Do Book Subscriptions Make Good Gifts?

So, it’s December! Does anyone else feel as though time this year has moved strangely? The events of 2020 have been pretty wild at times, and so as Christmas draws ever nearer, you may be having mixed emotions. But for me, I’m excited for the season. It’s good to celebrate and remember the good things, especially in what has been a rather tumultous year.

One thing many people have reflected to me is that they got a lot more reading done in 2020! Lockdowns really meant that for many of us, books were a great source of escapism. I’m glad whenever I hear that someone has rediscovered (or discovered for the first time) their love of books.

With this in mind, today’s post is looking at a gift option you might be considering this holiday season.

What Is a Book Subscription?

A book subscription, or ‘book box’ is like many other subscription services! Subscribers have the opportunity to purchase a package with a selected book on a regular basis. Usually a range of subscription options are offered by companies — whether it’s once off, six monthly, or a year. A book will arrive on your doorstep, sometimes accompanied with other products.

What’s Included in a Book Subscription?

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but it’s standard to receive a book in book subscriptions. There are a range of subscription companies out there that cater to different genres. Whether you (or the person you’re buying for) are fan of romance, classics, horror or YA fantasy — there’s something out there for you.

Often, book subscriptions have the option of including some additional gifts along with the book. These may be related to the genre, self-care in nature or other bookish gifts. Examples could include: candles, bath bombs, bookmarks, artwork and enamel pins. Some book boxes

Why consider a book box as a gift?

Book boxes can be a fantastic gift for readers in your life. Particularly if they enjoy surprises, or picking up books they may not be familiar with. It’s a fun opportunity to encourage diverse reading and discover some new favourite authors!

The Mister purchased a book subscription to Once Upon a Book Club for me as a birthday gift and it was fantastic. I enjoyed that a thoughtfully selected book was chosen each month for me. It was convenient and fun and some of my favourite reads of the year have come through through the subscription.

Are there any negatives to book subscriptions?

Depending on where you live, book boxes can be expensive. Factor the cost of shipping when choosing a book subscription to give as a gift. Living in Australia, shipping can sometimes be as much as the subscription itself.

Occasionally, you also may receive items along with the book that are not something your recipient is likely to use. Quality can vary sometimes, so it’s a good idea to check out what has been included in the past boxes of a book subscription service you’re considering.

Australian book subscription options?

With the rise in book subscription popularity, there’s been a surge in book box companies around the world. If you live in Australia, like me, below are a few quality boxes that are Australian based. By supporting local businesses you’ll save on shipping (and make a small business owner very happy!)

  • No Shelf Control – Australian based book box. Features a mix of traditional and indie published authors. Perfect for fans of the fantasy genre.
  • One More Chapter – Brand new Australian book box launching 2021. Gifts co-ordinate with page numbers, for readers to open as they read (or when they receive the box!).
  • Rest and Relax – Australian custom blind date with a book. Sustainably sourced quality second hand books. Paired with beautiful self-care packages. Purchase from the clues, or contact the owner, Jet to organise the perfect custom package! (I’ve given these as baby shower, and Mothers Day presents and they’ve been a hit).
  • Relove Print – Eco-focused Relove print is one of the most affordable book subscription services around. While they have had some mixed reviews in recent times, my own experience of their service has been very positive.

How to know if I’m choosing the right book subscription?

Ultimately, book subscriptions are a lot of fun! If you have an avid reader in your life (or you are one) a book box is a worth trying. You may find it useful to think about the genres you enjoy, your budget, and whether you’d like additional gifts and do some research.

Considering purchasing a once off subscription, that way your reader can try it out without the bigger financial investment if it’s not for them.

Final thoughts

Have you tried a book subscription before? Which one? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below! I’d also love to hear how you’re celebrating the holiday season.

If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing to the blog for more bookish content and reviews.

Haven’t had enough books? Come say hi to me on social media by searching @stephhuddlestonwriting or by clicking the buttons below.

Are Book Subscriptions Good Value? Once Upon a Book Club

Perhaps you’ve heard of book reading subscriptions, book boxes or book subscriptions and you think they sound cool. But are book subscriptions good value for money?

There are various kinds of book boxes, from young adult book boxes, adult book boxes and genre specific boxes such as romance or mystery.

Today I’ll be reviewing the Once Upon a Book Club book box and assessing it’s value for money. To help you make informed decision about whether you’d like to try this book box for yourself.

In this post I will be sharing a discount code for my readers.

What is Once Upon a Book Club?

Book subscriptions or book boxes are services you can sign up for and pay to receive a book that has been selected on your behalf on a regular basis. In this post I’ll be using the terms ‘book box’ and ‘book subscription’ interchangeably.

