Lacy Literacy

Book Reviews, Discussions, Listicles, More

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.

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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.

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Why I No Longer Subscribe In Summary: 

  1. 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).
  2. 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.).
  3. 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.

Discussion:

Now is the time for your input!!! Do you subscribe to any bookish subscription boxes (or otherwise) or refuse to for some some reason?

Tell me below. I can’t wait to hear from you guys.

21 thoughts on “Discussion Post: On Subscription Boxes & Why I Don’t Subscribe Anymore

  1. Maé says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I never suscribed to a bookish box so far, mostly because the shipping is so expensive, but now thanks to this article, I probably won’t buy one ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      Glad I could save you the trouble. It is so not worth it. You might as well buy your own book and swag yourself because shipping is always so expensive 😂.

      Like

  2. deborahkehoe says:

    I subscribe to Uppercase. They have an interactive card where at certain points in the book it will direct you to a website where you’ll listen to he author talk about what they were thinking at that moment or how they got that idea, etc. pretty cool. However, e we link runs out at the end of a month when the next book goes out. I never read the book in the month I get it, so I miss out on hat interaction. I do like that the books are YA and ones that I never would have picked out myself. BUT I have been thinking of quitting it because of my backlog of books…. I do always look forward to that package though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from a subscription month in the same month I got it! That does sound like a fun idea though to have interactive stuff.

      I look forward to packages in the mail too which was why it was so fun to subscribe in the first place. I just wish I liked the actual content of the boxes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. deborahkehoe says:

        I agree 100%!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Lisa Parkin says:

      Hi Deborah – This is Lisa from Uppercase Box, and I just wanted to let you know the links and codes never expire! You can always check out the previous month’s Reading Experiences even if you don’t get a chance to do it the same month. Thanks for subscribing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. deborahkehoe says:

        Thanks Lisa! I tried to look one time and it didn’t work. Thanks for setting me straight! I need to keep those bookmarks around now, LoL!

        Like

      2. lacyliteracy says:

        I’m glad things got figured out Deborah!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to get Owlcrate as well and decided to stop after getting so many books I just didn’t care about. The goodies were fun, but the books are still sitting on my shelf. If I was going to be spending 30$ a month on something I decided I would be better off buying a couple books I know I would be interested in! I do miss the mail though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      Yeah, exactly!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such an interesting post to read!! I had been wanting to get one of these subscription boxes (primarily Owlcrate or Fairyloot) for such a long time, but never ended up getting one. (I’m not even sure if they send them to Canada?? But whatever.) Everyone is always raving about subscription boxes and it always seemed so exciting. I suppose the latter is true, but it sucks to get things you’re not interested in! I probably will hold off on these for now haha. Lovely post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      Thanks!

      Yeah, the idea is differently exciting but in actuality it doesn’t always work out.

      In my opinion, Fairyloot is probably better if you want to try one out. Their merch tends to be really cool, unique stuff even if I don’t care for the books they include as much. They also specify what merch from other series will be included, which is good if you’re like me and want to avoid having swag from certain authors. Owlcrate has been totally hit or miss for me, but who knows you might end up liking it better than Fairyloot. It really depends on whether you like SciFi/Fantasy more (which Fairyloot does) or are okay with a random YA genre book depending on the month.

      Like

  5. Anushka H. says:

    I agree with you on the bookish swag point. I’ve never subscribed to a book box before (because I live in India and it’s not very available here) but regardless, I keep seeing pictures and videos of these boxes online. Whereas the book depends more on individual choices (for eg, I’ve seen amazing books being given in the Book of the Month box) but the merch? I agree with you. Most of the merch in book boxes seem rubbish to me and spending so much money on them is something I cannot justify 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      Yeah, and that fact that sometimes you don’t know what type of series merch is gonna be included. 9/10 times it ended up being for series that I didn’t enjoy.

      And so much of the merch I’ve gotten is just collecting dust in my prop closet because I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a huge waste.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never subscribed to a book box for similar reasons to what everyone else on these comments say. For me, as cute as all the swag looks, I can’t justify spending the money on it when I could easily buy ANOTHER WHOLE BOOK with the cost of the “swag” that feels like it’s designed exclusively for those people on bookstagram who are always making me jealous. I sound bitter af, but in reality, I just am not that kind of bookish person, and I think it’s perfectly fine if other people enjoy the swag and whatnot. I think a big part of it for me is that I know I’d end up not liking half the books. I’m not a huge fantasy reader, so I’d end up spending money on books that I wouldn’t really feel like reading (until I hit a fantasy mood or whatever).

    Great discussion! Can’t wait to see more of your thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      That’s why it’s all SJM swag!!! Bookstagram is so far up her ass. I totally get what you’re saying.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this, that was so interesting to read! I never subscribed to a bookish box, mainly because of the shipping fees, it gets way too expensive just for a book and a couple of goodies. Also, I am always scared to get a book I actually won’t like and a bunch of goodies I wouldn’t care about. I really love the idea of these boxes but I guess I’d rather spend my money in books I know I want and goodies I know I’ll like 😀

    Like

    1. lacyliteracy says:

      Yes, shipping is a killer. I tried a couple international ones but shipping was almost as much as the box like???? I don’t have that much money to spend a month.

      For a while, I was so enticed by the idea of being surprised with a book that I could get over the possibility of there being a book I didn’t like 😂.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marie says:

        Right?! The shipping fees was just as much as the box, for some, which made me say…No. Not possible ahah, I don’t have that kind of money either :/

        Like

  8. I haven’t subscribed to any bookish subscription boxes yet, since I can’t make up my mind/find the one that’s right for me (without destroying my wallet). I have subscribed to non-bookish boxes such as FanMail, and it’s usually a hit or miss for me. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth and other times I’ve felt shorted. I think one of the main reasons I haven’t subscribed because all of the boxes I’ve seen send out books I already own. But if I do subscribe to a box in the near future I feel it would be a box like Red.Blk.Grl since I’m trying to incorporate more own voices reads into my collection.

    Like

  9. I’ve honestly been wanting to subscribe to a box for a long time now, but I’ve held back because of the price. Though now that you mention all these good points I might never even bother getting one at all. I just want a 5-star book and really cute accessories at a reasonable price. Why is that so hard? XD

    Like

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