Last Minute Holiday Shopping Guide: Part 2 (Mania.com)

By:Anthony C. Ferrante
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It’s that time of year again where shopping becomes warfare and finding that perfect gift is some times more stressful than actually buying it.

 
That’s where this Gift Guide comes in handy. It’s not the end-all, be-all of Gift Guide’s. Instead, it offers up some of the things we think are cool out on the market and wouldn’t mind getting stuffed in our stockings as well.
 

So if you have that hard-to-by for friend, family member, co-worker or homeless person who is into genre entertainment, then this should offer some guidance (by category of course) for the busy holiday season already spinning in motion.

BOOKS

CELL: A NOVEL

Suggested retail price: $9.99

Format: Paperback

What it is: Stephen King supposedly retired a few years ago, yet he continues to find time to write novels – go figure. This time out, he deals with a new kind of zombie – one started by a magnetic pulse coming from the use of cell phones. Think a modern-day THE STAND as a group of “non-cell phone users” try to survive the zombie infested streets.

Why it’s cool: This is a page-turner with King doing what he does best. And even though he rehashes themes and motifs from previous works, it’s still a highly visceral work and proves once again what a master King is. If only most people were this damn prolific (and good) once they retire.

Where you can get it: Retail outlets and online.

THE MARVEL ENCYLOPEDIA/THE D.C. ENCYCLOPEDIA

Suggested retail price: $40.00 each

Format: Hardcover

What it is: DK Publishing does it again by releasing these epic tomes for both comic book company titans that feature an A to Z guide to all of their heroes and villains.

Why it’s cool: It figures it would take someone like DK to do this kind of comprehensive guide through the annals of D.C. and Marvel right – and you can’t go wrong for die-hard comic book fans who want a quick reference guide to all their favorite characters.

Where you can get it:  Major Retail outlets and online.

PAPERBACKSWAP.COM

Suggested retail price: postage (roughly $1.59 in postage)

Format: Virtual, sort of

What it is: www.PaperBackSwap.com is the Netflix of the book world. It’s fueled by book addicts that want to bypass buying used books online and “share” their wares with the rest of the world. Of course, this is the cheapest gift imaginable – buying $10 or $20 of postage for your buddy, so they can keep up their book habit in style.

Why it’s cool: The gimmick is rather simple. The website has an online “virtual library” of over 750,000 titles. When you sign up for the club, you register up to nine books that you no longer want and would like to share with others and when another member requests it, you mail it to them and pay the postage. When you request a book from someone else, then they mail it to you and they pay the postage. The books are free because it’s all about trading on the World Wide Web. This company also has www.swapacd.com website, which means swapping DVD’s can’t be too far behind.

Where you can get it: Online

MOVIE GUIDE 2007 by Leonard Maltin/DVD & VIDEO GUIDE 2007 by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter

Suggested retail price: $8.99/$7.99

Format: Paperback

What it is: The two best movie guides on the market. Both offer comprehensive reviews of more than 20,000 movies new and old and giving you information on whether or not they’re available on DVD or not.  

Why it’s cool: Both guide’s have thorough and comprehensive reviews, though as a reference guide, the Mick Martin/Marsha Porter book has a great appendix in the back of the book listing all the movies reviewed in alphabetic order and for the reference hound, a cast and director index of all the movies reviewed.

Where you can get it: Most retail outlets and Online

TECHNOLOGY

 

If you want to spend some real dough, here are some high-end products worth a look. We’d include the HD-DVD player in this category, but they’re hard to find and over-priced at this moment. We won’t even get started on Blu-Ray machines yet.

DOCUPEN PORTABLE SCANNER

Suggested retail price: $299.99

What it is: In the past few years, the gadgetry that Q supplied to James Bond in countless movies doesn’t seem so farfetched nowadays and the DocuPen Portable Scanner falls into that category. It fits snugly in your bag, pull it out and you can secretly (or not so secretly) scan documents without anybody thinking twice about it. When you get home, upload the imagery into your computer.

Why it’s cool: It eliminates the bulkiness of oversized scanners and when you’re on the go, or want a signed document and no one has a copies – this is the next best thing. It does color copies and full page documents, continually making business on-the-go all the more easier. Works on both P.C. and the Mac/Intel machines.

Where you can get it: www.docupen.com

VONAGE

Suggested retail price: Various Pricing

What it is: A new concept in saving money on your phone bill – have your phone connection come directly from your Broadband Internet connection.

Why it’s cool: There are various Vonage plans and phones, and if you have a Broadband connection, the $24.99 a month plan for unlimited calling can’t be beat. Plus you can take your phone with you on trips as long as you have Internet access. Get a buddy a phone and make them pay the monthly bill and you too may even become a convert.

Where you can get it: www.vonage.com

iGROOVE HG

Suggested retail price: $249.99

What it is: One of many iPod speaker systems on the market that gives you big stereo sound while only taking up a miniscule portion of your room.

Why it’s cool: Klipsch is one of the best audio companies out there and the sound is unparalleled. They’ve created a stylish looking machine that also has the ability to play different iPod’s, other digital music players, gaming machines, cell phones or satellite radio that have telephone jacks. It also comes with a remote and it even charges your iPod to boot.

Where you can get it: www.klipsch.com, www.circuitcity.com, www.amazon.com, Some Major Retailers

ACCURIAN 10” WIDESCREEN PORTABLE DVD PLAYER

Suggested retail price: $249.99

What it is: It’s basically what the description says, a portable DVD player with a 10” widescreen. Perfect for long trips with the kids or for your own personal use.

Why it’s cool: It’s small, compact and allows you to bring and watch your movies on the go. Has the ability to outfit it with auxiliary speakers for a bigger sound and includes adapters for the car.

Where you can get it: www.radioshack.com

DIGITAL VIDEO SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

Suggested retail price: $299.99

What it is: An affordable digital surveillance system that let’s you keep track of your home through your computer and/or cellphone.

Why it’s cool: Perfect for checking in with your family or making sure your home is safe while on a vacation. It also aids in small businesses to make sure your employees are doing what they say they’re doing. Comes with a window, desktop and wall mount, plus Werks PC Software for the computer. You can also add up to five cameras. It transmits through your electrical sockets and beams directly into your computer.

Where you can get it: www.radioshack.com

PROMEDIA AUDIO SYSTEM 2.1 PERSONAL AUDIO SYSTEM

Promedia Speakers

Suggested retail price: $149.99

What it is: As gaming and homemade video filmmaking become more affordable, having your personal computer decked out with high-quality sound has become a must and these affordable speakers should rattle the roof with high quality sound

Why it’s cool: They’re THX approved speakers, so you can’t go wrong there and the system is compact enough that it shouldn’t eat up a lot of shelf space as you’re killing monsters or creating monsters on your home computer.

Where you can get it: www.klipsch.com,

www.amazon.com, www.compusa.com, Some Major Retailers