Don’t judge a book by its cover is an adage that plagues book buyers. While browsing the shelves of a book shop, that statement is constantly gnawing away at them. Attempting to select one book from hundreds on a shelf can be a daunting task, especially if they’re emerging from a long reading slump, and there is a surprising amount of pressure to find the exact book that fits their taste and mood at that particular time. The overabundance of choice can prevent them from taking that first step back into reading or prevent prolific readers from potentially stepping out of their comfort zones and trying new genres or authors. This reluctance is not their fault, neither is it the fault of the bookseller for housing so many books, nor the publisher’s for continuing to support new authors and regularly produce new works. However, there needs to be a medium to support discovery, a method of doing the hard work for the reader and literally landing the right book directly on their doorstep. During the Bookseller’s Children’s Conference, Tom Walker, the CEO and Founder of LoveMyRead, is one of the many people providing a solution to this problem. This solution is book subscription boxes.
The book subscription box or, simply, book box is a popular and exciting subscription service in which an individual pays a monthly or annual fee to a book box subscription provider who selects a book/set of books and potentially some gimmick items, places the contents in a branded box or package, and ships the box directly to the customer. The aspect of the subscription box that makes it a unique method of purchasing a book is that the individual doesn’t know what book they’re receiving until they open up the box. Each book box provider typically has a niche, a unique aspect about their product that differentiates it from their competitors and gives the consumer an idea of what type of product they’ll be receiving. There is a book box for almost any genre, demographic or topic of interest that one can think of. Want a feminist book box containing a book written by a woman or non-binary author? Books That Matter provides exactly that service. Looking for a children’s classic that is accessible for your child? Try the Whimsy and Wonderland Book Club. Maybe you want to know that the book you’re buying is also supporting a charity? Well then ShelterBox, the UK’s first charity book club, will allow you to help fund disaster relief, with a donation of your choice to the charity, and receive a book for your contribution.
Book boxes are more than a trendy product to come in the post once a month, they’re an opportunity for readers to branch out of their comfort zones and to put their reading choices into the hands of others who’ll do their best to provide them with the right book. Book boxes help readers discover new authors, new genres, new opinions, new causes. They are discovery in a box.