Many of you are likely familiar with the Book Riot website. You may be less familiar with “subscription boxes,” so I’ll take a moment to explain. Imagine a mystery box of goodies that shows up on your doorstep every month or three months. You pay a fixed amount for a subscription without knowing what you will receive, but you are assured that the value of all the goods in the box will exceed the cost of your subscription. I’d heard of subscription boxes before Book Riot decided to take part, but I was never interested enough to subscribe to any. There are boxes for just about any kind of product you can imagine; some are focused on food, or beauty products, or fashion products, or even items for your dog.
A few months ago, I saw a tweet from Book Riot announcing their collaboration with a company called Quarterly. Quarterly has various “curators” who put together some of their favorite items for subscription boxes. The various curators include Nina Garcia, Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” Pharrell Williams, and several NFL players. I started to get very intrigued, and after subscribing to Book Riot’s box, I also subscribed to Nina’s and several others. I then subscribed to boxes on other sites, including Love With Food and Popsugar. (Note: both of those links include referral codes.) You could say I’ve developed a subscription box addiction, and I’m hoping this addiction begins to ease, because it’s not a cheap habit to maintain.
The Book Riot box finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I unwrapped it with excitement, wondering what kind of bookish goodies I would find.
Like Brad Pitt, I asked myself:
WHAT’S IN THE BOOOOOX????
And here we have it…
Let’s take a closer look at the individual items:
The highlight of the box is the annotated hardcover of Lexicon by Max Barry: List Price: $27; Amazon: $20. (I’m including prices because these boxes promise to deliver value exceeding the cost – $50, in this case. Of course, a signed and/or annotated book has a value beyond its list price, but that value will differ for everyone, so we’ll stick with the base price.) I actually already own this book, although I have not yet read it. But this annotated version is very special, of course. I’ve seen authors do giveaways for annotated copies of their books, and I think that’s such a wonderful idea. I’m someone who always watches the Blu-Ray special features, so this behind-the-scenes stuff is very appealing to me.
If I may sound greedy for a moment, I would have LOVED it if the notes were written in the book, rather than on Post-Its. I understand why it was done this way, though. I don’t know how many boxes Book Riot sold, but it may have been physically impossible for the author to annotate all of these books. Although, if he personally wrote all of these Post-Its, rather than getting them photocopied in some way, it seems like it would not have been TOO much additional effort to have the books done by hand. This would also involve additional cost (possibly significant), however, and time in getting the books back and forth to the author. To be clear, I’m not complaining about the Post-Its, because I think they are a wonderful addition to the book, especially considering the relatively small amount of money I paid. Like I said, I’m just expressing my greedy wishes.
I have not yet decided what to do with either of these items. I don’t use these little desk calendars, but if I was to start, it may as well be one for book lovers! And if I wanted to use these pencils, I’d have to hunt down a pencil sharpener.
ARC Excerpt of Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney: $1 (?) This is a cute idea for a book excerpt. I tend to avoid excerpts, however, simply because I don’t want to get myself overly excited about a book that has a while to be released.
ee Cummings Mini Notebook: $6 This little, pocket-sized notebook consists of about 20 blank, lined pages. I don’t know what would be the best use of it: maybe a few grocery lists?
Poster: $5 (estimate) Finally, we have this posted based on the book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope. I hadn’t heard of this book, but there are lots of great reviews on Goodreads. I may give this poster to a relative who is a huge Star Wars fan.
The big question is: Was this box worth my $50? The retail value of the items (including some of my estimates) is $60. A more realistic value, based on Amazon pricing for some of the items, is $47. As I’ve mentioned, this does not include the variable value of the annotations. For me, there’s also a value attached to the excitement of opening these boxes, although now that I’ve subscribed to about 10 different boxes, I expect that to diminish. If I was to walk into a store with my credit card, the only item above I would consider purchasing is the book. Without having read it yet, I can’t say what I would be willing to pay for it, but if the synopsis and reviews are an indication, I expect to like it.
For now, I’m going to keep my subscription to Book Riot’s box. If the non-book items continue to be outside my taste, however, I will have to cancel.
Now, let me hear from you! Do you think I got my money’s worth? What do you think of the concept of subscription boxes? Do you subscribe to any?