Welcome to my first official Discussion Post!!!
Subscription Boxes are a topic I’ve been wanting to talk about for a long time. As someone who went through a Bookish Subscription Box phase, I’ve always wanted to talk about why I gave them up and see what you guys think of them.
My Experience with Subscription Boxes
The first time I heard about Bookish Subscription Boxes was February of last year. One of my friends on Twitter tweeted about wanting to subscribe to Owlcrate. As someone who a couple months prior to that became active on Goodreads, I thought it would be awesome to get a new book to review along with some goodies.
And I totally loved my first box. I loved the book, The Love That Split the World, and all the swag that was included. (Then, almost a year later, I learned that that book had TERRIBLE Native American Rep which you can read up on here). After loving that box, it was pretty much down hill from there.
Since I loved the first box, I kept subscribing to Owlcrate. Unfortunately, I vehemently hated all of the following books I received in their boxes (The Serpent King, Flawed, Everland, & My Lady Jane. And then Vassa in the Night which I still haven’t finished). Spending money on books I hated along with swag from books I didn’t care about felt like a huge waste of money so I finally stopped staying “maybe I’ll like the next one” and unsubscribed.
Later in 2016, I fell into the subscription box trap again. I tried out the Nerdy Bookworm Box (which is now no longer business), Fairyloot, the Ever After Box, & My Bookish Crate (also no longer in business). It was characterized by more books I didn’t like and swag I didn’t care all that much about. One of those books included was the nail in the coffin of my subscription box obsession.
In one of the boxes, I received Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. If you’re familiar with P.C. Cast’s work, I’m sure you can tell my situation didn’t end up well. Moon Chosen is probably the most racist book I’ve ever read. It has black face done by a mixed character, WOC were depicted as being incapable of happiness, MOC were depicted as incredibly violent, and there’s exotification. Plus, there was homophobia, ableism, and a whole lot of other unsavory stuff. You can read more about this terrible book through my Goodreads review or the YA Kitten’s Review (they also wrote notes throughout the book you can read here).
It left me disillusioned. The fact that ADULTS picked this extremely damaging book as their book of the month for a YOUNG ADULT SUBSCRIPTION BOX made me furious, and that was the end of my relationship with subscription boxes.
Why I No Longer Subscribe In Summary:
- The Books are more often then not mediocre or just out right problematic like in the case of The Love That Split the World and Moon Chosen. I don’t like spending money on problematic books or receiving them in the mail when I was hoping to be surprised with a good book. It’s super disappointing and I don’t trust most subscription companies run by straight able bodied white people to pick good books (if you happen to want a subscription box run by a POC featuring books by authors of color I do recommend My Lit Box though).
- They include Swag from books I want to be erased from human history aka SJM Books. I cannot tell you how many boxes have SJM swag a month. It feels like all of them do to be quite honest. And I don’t even know how people make more SJM swag at this point. Really, what candle scents are left for you to make and how many different versions of that stars quote can you make in a graphic? (and it sucks cause I see that star quote EVERYWHERE when looking for astronomy stuff on Etsy. as an astrophysics major I take personal offense that the stars are degraded in such a way.).
- I’d rather spend my money on books I don’t like myself. I know that might sound strange, but if I mess up and buy a book I don’t end up liking, then I feel like ‘okay that was my fault’. But when I get books I don’t like in subscription boxes, it feels like an even bigger waste of money. I don’t know what it is about getting a shitty book in a subscription boxes but it feels 20x worse then me buying 5 books I don’t end up liking.