Disclaimer: These are my thoughts of subscription boxes coming from never having bought/received a subscription box for anything ever.
Subscription boxes. They are all over the internet nowadays having virtually been unheard of (at least to me) only a few years ago. I admit they are of interest to me but I have yet to bite the bullet and get one for myself. Though not for lack of looking at them longingly.
I mean, picture this: they are a magical gift to self every month. You could call it a monthly secret Santa gift. I call them secret Santa gifts because they have an assortment of interesting things related to your interest(s) but you have no idea what it is until you open it and most often they are the coolest things you would not typically see or buy for yourself. Just like a (good) secret Santa gift. Plus there are so so many different kinds, and among the most popular and those for your pets! With SO. MANY. TYPES. how do you pick just one? Obviously as a book lover, a book subscription box would be of interest, yet there are now close to a dozen different types of them out there, so you still have to find a way to pick one.
Yet despite all these perceived pluses, there are a number of issues I have with them which have prevented me from trying out subscription boxes. To start with, they have questionable value for the money you spend. I know the good boxes do their best to get you the most for your money but there are still those boxes that are in it for the profit, the bigger the better. Sorting out the good from the bad takes research. Then if you are outside the US, as I am, the shipping costs don’t make them cost effective at all.
For bookish boxes a major concern is if you have the book already. There are various ways that the subscription boxes have attempted to deal with this: putting collectors editions or first editions in the box, indie books, very new releases or having enough extras like signed book plates to make it worth it. For me since I don’t buy a lot of books this would not be as much of an issue as it could be with others, but still of concern when you factor in the cost of the box.
It has been suggested by some BookTubers that the extras included in the box make up for the rare instance of already having the book. Yet the majority of the bookish subscription boxes have the same sort of extras making them every same-y over time. Tea. Stickers. Posters. Candles. Lipbalm. Necklaces/pins. Totes. All interesting things once or twice but over time it starts to get boring, even with all the hard effort made to find and include new, unique and interesting things for the box. Plus I’m not a tea or candle person so 50% of the ‘extras’ I know I wouldn’t use to begin with, you only have so much room for posters and a lot of the rest of it are things I don’t need or want so would take up space in my room collecting dust.
Overall I feel like subscription boxes are interesting and would love to receive one or two to see what they are like, but ultimately, for me, I would not put my money towards them as the negatives out weight the positives.