Book Box Subscriptions. Yay or Nay? Let’s Discuss.

Posted September 7, 2018 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 76 Comments

I’ve only tried a few book box subscriptions, but determined that they’re not for me. There are a few reasons for this:

  • I’m disappointed when I get books I already have. The first book box that I ever got was a Page Habit box, and I LOVE the idea behind this box! It includes an annotated book. What could be better right. When I got my first box, I was so excited. I opened the box … and it was a book I’d already read. Not even just a book I’d already read, but one I was only meh about (it wasn’t bad, but not fantastic either, and not a book I was interested in reading again.). My excitement deflated.
  • I’m not all that excited about swag. I know this might make me like a bookish heretic, but I’m generally not crazy about swag. I do love pins and buttons, and I don’t mind bookmarks, but most other swag doesn’t interest me. In fact, I end up just wondering what to do with it and it ends up in a drawer somewhere. Sorry!
  • Or the other random book box knickknacks. Actually, I take that back. I like all of these types of things, even the swag. I think it’s adorable and fun, and when I open the box, I ooh and aah over it all. But then … I sort of stare at it and once again wonder what to do with it. Into the drawer it goes.
  • Sometimes I get books I’m just not interested in. One of the boxes I  got included a “bonus” book, but it was a random adult book that I know I’ll never read. I ended up just donating it somewhere, which was fine I suppose but it sat on my shelf for forever.

Anyway, I decided pretty quickly that book boxes just aren’t my thing. I can’t justify the cost when a lot of the stuff I get ends up being stuff I don’t really want. But I did think the surprise aspect was fun, and I can totally see the appeal. Sometimes I see a box that someone got, and I’m completely jealous and I think about trying them again. Maybe someday … who knows?

Are you a fan of book boxes? What’s the best book box you ever received? I want to know!


76 responses to “Book Box Subscriptions. Yay or Nay? Let’s Discuss.

    • I did get one cute tote bag—but then for some reason they sent the SAME tote bag in another (slightly different type of) box. That was a little annoying. Plus, I have so many totes from bookish events that I’m a bit overloaded. But I will say that totes and mugs are favorites (and buttons—I put them on one of my totes).

  1. I’ve never tried a subscription box, but I have looked at them. The only ones that interest me are based in the UK. Shipping to the US costs more than the box. I’d want a books-only box. I don’t have space to keep swag. It would just sit around until I donated it.

  2. Eh. Not really for me. There are only a few books that I’d really want the swag kinda stuff for anyway, and I preorder those books because I want to read them on release day. I don’t want to wait for them.

  3. I know it would not be my thing, because, I really don’t read physical books. Bad eyes, can’t rely on the print being big enough. I just avoid physical books for the most part. I like looking at other people’s swag, but I am not a collector of things. I like to keep things simple. Some may call me spartan, but I’m ok with that.

    Sam@WLABB recently posted: Discussion: Identity Crisis!
  4. I love the idea too, but I’m too picky about books for book boxes. So I’d most likely not even want the book. And I never know what to do with bookish swag either. I don’t do bookstagram, and I used to love cool knick-knacks but don’t have space for all my stuff as it is with my current living situation. Occasionally I see something in an unboxing that’s really awesome, but you never know what you’re gonna get ahead of time, so they’re not for me either!

  5. I am eh on them I guess. I agree about random little swag. I do get Book of the Month which is just the book and I like that. I am trying Shelflove Reads for three months – first month is this month – because IG totally got me. I am hoping it isn’t a book I already have!! Also hoping the other items are a bit better than some just little trinkets. We will see!

  6. Yeah, I’m back and forth on book boxes myself. Primarily because, like you said, I might get a book I already have. Or I might get a book that’s completely outside my reading genre and I wouldn’t want to read it. I think the swag can be cool sometimes. I’ve found myself buying pieces of it when the websites start selling the extras because they came from a box I knew I wouldn’t want based on the hints about the book. I’m happy to get those bits.

    But yeah, like you said, what does one do with all the swag? I’ve always been happy collecting it over the years, but yeah…it sits in a box. Though I’ve recently bought a pin banner where I’ve put some buttons on it. I’ve another one coming that I’ll put enamel pins on. I put a bunch of buttons on a totebag too, but I never use the tote anymore because of all the buttons and not wanting to lose any…or cut myself against a loose pin! Lol.

