Happy Sunday, everyone!
I hope you’re enjoying the last weekend of 2019 with your beloved family and friends, if not, I hope you’re at least cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate (with tiny marshmallows, YUM), a warm blanket, and a good book! As 2019 is edging closer to an end, I’d love to share some interesting knowledge about something I’ve always wanted/wished/been eyeing for and my job kinda made it possible earlier this year–you guess it–book subscription boxes!
If you’re a booklover or an avid reader like me, then I’m sure the concept of book subsciption boxes isn’t unfamiliar to you. I tried my very first box with Fairyloot back in February this year, and I was so grateful for all the chances to get more in the following months. The overall unboxing experience was quite unforgettable and I’ve got some of my all-time favorite items in these boxes as well.
Therefore, I decided to share the little knowledge I have about book boxes and what they are, how the whole bookish subscription business model works, down to the last details about experiencing the bookish unboxings in this post. I hope you’ll find my post as informative as I aim to let it be and hopefully, you’ll discover some new book box companies throughout the way! Enjoy & happy unboxing! 🙂
As a book lover, I’m constantly looking for more books—from hoarding books on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, weekdays, and weekends, to discovering new books on Goodreads just to add them to my ridiculous pile of TBRs—it’s inevitable that one of those days, books can no longer quench my thirst for reading or getting involved with anything books-related…and guess what? That day has come sooner than I expected. To put it differently, books alone can’t satisfy my insatiable desire for bookish activities anymore. Therefore, some genius came up with the idea of book subscription boxes, which is pretty much the bookish service made specifically for book enthusiasts in need of something more than just books.
As far as I’m concerned, the concept of book subscription boxes started trending back in 2014, or 2015, and has become more and more popular in the book community ever since. Booklovers and bookworms alike jump on the bandwagon gradually, and I am no exception. Although I’m no expert when it comes to book boxes, I have to proudly admit that I’ve done some research prior to actually trying out different subscriptions.
For starters, a book subscription box usually includes items inspired by a book/book series, with commonly seen products like candles, bath bombs, bookmarks, enamel pins, art prints, accessories, trinket trays, and mugs. Generally speaking, the majority of the book boxes are theme/fandom-oriented. In other words, there’s a theme for the box each month (or quarter, depending on different book box services), and the items included will go along with the said theme and the book of the month.
Take OwlCrate for instance, the theme for their June, 2019 box was LIBRARIES OF WONDER, featuring Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson plus some items inspired by various well-known stories such as the set of bookends with the magic lamppost from The Chronicles of Narnia, and the tote bag designed by Stella Bookish Art with a beautiful quote from Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer.
Some similar book boxes I’m familiar with are Fairyloot, Illumicrate, the YA Chronicles, and Beacon Book Box, all of which have items revolving around a specific theme on a monthly basis (except for the YA Chronicles, which is bimonthly.) If you don’t like these themes and fandoms, there are also book boxes aiming to support a certain group of people such as indie writers/publishers (the Indie Book Box) or feminists. For example, I’ve tried a feminist book box called Books that Matter, a book subscription service based in the U.K. and all of the items are curated to empower women, including their monthly book pick. Since they have a rather more affordable price for their boxes, they usually include 1-2 items inspired by the book choices and I honestly think those are pretty high-quality (even though the overall packaging/customer service isn’t as top-notched but that’s another story.)
Aside from the theme-oriented and active-supporter-of-some-sorts book boxes, there are, of course, some seemingly ordinary yet out-of-the-world literary subscriptions that focus mainly (and solely) on books and creativity. My personal favorite is Once Upon a Book Club Box; each month you’ll get a book and matching gifts corresponding to a specific page in the book, so those presents are meant to be unwrapped when you reach a certain part of the story with a super thoughtful sticker that says “Open your gift!” Everything will always come as a surprise for you since there’s no way you’ll know what the gift may be beforehand.
Other boxes I’ve heard of are The Bookworm Box, The Bookish Box, Coffee and a Classic, Chocolate and Book, Big Book Lover Boxes, Uppercase Book Box and The Book Hookup (presented by the Strand bookstore in NYC, as pictured below.) Of course, if you simply would like to enjoy some good books without needing anything extra, there are always books-only options for you! Some of my most anticipated boxes include The Willoughby Book Club and Book of the Month.
Up until now, I hope you’ll learn just a little more about this incredibly addictive subscription service. I mean, based on personal experience, when you try one, just one, box out of curiosity, you’ll start wondering about what it’s like to receive other boxes from different book box companies. And then you’ll snag another one simply to see if it lived up to your expectation—from the sneak peeks and all the hypes online—and then the obsession goes all the way down.
Despite the fact that all those book boxes sound exceptionally wonderful, the one and only advice I could give you is that: Always take your budget into consideration. As serious as this may sound, no one wants to be broke after trying out a few boxes simply for a taste of temporary, yet fleeting, euphoria. There’s no denying that book boxes provide us with intense happiness, especially the moment you unbox them, bringing back all the beautiful, nostalgic memories of opening presents on Christmas when you were a kid.
In reality, these boxes usually cost approximately USD20~USD60 (plus shipping) per box, depending on the subscription service you choose. For international subscribers, the delivery fee may cost as much as the box itself in some occasions. Hence, I highly suggest you make a comparison among all the boxes you want/need, weigh your options, and choose wisely before signing up for a subscription. Surely, you could always “gift” yourself a box if you didn’t want to commit to the same box on a regular basis.
To sum up, discovering new bookish subscription boxes and trying them out indeed add some spice to the reading experience and I hope everyone will get a chance to treat yourself to one from time to time. Fun elements aside, don’t forget to set a book-box-buying-budget as balancing your real life and the dreamy bookish life is equally essential. Enough said, I’ll leave you with one of my all-time-favorite quotes from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of bookish merchandise chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna get.” So go have some fun, snag a book box, and let the party begin!
***Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the book boxes mentioned above as they are not paid promotion. All photos in the post are taken by me and all the opinions are my own.***
Thank you so much for reading! Please let me know what you think in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
Happy new year & stay warm!