Once Upon a Book Club is an online interactive book subscription service that sends readers a newly released book as well as 3-5 gifts.

These gifts are where this subscription box differs from most others. The gifts are individually wrapped and have a number on the packaging that corresponds to a page number within the title sent in the book box.

The gifts relate to the story in some way, and you are prompted to open them upon reaching the related page number. You’re not supposed to open the gifts until you reach the page number that corresponds!

This makes the reading experience unique and brings the story to life by allowing you to hold an object that is within the book you’re reading. In this way you can really ‘become’ the character.

What is in a book box?

Typically in a book subscription box there is the title you have ordered, as well as several gift items. Book only book subscription services do exist.

Once Upon a Book Club offers YA book subscriptions and adult book subscriptions. The books included in the adult boxes are new releases (published in the last three months) in the genres of:

  • Women’s fiction
  • Magical realism
  • Mystery & Thriller
  • Romance
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Historical Fiction

Once Upon a Book Club box is curated by women, typically for women, so many of the titles are books written by women and the gifts are targeted for females.

The YA book subscription box by Once Upon a Book Club includes a newly released title (published in the last three months). The books included in the YA book subscription box are selected from several genres, including:

  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-fi
  • Magical Realism
  • Mystery & Thriller

The gifts within both the adult book subscription box and the young adult book subscription box are high quality. Gifts included are a mix of useful items and story specific items.

Story specific items mean that whilst the gift doesn’t have a big dollar value, it adds to the reading experience and is significant to the story. These may be a letter, postcard or photograph for example.

Useful items are high quality items that can be used and enjoyed by readers well after finishing the last page of the story. I have received handbags, scarves and household items.

Each box includes a book and several gifts labelled with page numbers.

How much does Once Upon a Book Club cost?

Once Upon a Book Club costs $34.99 per month USD plus shipping. Shipping within the USA cost $10USD, shipping to Canada: $20USD. The rest of the world cost $36.50USD.

This does mean this book subscription box is on the higher end price wise. Especially if you live outside the USA.

You can purchase a once off box, or three monthly, six monthly or ongoing subscript

Is Once Upon a Book Club good value?

I received my subscription for Once Upon a Book Club as a birthday gift from my husband. We live outside the USA so it was a bigger expense for us. I was unsure if the cost would be worth it, as each month works out to around $90.

I was however, really amazed by this subscription box. The books have all been wonderful, and something I may not have necessarily picked up on my own otherwise.

The reading experience is unlike anything I’ve had before. Opening and discovering each gift immerses you deeply within the book. I want to keep reading on to open the next gift, so I fly through reading each book.

The gift items have been very high-quality and thoughtful. This is what I think sealed my appreciation for this box. This isn’t just a junky box filled with bits of paper or fan items you won’t use longterm.

I’ve used the bags included in the boxes on a number of occasions, and had a lot of compliments. My favourite scarf came from the January 2020 subscription box. These items are lovely in and of themselves, but they also remind me of the story as I use them, and that makes them special.

I would say that the high price point has been worth it for this subscription box. The usefulness in particular of the gifts included, as well as the top-notch quality books included has made this one of my favourite subscription services.

Another wonderful thing about this book subscription is the way it has connected me with fellow readers and authors. Upon joining you are invited to join a facebook group filled with fellow subscribers, and can watch and interact with author Q&A sessions.

This scarf and engraved compass were included in the January 2020 box.

Is Once Upon a Book Club right for you?

I would recommend Once Upon a Book Club if you’re looking for a book subscription service that offers a lot of useful products, and a unique reading experience.

However, I am aware that this is a more pricey book subscription service, so it may not be something that is right for you. That’s okay too! There are plenty of other book subscription services out there.

One of my favourites that I have subscribed to in the past is Relove Print, who offer monthly personally selected second hand books for you to enjoy. I had the chance last year to interview the Relove Print team, check them out for an affordable and unique book subscription service.

More Info and Discount Codes

If you’d like to learn more about Once Upon a Book Club head to the Once Upon a Book Club website.

To receive 10% off your first months subscription of Once Upon a Book Club readers of stephhuddleston.com can use the code: STEPHHUDDLESTON10

If you’re interested in checking out Relove Print head to the Relove Print website.

If you’d like 15% off your first month with Relove Print use the code: Stephwriting.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’ve been looking for a ya book subscription with a difference, or other book reading subscription services, Once Upon a Book Club is worth checking out.

Whilst the price may make this service one you need to consider carefully, you can rest assured that this is a box that is well worth it in my opinion.