    I’ve seen some people turn their bookmark and postcards into a large poster in a frame! I think that’s cool…I just no longer have the wall space. There are still some pieces of swag that I just really like, like the recent poker chips (though I did see that I had a random two from RT 2012!). I do enjoy the bookish jewelry too! I like wearing them to book events and seeing if anyone recognizes them. Sadly, Hebel Design–where I bought like 90% of my jewelry stopped making just about every bookish piece except for Shadowhunters which was never a series I could get into.

    Owl Crate has been the only box I’ve bought. I tried one once before in their Beauty and the Beast special but I was left feeling meh over the book choices and the swag for the most part too. Though I do use the jewelry box from one of them for my “casual”/”fun” necklaces! I also bought the Catwoman Lit Joy Crate and was kind of meh over the majority of the swag pieces! Luckily I knew what book I was getting!! Lol.

    I still keep my Owl Crate subscription but I’ve been skipping a lot of them lately because I know the book isn’t one I will want to read. Hoping for something good for October though!

  7. I love to watch other people unbox their subscription boxes, but as of yet, I haven’t subscribed to one of my own. I honestly don’t collect much bookish swag so I feel like the boxes probably wouldn’t be the best use of my book budget money.

  8. I feel the same, Nicole! I was actually thinking about writing a post like this, too! Anyway, I tried a few different boxes and they’re just not for me. I always end up with books that I don’t have any interest in. And some of the knick-knacks aren’t things that I necessarily like. 🙁

    I like that it’s an awesome business but I can’t rationalize the monthly expense for something that I won’t read.

  9. Nicole this was just the post that I needed as I was pondering keeping my Fairyloot Subscription or not! I recognize myself in all that you’ve said so I’ve just decided to stop my monthly subscription. Maybe I’ll still buy some boxes but not all like I do now.

  10. I’ve tried three different subscription boxes, but now all my monthly subscriptions are cancelled. I quite liked receiving them, but more often than not the swag and bookish items would end up disappointing me – what would I do with a bath bomb (I don’t have a bathtub)or with coffee beans (I’m allergic to coffee)? The items aren’t very practical.

  11. I’ve kind of wanted to try book subscription boxes for a while now, but they’re often so expensive (particularly the shipping, if it’s not from the UK), and it’s a waste of money if it comes and the book isn’t something you’re interested in, or is something you already have. I do like bookmarks and pins and things, but then I always think I could just go online and buy specific ones I want?
    Maybe I’ll try one at some point, if there’s a specific one that really appeals to me, but otherwise I probably won’t bother. Great post! 🙂

  12. I don’t really think that book boxes are for me either. I want to like them but the one that I did try was a real disappointment. I wasn’t thrilled with the book (still have not read it) and I am not a fan of swag. I mean swag is fun to look at but then what. I am the one in my house trying to purge the family’s crap so I try not to add this kind of thing to the house in the first place. I would probably have better luck if I knew the book that would be in the box going in and if the extras were all socks or something that would actually be useful. My need for temporary tattoos is minimal to say the least 🙂

    Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #135
  13. I did Owl Crate for a few months and while I liked it, it was a bit pricey and I didn’t really love any of the books I got. However, the books seem to be getting better so I think I’d really it these days. And I like bookish swag, but if it’s for a book I haven’t read, it can be kind of a bummer because it’s like “what to do with this?” I guess you could use it for a giveaway or something. I think buying a box here and there would be fun, but we’ll see. You might want to look into Book of the Month though. No swag – just a book, and you get to choose from a list of like 4 or 5! I think that would be great.


  14. So, I am mostly just too poor to buy them, and I feel like if I DID have the money, I would… and then I would feel exactly the same as you do ? Because I pre-order the stuff I really want that I don’t have for review so… what even is LEFT for me to get in a subscription box? Because while I love swag in theory, just like you, I haven’t a clue what to do with most of it (unless, again, I buy it for myself ha). What I REALLY want is someone to create a bunch of useful The 100 stuff and send it to me. This was a great post- because I seriously changed my opinion, like- at first thought I was like “YAY book boxes” but now I am like “Shannon, calm down, you’d only have wasted money” hahah

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Reviews in a Minute: September Shenanigans
    • Yes, I have been so tempted by them when I see them on other people’s blogs or on Bookstagram, but then when I actually did it, it was … underwhelming. Disappointing, even. And I don’t think it was anything bad about the company I chose. They’re just the type of thing that I liked much more in theory than in reality.

