I may well be very, Very, VE-HHERY late to this idea but I really am in a tizzy over it. There is no point in me gushing over the beauty of the thing, it speaks for itself- Book with Subscription forms a harmony of heavenly melodies to any bookster, tiny or otherwise! Still, for many of us, they remain a distant thing of beauty just out of reach for a number of different reasons; expense, time, ignorance (the acceptable kind!), lifestyle, location, Mathew, Mark, Luke or John and frankly any oddly specific reason you can think of. The point is, they’re all perfectly valid and for me, I think it might be a combination of all the above. I’m not particularly affluent, I have young booklings, I have a health condition and like many of you, a million and one other chores, demands and deadlines I need to meet. Also, bathe…
But enough is enough tiny people! I am bravely going where countless nerds have been going for decades. I will be scorching my feet along the trails blazed by genuine pioneers and soothing them on the previously unknown paths now beaten down to silk roads. That’s right, I’m going to subscribe to a book subscription so that my subscription book can sing its sweet music every month when my book subscription reaches my subscribed front door…and after I make the same victory speech silently to myself on my way to the armchair that makes up for everything, I will sit for an entire 5 minutes in complete bliss before the towns-people start their rounds.
It would be remiss of me not to mention some of the places I’ve found during my travels so here’s a quick list of a few that are worth a look-in at least, even if you’re not quite ready to make that commitment just yet. Please feel free, in fact, I highly encourage you to add to the list as this is by no means an exhaustive one. Neither is it an international one so I would love to hear about the awesome book subscriptions in your neck of the woods.
Book and a Brew This beauty is either at £12 per month as a regular subscription or £14.99 as a one-off gift box- BUT, get this, you also have a £9.99 option for backlist options they might have still in stock! I love this and have just ordered me a copy of John Horner Jacobs’s The Incorruptibles and added the link directly to their past shelf here. Oh, and the “brew” bit is exactly that, a brew. For the tea takers amongst us, it’s an experience you’re getting here, not just a beautiful hardback.
Prudence and the Crow At £15 per month, you are looking at a vintage bargain. The books are second hand so if you enjoy a good charity shop or doctor’s waiting room book haul, then these might just be the folks for you. You may well feel a used book from a thrift store isn’t what you’d call a bargain at £15, but when you factor in their bespoke service tailoring each subscription to the individual’s tastes, the time and energy saved in having it picked and delivered to your door and the other little goodies they sneak in with each box, it’s well worth every penny, every time.
Persephone Books is, for me, “The Chosen One”. I say this because when I first came across them looking for indie publishers, I kid you not, I got goosebumps. You know that feeling when you don’t realise what you’re looking for until you find it? Well, this was that for me! Reprints of mainly female neglected titles from the past in simply gorgeous monochromatic grey jackets that strip away the commercial claptrap and get back to the craft are something worth celebrating. Persephone’s understated beauty and commitment to its niche are, in my opinion, worth every penny. Starting at as little as £11 per book when you buy 3 (or £13 individually) in store, they offer annual and biannual subscriptions with a £2.50 delivery charge it works out at £162 p/a or £81 biannually. Admittedly, not everybody will have the visceral reaction I did (there’s nowt so queer as folk…) but it is definitely worth subscribing to the in-house magazine Persephone Biannually which does exactly what it says on the tin and have a flick through their catalogue.
Illumicrate The thing with illumicrate is that it’s quarterly so it’s actually a divine thing to forget (if at all possible) about it and savour the butterflies in your stomach a fresh everytime you receive one. The £29.99 per box is more than a hair higher than the previous few but you will be amazed at the quality of what you get for it and again, because it’s a quarterly price rather than a monthly one, the pinch is not quite so painful! check out some of their previous boxes to get an idea of what’s on offer here .
Fairy Loot Fairy Loot is a corker of a subscription and a damn difficult one to nab a single or stand-alone purchase on. The £26 + £3.95 shipping per month can be something of a stretch for most budgets but with a bit of frugal financial tweaking, it’s not impossible and it’s most definitely a little treasure trove. They also offer special edition boxes at around £60 which might be worth looking out for should a particularly relevant theme become a feature. It’s squarely YA Fantasy fiction and proud of it!
Rare Birds Book Club This is probably the simplest in the list. It’s either a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription or a rolling monthly fee for as long as you require. It’s always every £10 and founder, Rachel, has very helpfully made it clear she deals in “contemporary women’s fiction” and always features a female protagonist. At RBBC you also get to join in the discussions as an honorary Rare Bird member of the online book club where P.J’s are allowed and nobodies giving your [INSERT DRINK CHOICE HERE] the side-eye… Like Book and a Brew, you can pick up a past title or recommendations from their Bookshelf where postage is charged separately.
Random Book Club True to its no-nonsense Scottish roots, the biggest second-hand bookstore in Scotland offers a years subscription at £59. Nope, that’s not a typo, the entire year, plus postage in the UK is a single payment of £59. And when they call it random, they mean it! In their own words, “You’ll either love it or hate it” and that’s that. Split roughly down the middle of both fiction and non-fiction is about as specific as they get so if I were you I’d strap in for what’s going to be an interesting ride. I didn’t waste any time signing up and I thoroughly encourage you to check out The Book Shop they come from.
There are many more and I’ve added a few below but these are so far what I consider to be worth considering =)
What have I missed? Let me know below…