4 Best Book Subscription Boxes

As a reader, and potentially someone very involved in the Internet book community, it seems like everyone has a subscription to a book. This service usually involves paying once per month or every few months for a book and maybe some good stuff for the books. These goodies consist of snacks, bookmarks, book boards, socks, and maybe more. While there are plenty of great books like Book of the Month and Illumicrate for people who want books and collectibles that have just been dropped, there are many (slightly overlooked) books out there that offer unique services and experiences.

Here are four of the best (and most interesting) book services available to any reader. This includes audiobooks, e-books and interactive puzzles! Please note that I did not include shipping for each of these, and most of them have the option that if you pay for a longer plan, there is a discount – even if I don’t mention it for each one.

Women's Book Club logo.  Photo: Women's Book Club.
(Women’s Book Club)

I think it’s quite clear from the title what this book box is all about. This is a monthly subscription (with quarterly options) with three different tiers that help you balance affordability and clutter. There’s a digital only class ($12), a book only class ($30), and a chest class with all the goodies ($55). All good things come from small women-owned businesses. This club can be something you do passively – like “only” reading the book, but there are also community activities where you vote for upcoming books and participate in Zoom and author conversations.

Several popular services (not on this list) have been called out, and addressed later, the issue of the lack of diversity in authors and their network of influencers – however, this is not one of those boxes. They’ve been doing it great the whole time. The Feminist Book Club also donates 5% of every sale to a social justice-oriented organization each month.

for kids

This list is aimed at readers 16 and up, however, if you want a subscription to the feminist book club for a young reader, see little feminist Book club. They are not affiliated with the feminist book club, but they do have books for ages 0-9.

contact number box

Call Number Box logo (PN 841).  Photo: Call Number Box.
(contact number box)

Founded by a former librarian, Call Number is a book fund that highlights contemporary written works from across the African diaspora. “PN 841” is the contact number (the book’s location is in a library and is usually found in the backbone) of black literature. Many libraries are ditching the Dewey Decimal System, but this is a proper call. This subscription service offers four options and releases squares every three months: fiction, nonfiction, indie, and YA. Last quarter (in their non-fiction subscription) they highlighted one of my favorite books of the past year, Caring for Black Girls Without Care: A Celebration of Black Women in Popular Culture by Zeba Blay. You can check out some of the previous funds here.

Logo of monthly used books with a group of books.  Image: Monthly used books,
(books used monthly)

Subscription boxes are expensive, and a book can be more expensive. This option is better on the wallet and (in theory) better for the environment because these gently used books get new life in a new library. Basically, you pick your favorite genres, and they send you a random book every month. Literary genres include mystery, action/adventure, general fantasy, romance, and general non-fiction. While there are different ways to pay (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually), the levels are broken down by the number of books you wish to receive. You can buy one book ($5.49), two books ($9.99), or four books ($16.99) per month.

Cute delivery pigeon from TBR.  Photo: TBR.
(TBR)

Let me start with this bathroom above, which is not their logo, however, it is on the explanation page, and that is the main drawback of this service. It just rises from here. TBR (to-be-read) is a subscription service in which you provide some information about your reading habits and then a reference scholar (also known as a book expert) selects three titles for you. It’s basically a consulting service, but you can upgrade to receive physical books as well. The most expensive option is $16 per quart (for recommendations only) and the most expensive is $80 per quart (and you’ll receive all hardcovers.) No matter what you choose, all options come with a custom message.

Just like an actual therapist, you may not be welcoming to these people. In this case, you can tell TBR, and they will reset you. It’s your money, but I’ll give it a couple of rounds before switching. Just provide your feedback so they can adapt. Be sure to link to Storygraph or Goodreads, so they don’t pick a book you’ve already read. Many, if not all, bibliographers have written for Bookriot (a gem and also owned by Riot Media), which prioritizes books by underrepresented authors.

(Catch the killer)

Well, technically, this is not a file the book Sign up, but it required a lot of reading (and re-reading), plus the set marked “easy” takes 1-2 hours, so it’s like a short story. It’s also perfect if you’re really into murder mysteries or detective stories. Basically, this signup sends you a box with a bunch of items considered “proof”, and you have to find the killer and his motives. You can choose a monthly plan ($40) or play it in seasons (by paying quarterly, semi-annually, or annually for a discount). With seasons each month, an episode of the story is sent to you. No matter how you play, a full season is six months.

As the most expensive option on this list, if you want to try it first before signing up. I picked up one copy of Death in the Dive Bar At Target two years ago. This is great as an individual experience or for a very small group. If you want more games, subscribing is the way to go, because I only watched 2-3 episodes in stores or online.

(Featured image: Alyssa Shotwell)

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