What Was in the 2nd Book Riot Subscription Box?

March 13, 2014 For Discussion 16

Back in January, I wrote a post to review and discuss the contents of Book Riot’s first subscription box.  (You can check out that post here to see that review and to get a bit of background on subscription boxes.)  Based on the comments on that post, the general consensus seemed to be: “This is a cool idea, but I don’t know if that stuff is worth $50.”  Let’s take a look at the items that just arrived today in Book Riot’s second box, and see if we think I’m getting my money’s worth.



Let’s take a closer look at the individual items:


Last month I received one hardcover.  This month, I got two paperbacks: Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley (“weird classic tale of adventure on a traveling bookstore”) and Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto: (“A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture.”)  OK, so I haven’t heard of either of these, but I can get on board with a book-themed book.

Value per Amazon:
Parnassus on Wheels: $9.00
Judging a Book By Its Lover: $13.36


Next up is a cute Yay! Books! magnet ($2.00 estimate) and a tin of book darts ($6.70).  I’ve never seen book darts before, and it’s the kind of thing that I’d never think to buy for myself, but I think they’re a great idea.  This tin contains 30 darts made of a flexible, metallic material.  They clip onto your pages and can replace Post-Its and those little paper flags (or, God forbid, dog-ears and highlighting) for noting particular passages.  The bottom of the tin is magnetic to help keep the darts from flying around when you open it.  When I’m reading for review purposes, and I want to note a particular passage, I either take a photo of it or I stop to write it down.  I think I’m going to like the book dart method better.


I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t have much use for a coffee mug, but even I can appreciate this Banned Books mug ($12.95)!  In fact, I think I’m going to display it on my bookshelf.  The USB drive contains a video from Jacob Tomsky introducing Short Story Thursdays.  You can sign up at shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com to receive a short story that Jacob will e-mail each Thursday.  I’m going to sign up right now!  There are two short stories on the drive as well, and I’ll value it at $5.00.


And finally, we have this poster ($5.00 estimate).  I’m not sure what, if anything, I’ll do with this.  I have numerous prints I need to get framed before I can hang them, and I’ll need to get to those first.  

Based on actual prices and a couple of estimates, I value this box at $54.00.  Of course, there’s also the value of the excitement of opening the box (which was dimmed a bit, because I couldn’t stop myself from looking at Twitter to see the spoilers.)  I can’t wait to hear what you guys think of this box, since I know a lot of you weren’t that enthusiastic about the last box.  I can definitely say that the non-book items were much better this time.  I obviously can’t give an opinion on the books yet, and I still have not read Lexicon, the book that came in the last box.  This box made made me happy enough to want to continue my subscription, and I hope I can make some time to start reading the books!

You can see my review of the first Book Riot box here.

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?  And how do you think this compares to the last box?


16 Responses to “What Was in the 2nd Book Riot Subscription Box?”

  1. Carrie

    I do think that the value was better this time around – coffee mugs and USB drives are always handy, and the book darts sound cool! The posters though, I think they need to go away. Because they’re folded they aren’t that great for framing and how many people outside of college regularly tape those things to a wall?

    I also wish though that you had at least some control over the book/books that you get the in the box, like maybe a few options for genre to up the odds that you’ll actually read (if not enjoy) the book that comes inside.

    Overall though, the non-book items are still a step up, but I don’t know that if it’s still enough of a good deal to make it worth the price they charge. Maybe at a cheaper price? Or maybe a $20 version where you could get the books only and not the items? More interested than before, but still not quite ready to take the plunge.
    Carrie recently posted…Dangerous Dreams Novella Mini-Review & RantMy Profile

    • Stephanie

      Those are fantastic ideas. I think Book Riot has around 1,500 subscribers, so I’m sure they want to keep the process as automated as possible, but I don’t think those suggestions would be terribly difficult to implement. Especially since there are probably a good number of people who would love to subscribe but are hesitant because they don’t want to end up with books they’d never read.

      • Rebecca Joines Schinsky

        Thanks for subscribing and for sharing the box, Stephanie! We appreciate your enthusiasm and the straightforward feedback. Can’t make any promises, but as the subscription numbers grow, there’s a very good chance we will add other subscription options based on genre and/or a books-only set-up. Stay tuned!

  2. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I think I purely wouldn’t sign up for this kind of thing because I hate surprises. lol I’m SUCH a party-pooper, honestly. But I get given book vouchers for birthday/christmas instead of actual books. 😉 My family knows me too well. STILL. Opening a box is always fun. I’m loving the sound of those book darts! I take photos with my iPod, but usually I’m too lazy to do even that. XD
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (includes nausea and dizziness)My Profile

    • Stephanie

      Awww, the surprise is half the fun! But you’re right – people who don’t attach a value to the surprise part probably won’t get the full value out of these boxes.

  3. Trish @ Between My Lines

    Sounds like a fun box. I don’t think I’d have bought either book bud I’d be happy to flick through them. Love the coffee mug, the USB is handy and the darts are ideal for reviewers. The poster would be a bit of a disappointment though. I’m not sure I think it’s worth $50 but I love the idea of a box of bookish goodness arriving at my door every month. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…Green Giants – Irish Author Spotlight #11: The Cross of Santiago by Evie GaughanMy Profile

    • Stephanie

      I might have found a use for the poster. It’s certainly not something I’d want to display prominently, but I may slap a cheap frame on it. Two of my bookcases are open in the back, and I may hang it on the wall behind my books. Only part of the poster would be visible, and it might look kind of cool.

  4. Kel

    I agree. The non-book items look nice, but I’ll be interested to see what you think of the books they’ve sent. I tend to be at least semi-picky about the books I buy, and I don’t know how I would feel about receiving “mystery books” each month without some sort of genre limitations or something. Now, if you find anyone doing specially curated book boxes with your shelf/reading habits in mind, I would probably crack and give it a try. Regardless, I’m glad this one was less disappointing than the first!
    Kel recently posted…The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (3 stars)My Profile

    • Stephanie

      I would love it if an author would curate one of these boxes. Stephen King pops to mind. I’d love to receive some books that he recommends.

  5. Lianne @ caffeinatedlife.net

    Thanks for sharing the details on this quarterly box! I don’t know if I’d be able to subscribe to their quarterly boxes any time soon but this set has a lot of cool stuff in it 🙂 I especially love that they included a copy of Christopher Morley’s book; I haven’t read that title yet but I did read its sequel, The Haunted Bookshop, and absolutely adored it 🙂 Hope you enjoy that book too! Thanks for sharing this box with us 🙂

  6. Pili

    This looks like a very cool idea, even more with all the non-book but book-related items that you got!
    As for the idea of getting random books like that… it’s cool, but since we all have such congested TBR lists already, I’m not sure I’d be into it much!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #34!!My Profile

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