Book Subscription Boxes – Yay or Nay?
Book Subscription Boxes have really taken off in recent years. If you are stuck for finding a new read, need a push to pick up something different or are just curious, book subscription boxes are a good way to expand your reading horizons.
Just to give an idea of how many subscription services there are, and the themes/genres they cater to, here is a list published by the Independent that may be of interest. I couldn’t possibly list them all here, but to summarise – if there is a niche, it’s probably catered for.
I’ve toyed with the idea of one before; I’ve even done a decent amount of research to find one that’s a good fit for me. I always find myself talking myself out of it, however, and for the same reasons. I’m not saying that books subscription boxes aren’t great – others really enjoy them. If you do, I’d love to hear why! But here are my reasons and reservations over signing up to one personally: –
I don’t like the idea of not having a choice over the books I would get. There is nothing worse for me than not liking a book, especially when I’ve paid for it. I say that at the risk of sounding tight-fisted, but that’s not the case at all. I spend more than enough on books. In fact, I buy a lot of the books I read and feature on my blog in one format or another. But if I spend my hard-earned money on a book and then I don’t enjoy it, or can’t read it, I feel cheated. Even I get it wrong. There are books I have ‘vetted’ and bought expecting to love them but didn’t. It’s disappointing, but it happens. I did the best thing I could with them and donated them to charity.
With a book subscription box, I’m one further step removed from the book or books I’ll receive. I’m pretty open-minded about what I’ll pick up, but that doesn’t mean I’ll read and love everything I get. I’m of the opinion that with a subscription box, I’m at more risk of getting something I wouldn’t want than if I just went to my local bookstore and chose something for myself. For the same reason, I don’t get on with book clubs. Ultimately, I don’t want to invest (financially or my time) into something I don’t want to read. There’s plenty more out there I will want to read. It’s as simple as that.
Yes, subscription boxes are more likely to encourage you to broaden your horizons. I don’t dispute that. If you love that then a subscription might work for you. Personally, if I want to try something new or that I’m unsure of, I’m more likely to try and borrow it from my library instead. That way if I don’t like it, I haven’t lost anything.
Book Related Merchandise
I have watched a good few ‘unboxing’ videos on YouTube and some of the subscription boxes are really cute with their themed book and extra goodies. From bookmarks to badges and beverage samples, they have an array of complementary items perfect for book lovers.
My personal bugbear is that after a year of subscriptions I’d be fast on my way to clogging up the house with, for want of a word, crap. Yes, themed bookmarks and little candles are cute, but can I possibly use them all? No. I don’t even have particularly like-minded friends I could pass them onto. Some come with some beautiful stationery, which I admit I would like. Let’s be honest though – I’m a stationery fiend and I don’t need any help hoarding more!
Can I talk about the elephant in the room and say that some subscription box services are really expensive?! Not all of them are – I feel the need to jump in with that in case there are those interested that haven’t really done the research into it to know the market. But still, how some of them justify the price, I’m not sure.
The prices of the subscription range featured in the Independent’s article range from 9.99 to 34.99 per month. I find the top end of that to be quite pricey. I have found other boxes advertised for as much as £49 online. Fair enough, quite often they feature new or exclusive stuff. I suppose what it boils down to is whether you are willing to pay for that. That’s an entirely personal choice, but for me, it’s a no. I’d rather spend my money on another book instead.
Have you received a book subscription box before? What do you think of them? I’d love to hear your experiences or thoughts about them!