Brown Bagging It
Baskets on Demand
Watch Your Windows

At 20-year-old Booktenders Children's Bookstore in Doylestown, Pa., owner Ellen Mager has begun a gift basket service for baby showers and even a few grandmother celebrations. "When authors and illustrators come to the store, I ask them to sign some books with the inscription 'Welcome baby' or 'Sleep tight,' " said Mager. In October, for example, Robert Sabuda signed copies of Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-up and The Movable Mother Goose for future baskets.

To keep the cost down and because of limited storage space, Mager asks customers to supply their own baskets, although, if they prefer, she will fill a Booktenders canvas tote bag. What goes into the baskets, or totes, depends on the price, which can range from $25 to $150, as well as the preference of the giver. Typically, Mager includes a sampling of board books, bedtime books and at least one plush item. For more expensive baskets, she often adds matching mother and child T-shirts. "A lot of times, customers will call first and give us a dollar amount," Mager said. "When they come to the store, I'll have items for them to look at. It's nice for them to make the final choice." To identify the store, Mager includes store bookmarks and a copy of ABC's catalogue imprinted with her logo on the back page.