Colleagues at work have been discussing their monthly subscription boxes for a while now. There are so many I can’t keep track, but they’re mostly ones with beauty supplies, which don’t interest me because I don’t really use them. Perhaps a subscription box could be just what I need to propel me to finally start using makeup at age 32, but alas. Books are more enticing.
They got me by offering a 3-month deal that included a free tote bag. I could probably move to a new apartment by filling tote bags instead of cardboard boxes, yet I still get excited about a free tote bag. Some things never change.
Unfortunately, the Book of the Month club disappointed me–in several ways.
First, you can only cancel by phone, or else the subscription auto-renews. I hate auto-renewals, as many people do, and it drives me crazy when a company doesn’t provide a simple way to unsubscribe. While I don’t have the phobia of talking on the phone that the younger generation does, I have a natural shy-girl affinity for not talking to strangers that I’ve never gotten over. I also have a job and am at work during the normal business hours of the Book of the Month company, meaning it’s tough to remember to carve out a time to call while I’m at the office. So, before I even knew whether I wanted to continue my subscription, I was already annoyed about the prospect of unsubscribing. Not a good start.
Secondly, the book choice themselves didn’t wow me. The whole point of a book club in my view is to expose yourself to books you may not have read otherwise. At least, that’s what my experience has been, since I apparently have fairly particular tastes that don’t follow the universal preferences, as discovered in my office book club when I hated almost every book chosen (and then, sure, I’ll admit I inadvertently shut down the club because when I chose the book, no one could finish it, so we kept postponing the meeting until it just never happened, and months later, the club still hasn’t revived itself). So I didn’t expect to love all of the choices each month. But the first month of my 3-month trial, I couldn’t find even one book I liked. You do have the option to skip a month if you don’t find something you want to read, but I felt like to get the full experience, I should pick a book for 3 months straight. So I did, and I hated it. (Then I found out my colleagues, who also joined the club when I told them about the 3-month-plus-tote deal, loved that book. Of course.)
Finally, let’s talk about the quality of the books themselves. It’s terrible. I’d read reviews that said the club had started to release special BOTM-branded copies, and as a result, the quality of the paper and binding had suffered. I should have paid more attention to those reviews, because they were absolutely correct. Not only were my first 2 hardcover books stamped with the Book of the Month logo (both on the jacket, and on the actual spine), which I didn’t like because I didn’t want to advertise to everyone that they were book club books–though yeah, I get that’s the reason they did it–but more unforgivably, the paper was incredibly thin, and the spines pulled apart from the pages before I got to the end of the books. So they’re physically not going to make it through multiple readings, which is a shame, because even if I don’t enjoy a book, I may still recommend it to others. The third book I just received is not BOTM-branded, and it appears to be a regular copy released by the publisher, so it’s possible the club heard the cries and has stopped printing sub-par versions, but I’m not sure.
I unsubscribed (by phone, ugh), and I’m not sad about it, because I don’t need to be spending money every month on brand new books when I actually prefer used books. But if the club offered a choice each month that wasn’t quite so mainstream, and if they kept the quality up, it’s one I would consider rejoining at some point. At least I’d use the products and wouldn’t just leave them lying around not knowing what to do with them, which is what would happen if I joined a beauty supply box club.