Monthly Subscription Boxes – yay or nay?


Recently I visited one of your lovely blogs (I can’t remember which one, but I’ll look for it!) and saw that it had a post about a monthly book subscription. And I was like, “what is this magic?!” So I started digging…

A monthly subscription box is just what it sounds like. Once a month, you receive a box. Within this box are magical contents having to do with literary genius… (Or whatever other monthly box you get – makeup, superhero paraphernalia, etc.)

Fascinated by these magical boxes, I went in search of one of my very own! I decided on two different subscriptions to try out and after this month (November), I’ll go ahead and pick one to stick with.

The first subscription that I signed up for was the one that started it all. It was the one received by the blog post I stumbled upon and I was so taken with it that, despite it’s rather steep price (I thought, anyway), I would give it a try. The second was a more affordable option that seems far more reasonable for my meager income and will likely be the one I stick with.


So the first subscription is OwlCrate. This is the one featured on the blog post and the reason I fell in love with it is that it contains so much stuff. The contents include the obligatory book (because, really, why else would I get it given my search parameters?), but additional items as well. Book marks, teas, nick-nacks, jewelry, post cards – you name it! Each box has a theme and, oh gosh, you don’t understand how much I love themes. All of the items within the box center around this theme.

This month is Wonderland and I’m pretty darn psyched for it. It hasn’t arrived yet as they tend to arrive towards the end of the month (from what I understand) while the other subscription arrives early on in the month (I’ve already received it and I’ll get to that in a moment). As soon as it gets here, I’ll do an additional post on that.

Until then, here’s a complete “contents” list for the items in the OwlCrate box:

  • Brand spankin’ new YA novel
  • 3-5 bookish items (jewelry, bookmarks, stickers, prints, toys, accessories, etc.)
  • Exclusive items from the author

All of this comes out to $29.99 + shipping (which came out to $6.99 for me).

Um, wow. That’s a lot. I know it’s not a lot, a lot, but it’s a lot, you know? Especially since you only get ONE BOOK.

Yes, true, you get all those nifty other things, too! And I love those other things. But that’s still a big chunk of change to be throwing down for something that… well, just might not have that much reading enjoyment. I mean, for that price, I could get two, maybe three books, and if I do it on Amazon, I’ll get free shipping, too.

And that’s if they’re all new.

So is it really worth it?

I don’t know yet. I haven’t received the box, so it’s hard to say whether or not I’ll find it worth the price. On some level, I hope that it is, because I want my money’s worth. On the other hand, I kind of hope not. Why? Because then I won’t be tempted to do it every month. Because I don’t have the sort of money to just spend on this monthly and it’ll sort of make me sad if I have to be a grown up and put this little whim aside when I like it so much.

So here’s hoping that I do like it – and that I don’t!


The second, more affordable option that I decided to try is a little thing called BookCase.Club. They have no frills, but what they do have are TWO books. Every month. You can choose your genre to receive (obviously mine was Teenage Dream, so all YA books) and the box arrives around a week or so into the month. Pretty nifty.

The downside is this: You only get the books.

The upside is: It’s only $14.99 including shipping.

I mean, even if you purchased two used books, you’d probably be spending that PLUS five bucks in shipping (unless you’re lucky enough to have a bookstore near to you that carries anything other than nonfiction and adult romance…). So looking at it like that, it’s still a steal. Of course, you don’t get to pick the books (I’ll get to this in a moment) which can be a little scary, but it’s also a treat because you might end up with something you wouldn’t normally try on your own!

Additionally, for every subscription (and subscription renewal), a book is donated! That’s a charity I can definitely get behind – and it’s for something I’m going to do anyway. I’m all for that, so the price and the charity definitely make this one a great option. Yes, it sucks a little that you don’t get all the trinkets with it, but I don’t think they’re enough to make up the price difference – not when I’m as broke as I am. (Responsibility is calling; it wants your books back…)

As I mentioned, I already received my package from BookCase.Club. It arrived just the other day (the 6th, I think) and as promised contained two books. One was hardcover, the other soft.


I didn’t like the cover at first… but it grows on me every time I see it.

Reality Boy by A.S. King


This one may be more my speed…

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

I hadn’t heard of either of them before and to be honest I was a little… disappointed. There’s a really good chance that these are both awesome books, but they aren’t ones I would have picked out for myself. Like, ever. Or if I did, they would be *way* down on the list.

