[NB, the substance of this post is totally ganked from Seanan, who totally ganked it from Scalzi, who ... may even have made it up for all I know.]
It's holiday time, hurrah! And sometimes this means that people want to give people things they think those people will like, which frequently translates into "here, have a book," because we're all enormous book nerds. Being a person who writes books, I am very interested in this phenomenon. Moreover, I'd like those books to be as cool as possible. So! Do you want to give a signed, personalized book to the person of your choice, after exchanging money for it? Here's how!
1. Contact Borderlands Books (http://borderlands-books.com/) in San Francisco, California. You can contact them by either email - email@example.com - or phone toll-free on 888 893-4008. They're open from noon till 8pm PST every day, and they're all lovely people.
2. Order books! You have to tell them which ones, naturally, and whether you want them signed and personalized, or just signed. Personalized books must be paid for up-front. You can request a specific inscription. Some inscriptions (eg my phone number) will be refused, although your book will still be signed.
3. While you're at it, order anything else that you'd like to get. I mean, hello, bookstore, and you're already paying for shipping, so why the heck not?
4. Give the store any information they need, like shipping address and billing and stuff.
5. The store will contact me, and I'll go in and sign things!
If you want your book or books shipped in time for Christmas, you need to contact the store and place your order by December 12th. That's still not a guarantee, especially if you're in the UK or wherever, but at least it's a ballpark.
But wait, you cry! What books are currently available?
Chaz Brenchley books: House of Doors and House of Bells, Rotten Row and one copy of Blood Waters
Ben Macallan books: Desdaemona and Pandaemonium
Daniel Fox books: Dragon in Chains, Jade Man's Skin and Hidden Cities.
Oh, and one thing more: I'll be in Borderlands anyway, doing a reading with Max Gladstone, this Saturday (17th Nov), at 3pm. So you could get your many and generous gifts signed in person...