash.

5. “Por favor traiga un libro, no una tarjeta de cumpleaños. Si hay un libro que te ha inspirado, ¡compártelo para que David también pueda inspirarse!”

Is your child enrolled in an immersion school, but you don’t speak that language? If so, make a quick visit to an online language translation page. Choose the target language, then type the phrasing you’d like to use on the birthday invitation. The site will translate it for you.

Hint: keep the sentences simple. Otherwise, there may be some strange translation issues.

6.  Send a clip art or photo MMS with overlapping text

Do you know how to send a photo with overlapping text? If not, follow this quick tutorial:

  • Choose your favorite clip art and save it to your phone or use a picture you already have.
  • Click Edit
  • Click Markup (This might be hidden under an icon somewhere, so just look for it.)
  • Then, Click Text, followed by the desired Font, and adjust the Font Size (Don’t worry, you can make lots of mistakes and also start over.)
  • Type: “Don’t break the bank on a card. Bring a gently used book instead.”
  • Finally, Click Done (This will save the clip art or photo with the changes you made.)

Afterward, you can send a bulk text to all of the people on the birthday guest list. Don’t forget to include the time, date, and location for the birthday girl.

7. "Sam is too young to read on his birthday cards yet. But, if you sign your name in a book, he'll be able to see your love when he's older."

Maybe you're the practical type who likes to say it like it is? You know that three-year-olds won't save their cards, but they will hold onto swashbuckling stories once they've learned their ABCs. And it's then that they'll see all the love from grandma and grandpa.

8. “Cards are becoming old-fashioned, but books never go out of style. Just leave your name inside, so you’re part of the story, too.”

This is the perfect way to send party guests out looking for inspirational books instead of cards.

You may receive one from a greatest books list or one that brings you hope and stretches your mind.

9. Text or email a book meme along with the location and time for the party.

Pro tip: If you send a meme via text or email for the birthday person, you don’t need to be shy about stating that people should skip the card.

Why? The medium and the message are both so informal that all you need to write is, “Bring a book, skip the card.”

» MORE: You’re not getting any younger. Here’s how to create a legal, state-specific will.


‘Bring a Book Instead of a Card’ Wording for a Baby Shower

Baby shower invites often include new parent preferences, like baby room colors and themes, among other things. So, it won't be a strange request if you ask the party guests to also arrive with a book or two in hand versus a card. 

First, let's get you started with a simple template. You can alter it to fit your needs or the situation as needed.

Title: [See the ideas listed below.]
Date: February 29th
Who’s Hosting: Grandma Lys
Location: 777 Baby Shower Drive, [City, State, Zip]
RSVP by [Date] at (555) 867-5555 

Now that you have the basic template, you can choose the wording that best suits your event. 

10. "Cards are precious and often steal the show, but a baby needs books to help her learn and grow! So, please write your name on the cover, then we'll always remember who's love to commend."

Once you put it into perspective that a card will likely disappear, yet a book will remain, then the idea might seem more palatable to anyone who’s a little old fashioned about card-giving.

11. “We have a tiny request for the tiny bundle of joy… Instead of a card, please bring a cherished story inscribed by you.” 

Pro tip: there are ways to avoid telling guests that their card will be tossed without actually saying that exact phrasing. To get the point across more, tell them specifically that the books will be cherished. They’ll get the hint.

12. “Let’s stock Amalie’s library. Please write your inscriptions inside French or English baby books.”

More and more parents want their kids to attend diverse and multilingual schools these days. So, if that’s the plan, why not get started early? While you may not explicitly be asking for books over cards, suggesting the inscription be written in the book should be hint enough for some.

13. “We want our baby to know friends who are as constant and wise as you. There’s no need for a card if you inscribe your name and write your favorite quote inside a book for little Henry.”

Some messages make people feel like they are given a great option or reprieve from finding the perfect card. All your guests have to do is find the ideal quote, but most people already have one ready to go.

Hint: compliments can loosen up a sticky situation.

14. “There’s no friend as loyal as a book” Ernest Hemmingway

You may not need to suggest skipping the card because it's a commonplace request for books over cards. However, if you feel that's still necessary, you can always leave that to the fine print at the bottom of the invite.

15. "We want to remember your thoughtfulness in the years to come, so we humbly request that you pick a story that the baby will love in place of a card."

Pro tip: start with a sentiment. That way, if there are any strange feelings about being told to bring a book over a card, they'll have the first words to fall back on.

16. “Franklin and Frances are on the way! No need for cards, just find a book about twins of any sort and then sign your name inside.”

Asking for books of a specific genre is a great idea, especially if you’re having twins. But there are ways to do that without limiting yourself. Here’s one that lets the gift-giver think outside the box of the typical twin story.

17. “As the years pass by and the stories are read and reread, we want to think of you. But without an inscription, we may not remember who.”

Pro tip: be subtle when leading guests to buy a book without explicitly telling them they shouldn’t buy a card.

18. “Cards are temporary, but books our baby will cherish forever.”

Do you love beautiful books and illustrations? If so, this message implies those sentiments overtly. Not only that, but it's also a savvy way of suggesting how short-lived the cards will be. Books, on the other hand, will be a baby keepsake forever.

19. “No greeting card necessary. Just bring a book with your name inscribed so that we always remember you and this day.” 

Hint: one of the most fundamental characteristics in humans is that we love and appreciate being remembered, even if not voiced explicitly. This message caters to that underlying need.

20. “We’re over the moon! Baby Oliver is on his way soon. But we’re also terrible at rhyming anything else, so please bring books instead of a card.”

The beginning of this invitation sounds like you’re about to rhyme something long and cute. That’s why it works for implying that you’ll need nursery rhyme books to help out.

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Books For Those You Love

If you spend a lifetime collecting stories from the people you love, your bookshelves will have a life of their own. So, encourage people to skip the cards and help you create something beautiful at home.

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