Thank you for reading today’s post! If you enjoyed, please do subscribe using the yellow button below. If you’ve got a favourite book subscription service, tell me about it in the comments on this post.

Haven’t had enough books? Come say hi to me on social media by searching @stephhuddlestonwriting or by clicking the buttons below.

Interview with Relove Print – Book subscription creators

Have you ever wondered who puts book subscription packages together? Have you ever thought about the process involved in putting these wonderful subscription packages together?

Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t – but todays post on the blog we get some answers to those questions!

You might remember a few weeks ago my post Are Book Subscriptions Worth it? In the post I reviewed my book subscription from Relove Print. A book subscription service with a difference.

On todays blog I’m chatting with the creators behind this service! Read on to find out more about the behind the scenes of a book subscription service.

If you don’t know about Relove Print they are a book subsciption based in Australia. Based on information you provide them with, they will pick out a gently used second-hand book for you to enjoy each month. How cool is that? Each month in addition to your book you will receive a handmade bookmark, and a few additional goodies.

Throughout this post I’ll be sharing some photos from my July parcel. At the end, you’ll find a discount code if you feel like giving Relove Print a try this month!

My June subscription. Approved by Magnus (cat)!

About Relove Print:

Who makes up the Relove Print Team?

Our team is made up of a partnership. We also have some family and friends that help out around packing time to get our subscriptions out!

What inspired you to start up the Relove Print book subscription service?

We were really into going to garage sales/facebook marketplace. We started to see how many books were getting thrown out because people just had too many and not enough space. We hated to think that they would end up in landfills. 

Where do you source the second-hand books from?

Garage sales, facebook marketplace, gumtree and ebay. Mainly we try to intercept books getting thrown out! We also keep a close eye on op shops that are overflowing in books.

What is the process each month in putting together your subscribers package?

Basically, a lot of hard work finding and choosing a book that suits everyone of our subscribers is always a challenge. Getting them all packed using sustainable/eco friendly packaging rather then putting it in a box is a very intensive task. It makes it a busy time of the month. 

Is it difficult personally selecting books for your subscribers?

The surveys subscribers fill out when signing up provide us with a good guide to people’s taste which makes selecting books a lot easier. There is difficulty because we do strive to get that perfect book for everybody!

What are some of your favourite past items you have included with the books for subscribers?

We have teamed up with QI tea a couple times to provide tea for those months. That was probably our favourite as we both really enjoy their tea. We really enjoyed working with QI tea as they really supported and promoted us when we were just starting out. 

My July subscription – This book cover is stunning. The notebook is really cute!

Get to know the creators:

Who are some of your favourite authors?

We both enjoy different authors which helps us cover a range of genres. Some of our favourite authors would be: 

Gwen Harwood, Sarah J Maas, George Orwell, the H.P Lovecraft universe, John Silvester and growing up Lemony Snicket really got me into reading! 

What are you currently reading?

One of us is reading Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass and the other Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig.

If you could be one literary character for a day, who would you be and why?

I think everyone has dreamed of being in the wizarding world. We both wish we got that Hogwarts letter at 11.

Tea or Coffee with your book?

I am definitely 300% coffee but my business partner is probably 500% tea.

“We started to see how many books were getting thrown out because people just had too many and not enough space. We hated to think that they would end up in landfills.”

Dylan – Relove Print

Thank you!

One of my favourite things about this book subscription service is their environmental consciousness. They strive to give books that would otherwise be disposed of, a longer life. To give readers a new book to love that’s perfect for them. I think that’s pretty great!

My books that I’ve recieved from Relove Print have been wonderful, and I’ve enjoyed them immensely. I’ve been surprised by how well the team matched my reading preferences to the books they’ve supplied me with. You can tell there’s a lot of care and thought that goes into the books selected, as well as the items included with the book.

At this stage Relove Print only ships within Australia, so apologies to my international readers. However, if you’re in the land of Aus like me, you’re in luck.

Relove Print has generously offered a discount code to subscribers of Steph Huddleston Writing. Yay! Enter the code: Stephwriting when you check out to get 15% off your first month subscribing. Thank you Dylan and the rest of the Relove Print team! You guys are awesome!

This book subscription service is really affordable! A three month package costs me under $11 a month, which is awesome. Using the discount code above this subscription service is even more affordable for you! Living in Australia, most book subscription services might not even ship to us – or if they do it can be expensive! Today subscribing is even cheaper for you if you use the discount code: Stephwriting.

If you’d like to subscribe to Relove Print (or even gift a subscription to someone special) head to their website here.

Let’s connect

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What’re you currently reading? I always like to hear what book recommendations people have. Reply to this post below to let me know!