This makes me a little upset, because we go back to the “I paid money for this” and now I’ve got two books that maybe I won’t like at all.


I will say this: I will give these books a chance. If I don’t like them, I’ll give them away or sell them or donate them. Whatever. Someone else will very likely enjoy them, even if I don’t. And you know what? I’ll have branched out. I’ll have tried something new. And maybe next month I’ll get something more my speed. Because for fifteen dollars a month, two books delivered right to my doorstep isn’t so bad.

What do you guys think?

Yes, there are definitely more subscription boxes out there. I looked through a bunch of them and picked these two because they seemed to be the best of the quality options for the prices they were, but at opposing ends of the spectrum. But do you have a subscription that you prefer? Do you think maybe this is all a little silly, risky even to pay for books you may or may not like?

Let me know in the comments below!


E.C. Orr


9 thoughts on “Monthly Subscription Boxes – yay or nay?

  1. I barely ever buy books because I have no idea if I’ll like it (thank goodness for libraries!). I almost bought an OwlCrate but like you mention it’s expensive & if you live outside of the US say hello to conversion rate fees. I agree with everything you said because I need to know that it’s something I’m going to like, I kinda hate the surprise element, plus if I’m going to be paying all this money it’s a ‘why bother’ for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such a good point! It seems like a waste if you’re not going to like the book, right? But my library’s kind of lame… They have a pretty good selection for where I am, but still. Nothing even remotely new. It’s a shame. So I buy books… like, more than I should lol.

      I hadn’t even thought of shipping for outside the US! That must really suck, I’m sorry. 😦

      If you want, though, and you see something you like from the OwlCrate box I get this month (if it ever gets here…) let me know and I’ll send it to you! (If you’re comfortable giving me your address… if not, totally understand! Because, you know, creepy internet people. O.o)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I seem to be the lucky one and hit the jackpot with libraries. Mine orders new releases before they come out (most of them, especially the really popular novels) and I can usually find what I’m looking for, and if I can’t we have a system called interloan library where I can borrow a book from any other library in the province. It really helps because that way I’m not forking over all this money on books I may not like, and it fuels me to read things that I wouldn’t normally read.
        Yeah shipping is always the deciding factor for me whether I’ll buy something, and what currency it’s in. The USD is not so friendly with the CND currently.
        Ha, thanks for the offer, I may take you up on it depending on what’s in it, but I might not, it really all depends.


  2. I really want to sign up for either Owl Crate or Fairy Loot, maybe even Illumicrate, but they’re just too expensive for me right now… I love their boxes though, from what I’ve seen people post anyway. Can’t wait to see what you think of your boxes!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I checked out Fairy Loot, but they were sold out of everything! Which sucks. They looked pretty neat. I haven’t heard of Illumicrate before… I’ll check it out! They all are pretty expensive. That’s why I think I’ll end up with BookCase.Club if I end up doing any of them regularly… But all the nifty things! Oh my! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, they’re all pretty high on the money end. And that’s what happened to me with OwlCrate! They were sold out of their boxes at the time I checked them out, possibly to buy. Ah, well. They’re just too expensive for me right now. But eventually, I’ll probably get me a couple… because they’re just so cute!!


  3. I have a subscription to FairyLoot and have to admit that while it’s expensive I do love it. I’m an accountant so I did try to price all the bits in the box and it does come out as value for money but it kind of depends on whether you want the things you get. Personally I tend to be more excited about the other bits and pieces rather than the book which is probably wrong but these are things I would never buy myself so it’s kind of like getting the best surprise present. There’s another box from Australia or New Zealand (Infinity I think) which has only book related goodies and no books which I’ve been tempted to try but postage and conversion are killer.


  4. I think whoever came up with the idea is genius! Let’s charge $30-$60 for a monthly box that has one book, (which they probably get at discount), and a bunch of cheap nicknacks. They’re making a fortune on us bc we like surprises.
    The only one I want is Fairy Loot. They seem to include two books, and their nicknacks are pretty decent. But ppl love it bc of the surprise factor. I’ve seen people tear into their boxes and look pretty disappointed, but then they do it all over again next month. Why didn’t we think of this, E.C.?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right?! We should do our own subscription boxes. They’d sell like hotcakes! And I totally know I’m guilty of wanting the stupid nicknacks you lnow? Lol. Whatever. BookCase.Club is the only one that seems reasonable, really, and it’s cause you ONLY get the books.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s