We live in a world of subscription boxes. Makeup, clothes, games, toys, even food can all come in monthly or weekly boxes these days to make our shopping lives easier, but I never thought of signing up for a service to send me books.
I’m particular about my books. I also love the browsing process: going into a bookstore and randomly finding something that may become my new favorite book. Or there’s Goodreads for digital browsing and virtual bookshelf building, if you like to research your books before you buy them. But I never thought of reading a recommended book without at least researching it first, or being sent three books I know nothing about.
But then I got an offer to review Bookbag Box, a subscription service that sends you three unknown titles. Here’s what I thought of it!
Bookbag Box is a subscription service that sends you 3 used books every two months for $25+ shipping. The books they send you are a surprise, but they base their selections for you on an extensive quiz you take during signup, as well as your Goodreads shelf (it’s highly recommended to have a GR account so they don’t send you books you’ve already read).
Initially, I had reservations. After all, $25 for used books is actually kind of steep, especially considering some thrift stores in my area sell paperbacks for fifty cents. And why used books anyway? What kind of quality are we talking here? Is it worth it?
So yeah, I was interested to see what I would get, and I have to say, I was very, very pleased with my first box.
The three books inside are very prettily wrapped with brown paper and twine, and there’s a handwritten card inside just giving an overview of the kind of books you’ve received. I loved the packaging!
Here are the books I got:
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford; The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood; and Possession, by A.S. Byatt.
First of all, I shouldn’t have worried about the quality, because each book was in the “Like New” to “Great” quality. I couldn’t even tell one of them was actually used. I was also very impressed with the actual titles they chose for me. It was eerie seeing Love in a Cold Climate in there because it was a sequel to a book I’d already read, but had never read the second installment! But I guess that’s the benefit of connecting your Goodreads account!
I’m probably most excited to receive The Penelopiad, because I’ve been meaning to read more Margaret Atwood forever but haven’t known where to start! Now I know, and I’m currently reading it.
And then the third book, a historical romance novel, is totally something I would have been obsessed with during my high school romance phase! So it was weird, like they knew me…
Book boxes are getting more popular. You’ve got the Book Riot box ($50) which usually just gives you fiction from indie authors and some reading paraphernalia like bookmarks, Fresh Fiction ($27~) which is mostly romance (one book, a few e-books, and again, some “swag” items), LitCube which is $30 and only gives you one book and again, stuff like buttons and transfer tattoos, Book Worm Box ($40) with two YA/genre fiction books and more assorted stuff, The Book Drop which makes you pick from four “genre” boxes, and half a dozen other boxes.
As far as I know, none of these boxes give you contemporary fiction or literary fiction, and I really don’t like paying for those bookish accessories I don’t want. Bookbag Box may give you used books, but the price is right, the choices are personalized and handpicked, and they give you three books, not filler stuff.
I really like Bookbag Box for three main reasons:
1. it’s less expensive than a LOT of other subscription boxes
2. they don’t send you just one genre like romance or YA; it’s literature, and it’s extremely personal to your tastes and what you have or haven’t read yet
3. they give you three books, not a bunch of tchotchkes and junk I don’t want 🙂
Even though these books are used, I often prefer used books, so for me, this subscription box is kind of perfect, and it’s a nice feeling knowing that in two months, I’ll have three new personalized book choices curated just for me, winging its way through the mail. It’s nice to open up a box of books and be surprised by what you find! And yeah, you may just find your new favorite book.
So, bottom line is that I’m going to keep it! I would recommend this box to anyone who loves to read but doesn’t have time to explore or shop, to any book lover who wants to find titles they wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, or to any avid reader wanting to let someone handpick their new favorite book!