Last Christmas, one of my gifts was a 3-month subscription to Book of the Month Club. Now, I am a huge reader and book-lover, but it never would have occurred to me to ask for this as a gift. For one thing, I tend to go for paperback books because I am cheap. But also: it seemed somehow old-fashioned, I guess? Or I expected that all the books would be trashy?
In any case, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I highly, highly recommend it. But I also think it’s one of those websites where they’re so busy trying to get you to sign up that they make it a little bit tough to understand exactly how it works. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. For example, I don’t want to have to surrender my email address for the privilege of looking at clothes on a website–I would call out whichever companies do this, except that whenever a site does do this, I immediately leave and forget about them.
But back to Book of the Month.
Here’s how it works. On the first day of the month, you get an email that says, hey, it’s time to choose your book for this month. And then there’s a link to five books. You see the cover and the genre, and then you can click on the book for a plot synopsis and a little review from someone on the BotM selection committee about why they chose that particular book. You’re supposed to choose your book by the 6th of the month. You can also choose to skip that month if none of the books they suggest call out to you. If you don’t either choose a book or say that you’re skipping, they’ll just send you a random book. Well, okay, they say something along the lines of “We’ll pick one for you,” but I have no idea if that means that they say, “Gosh, Katie seems to like historical fiction with a healthy dose of romance and so I think this would be just right for her” or if they say, “Let’s get rid of that inventory nobody ordered.” Obviously it’s just better to pick a book yourself or say that you’re skipping.
Usually, I’m tempted by two or three of the books in the group of five that they offer each month. But since the most important thing is whether you like the books that they offer, I went back and took pictures of the selections for the last several months. Sadly, these are just screen shots, so you can’t click and find more information on each one, like on their site, but at least you get the idea.
You click on the book that you want, and then of course they ask you if you’d like an extra book (all hail the upsell). I’m pretty sure that all of the extra books are just more copies of previous books of the month, but it tends to be a good selection, and you can do a search by genre. If you choose to add an extra book or two to your box, they’re available at a discount (your book of the month costs $14.99, but then extra books cost $9.99).
I will say that I’m also clearly the target audience for these books, so that makes Book of the Month a more obvious choice for me. Many choices skew a little lighter than I’d usually read, but that plays right into the whole “self-indulgent treat” aspect of it. Now that I’ve chosen and read a few, I’ve become more inclined to pick the heavier choices available that month.
Anyway, once you’ve chosen your book, you click to confirm your book box for the month, and they do a festive little thing where it looks like confetti is falling across your monitor. It really does feel quite celebratory.
Then, shortly thereafter, you get a book (or books) in the mail. Hooray!
It’s a lovely little gift that keeps on giving. First, it’s fun to take a few minutes to mull over the choices, but it’s not that many choices, so it isn’t a huge time suck. And then of course it’s nice to get fun mail, of course. I am generally a library-and-used-book-sale kind of a girl, so getting a shiny, brand-new release in hardback feels really very self-indulgent.
But it’s a pretty good deal, too, since you’re generally spending $15 a book, and if you look up the same books on, say, Amazon, the list price is usually about $20 or $25. And of course if you commit to a longer time, your discount increases. When you sign up, the options are:
- 3 months for $45 (or $15/book)
- 6 months for $80 (or $13/book)
- 12 months for $150 (or $12/book)
So, I love-love-love this, either as a self-indulgent treat or a gift idea. There are only two disclaimers. First, it’s not a great choice for people who are terrible at reading and responding to emails. Really, if you were worried about this, you could also mark your calendar or to do list for the beginning of each month. But whatever. Second, if you’re not a huge reader, it might feel overwhelming. Of course, you can skip a month if you’d like to. I haven’t skipped a month yet, but that’s mostly because I find it very difficult to resist books. And I read a bunch, so these are extras to throw into my mix. When I’m undecided about a choice, I skew to picking something that I think the girls might like, too, because then even if I don’t like it, maybe one of the girls will (I’d share with Cute W, too, but he usually has a long list of books he hasn’t had a chance to read yet, so I try to only buy books I am positive will be great choices for him).
And of course, right now I’ve got one of those tell-a-friend emails, so if you think you’d like to sign up, email me or comment below, and you can get a special deal where you get a free book and I get a free book. Yes, please!