  15. I’ve never actually gotten a subscription box, because I just can’t justify the cost with the risk of not liking or needing what’s in it. I agree, swag is fun in theory, but do I need more stuff to put in a drawer? no. And as for the books themselves, I also don’t want a book I’ve already read, or don’t want to read.

    I do like the annotation idea. And if there were a subscription series that was amazing at searching out unknown authors/books that I would never find on my own, and were exactly to my taste, I’d be tempted. But there aren’t many mind-readers out there!

    • The annotation idea made PageHabit really unique and it ALMOST made it worth it for me … but in the end it couldn’t overcome my other issues. I wish I could have just gotten the books.

      Oh, ironically, I just checked out their site, and it looks like they went out of business as of the end of August. Too bad their annotation idea couldn’t sustain them. 🙁

  16. This is such a great discussion ide 🙂 I have never gotten a bookish subscription box, because the shipping costs for me are way too expensive, almost as much as the box’s price, so I would rather get three books than pay for one bookish box. Moreover, I am always scared of getting a book I might not enjoy and, except from my favorite books ever or really unique kind of swag, I am not generally such a fan of swag, so… I feel like book boxes are not really for me 🙂

    • Shipping would be a definite factor—I can certainly see that. I’m surprised that most people seem to be on our side of this—I thought there were a lot more people who love the boxes. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe they’d be better for non-bloggers, at least as far as the books go, because non-bloggers might not already have a lot of the newest releases.

  17. I’ve never subscribed to a book box. I’ve considered it, but decided I’m just not interested. I already get review copies, so when I’m not reading a review copy, I want to CHOOSE the book I’m going to read next – you know? I don’t need more books that I feel OBLIGATED to read when there are so many books that I WANT to read now!

    Makeup boxes, however, are totally for me!! 🙂

    Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations recently posted: Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
  18. I’ve always wanted to subscribe to a book box, but could never justify the cost. Like you I dislike swag. In my opinion it just a little extra junk I need. And I’m always afraid I’m going to get something I just don’t want.

  19. My issue is that so many of them tend to be super hyped YA books that I’m just not that into. (Sorry?) And a lot of the swag is for YA series that I never read so I don’t get hyped about. I guess I’m not into many mainstream book fandoms (besides HP). I also am not a big candles person, and I don’t really wear jewelry, so… Yeah, I’ve found they’re not really for me either. I like the surprise presents feeling of them, but then most of the stuff winds up in a drawer – or regifted, haha. 🙂

  20. I absolutely LOVE the unboxings posted on the blogospehere especially when they are videos like on booksatagram or BookTube nothing like opening a box with bookish treasures BUT I cam’t afford them! I mean I CAN but I have an strict budget for this hobby of mine and it doesn’t allow that. I mostly read from the library and the books I do own are mostly ARCs or giveaway prizes.

  21. I love seeing the unboxings and all the fun stuff but in all honesty… what would I do with all the swag? Admire it briefly and then it would sit! I might really appreciate the occasional Funko or mug or whatever, but largely I wouldn’t have a lot of use for it. So they’re not really my thing, even though they look super fun!

    • Yes, that was exactly my experience. I did get a few things that I really loved, but most of it is stuff I won’t use and it ends up in a drawer somewhere. Because of that, I just couldn’t justify doing the boxes for long, even though I LOVED the idea of the annotated book (it would be nice if they had a cheaper option with the book only).

  22. So here’s the thing. I have an unhealthy obsession with subscription boxes in general. Like I love the idea of receiving a surprise present that you bought for yourself in the mail! Except I have all the same issues that you have, all the knick-knacks go into my desk drawer, and I’m occasionally disappointed by the book. But I’m a creature of habit, so every now and then I’ll splurge for a new box just to try it out.

