Monthly Subscription Boxes – yay or nay?

dear-reader3

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.

OwlCrate.

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!

BookCase.Club.

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.

Softcover:

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

Reality Boy by A.S. King

Hardcover:

maybe-one-day
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.

HOWEVER.

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!

sincerely3

E.C. Orr

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