So. I think we can all agree that subscription boxes are a thing now, and there’s practically nothing out there that doesn’t have an affiliated box. Last year I broke down and gave Ipsy (a make-up based service) a try for five months. Although I ultimately decided that I wasn’t getting enough products that I liked to continue on, I never did shake the desire for another service. I knew that if I wanted to try again, that I would absolutely go for a book-based service. Problem is, I was having trouble finding one that met my needs because I had a couple of concerns:
- Price – Book based boxes are not cheap with most boxes going for anywhere from $20-$30/box before the cost of shipping
- “Bookish items” – Quite frankly, I don’t really care about these extras. Most of them will either end up gathering dust as clutter or just getting thrown out. This ties back to price as well, as they do increase the cost of the box itself.
- Genre Limits – The boxes mostly serve the biggest genres – contemporary, romance and young adult. Problem is, I don’t really read much in those genres (outside the YA books that are mostly review copies) so a box that is for them doesn’t really appeal.
Enter Bookcase.club, a box that seems almost tailor made for me.
- Price – a very reasonable $9.99/month +$5 SH for two new books which may include hardbacks! The focus seems to be on backlist titles that maybe didn’t get as much fanfare, which is a bonus.
- No bookish items. I can see how that would be a deterrent to some, but I honestly rather the money go towards books, so I see this as a big plus.
- All the genre choice. As of the writing of this post, you can pick from: romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi/fantasy, young adult, mystery/thriller, or children’s picture books (of which you get four). As an added bonus, you can change your genre at practically anytime – or so the website claims. I’m finding the process a little confusing (a bit on that in a moment) but I do like the promise of flexibility.
- Bonus charity support: they donate one new book for every new/recurring subscription.
So how did my first month go?
I placed my order on February 28th. Given the way these things normally work, I have expected to be told I’d start with the April box, but nope! On February 29th I received my tracking number! The box didn’t arrive until 3/8, 8 days since tracking went out. A bit on the long end, but there was weather back east and it did seem to delay other packages from the East Coast so I’m hoping that it doesn’t normally take quite that long. I will say that their support team is pretty fast to respond to inquiries, which is a nice plus.
The packaging isn’t as flash as Ipsy’s signature hot-pink bubble mailers, but it’s definitely nice and sturdy. For the crease on the front, the books arrived in pristine condition. The books themselves were surrounded by some heavy paper to keep them from slipping and sliding. I’ve got no complaints.
The box is definitely as advertised: no frills here. I do wish the card that was included with the box gave a reason for the selections, instead of an abbreviated synopsis. This box is touted as being “personally curated”, so I’d love to know what the curator enjoyed about these particulars books.
Especially because…well…I’m kind of underwhelmed by the selections this month.
The Gillian Anderson co-authored book is about a child psychologist who happens to get embroiled in some very X-File-esque things. Mmmhmm. It also holds a 3.30 on Goodreads right now which is pretty terrible by the unofficial rating scale of under 3.5 = fail.
Fortune’s Pawn seems to hold more promise – female driven space adventure – but hardly mold-breaking science fiction. While clearly neither book was a huge hit, there’s nothing about either book that necessarily makes me feel like these were overlooked gems – and I think the cards talking about why they picked those books could help with that.
All told, while I might give Fortune’s Pawn a chance, A Vision of Fire doesn’t call to me at all and I’ll probably be giving it to the Goodwill the next time I do a shelf-clean up.
I’m also not entirely thrilled that both books were science fiction, as I was hoping for some fantasy this month.That aside I do like that this box sent two first-of-series books, and I wonder if they’d do the same with their other boxes. It’s part of the reason I wanted to give the paranormal romance box a shot, the other reason just curiosity to see what they would send. The website is a bit confusing though, and it appears that if I want to change the theme that I’ll need to do a new subscription. I’ve reached out to the company and will update the post when I figure out how that works.
Finally, as far as a value goes it’s okay, it’s nothing to write home about, as you’d pay the same amount or a little less for these books through other book jobbers (think BookOutlet.com). You’re paying for the curation, so if the picks are underwhelming, you lose the value of a box like this.
Since I did do a pre-pay for three months, I’ll go ahead and see how these play out and reassess. Hopefully next month will have books that feel like they were worth picking up, as opposed to books that just happened to be cheap for them to get their hands on. I’m a bit underwhelmed, but there’s still time to change my mind!
Do you subscribe to a book club? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments below!