    Chana @ Paper Procrastinators recently posted: Binge Reading
  23. Honestly, I have never purchased one and I’m pretty confident they are not for me. There are many reasons for this, but mainly, I don’t like knowing what I am getting before it gets there. LOL

  24. I’ve tried a few book boxes and they aren’t totally for me (so many are monthly and I do not have the time to be reading all those books). My issues are that a lot are US based so shipping is killer, there are a couple of really awesome UK based ones now, though, and I do love that. Next is the fact you know nothing about what book is coming so you end up with ones you aren’t interested in which sucks. I get the Illumicrate box and the past two boxes I’ve had ‘meh’ books that I am probably never going to read. I was enjoying that there are a lot more fantasy type books in the box and the fact it’s quarterly but a lot fo the swag doesn’t appeal either. Illumicrate is now the only box I get and I do like it’s less frequent as I feel like there’s a bit more thought and effort put into each box but I am slowly finding my tastes and the boxes books are diverging. I have been buying since it was released though so am determined to give it a chance as I have also had some fabulous books in that box. Hopefully, I just had a bad couple of boxes and things will look up. Now I just need to find more room for swag.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 02.09.2018
  25. Totally get your thoughts here. Book boxes are pricey and I’d rather just use that money to buy books I know I’ll like/don’t already own? Also, it may be blasphemous but sometimes I find the items that come in them a little…junky.

  26. Jo

    I’ve never tried a book subscription box because they are just too expensive for me, and as a book blogger, there is a high chance I’ll have read or already own the book. I think they’re really awesome, and I get excited about the swag (I do like swag – even if it all just goes in my swag box in the end and sits there, I do like getting it), but swag isn’t really needed, and if I can always get the book cheaper without all the extra stuff if it’s a book I don’t have.

    However, I do think they’re a good idea for those who aren’t book bloggers/booktubers, and don’t have as much access to books as we do. I think it would make a great Christmas present for a teenager, who can’t necessarily afford to buy books all the time. I think they’re a great idea. But I also think perhaps there are too many now? Which do you choose? I think it could be overwhelming.

    • You make a really good point. I think book boxes are better for non-bloggers and people who aren’t already reading all the newest books (or at least, all the ones they can!). And I agree that book boxes would make a fantastic gift for a teen (though they’re a bit pricey in the long term). I LOVED the idea of the annotated books. I just ended up being disappointed with the couple I got.

  27. Yeah, I’m with you. There’s not all that many UK-delivering book boxes anyway, but aside from that I have neither the room for more stuff, nor the money to spend on something like that every month! I plan most of my book purchases carefully (like, I spend months considering what I’m buying,) b/c I want the best value for money! The only time I don’t plan things out is when I buy from bargain shops (I snagged The Hate U Give for £3!) or charity shops (4 for £1 – I’m there! Lol.)

  28. Jen

    I have yet to try a book box because I’m a really picky person when it comes to books. If I get a book I’m not ever going to read, I know I’ll be hugely disappointed. And if I get a book I already have, again I’ll be hugely disappointed. I’m more of a sure thing kinda person when it comes to making purchases, so unless I know exactly what I’ll be getting I don’t ever see myself trying a book box.

  29. Thought I’d commented on this, but don’t see my comment above, so maybe I just saved the email with the link to this and never went back. Oh well. Honestly, I think this idea is so neat, all the goodies that come with the boxes, etc. However, I’m a poor reader. I don’t want to be surprised and have it be something I already have, or a book I don’t like. I’m also very particular. I might read a lot of books, but I am very picky about which books I read, based on my personal likes and dislikes. There are just so many books out there to read, that I don’t have time to read ones I don’t enjoy. And of course the thing about money. I can’t afford $20-$30 or more a month on a box that I don’t know what I’m getting. I don’t know when or if I have money for books every month, and my book buying gets based on that. Great post!

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Discussion Post: Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover, or a Narrator by their Voice
    • I do that all the time—I’ll think I commented on a post but then when I look back at it, there’s no comment. I’ll end up scratching my head, thinking I’m crazy, but most of the time I think I probably just composed a reply in my head and got distracted before it makes it to the page. LOL!

  30. To be honest, I’ve never ordered a book subscription box, because the shipping to where I live (Hungary) is ridiculously expensive. Here the boxes that exist – I only know of one monthly box actually – are just not as good as the UK or US ones. I used to be pretty bummed about not having a chance to get a subscription box, but I think I’ve gotten over it by now. Some of the stuff can be super-cool in it, but like you said, a lot of it is impossible to use in your life, and then justifying the cost of the box becomes hard.

    Great discussion!

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