Matters of Shelf Control — Alternatives To BOTM

Posted June 16, 2020 by stuckint in Book Subscriptions, Features, Matters of Shelf Control / 9 Comments

As some of you are likely aware if you follow our social media, or any bookish social media really, there has been a bit of a firestorm surrounding Book of the Month lately. In an online conversation regarding their diversity in book choices (or lack thereof), BOTM took it upon themselves to delete comments made by POC readers, and even block POC readers from their account, based solely on posts including well-reasoned criticism.

While BOTM did post an apology, it was inserted into an old Instagram post as an edit — not exactly giving it the attention it deserved. Additionally, the people that were directly affected (most notably Traci from blog favorite The Stacks Podcast, who had even been a curator for them before), report that no direct apology was ever made. This obviously breaks our heart on a number of levels, but while we love Book of the Month and books in general, we absolutely love people more. This is a time in our country’s history where we absolutely must support our beliefs not only with our voice, but with our platform and our wallets, and so we will no longer be promoting or subscribing to Book of the Month. If Traci and other affected parties decide that BOTM has made sufficient steps to make amends, then we certainly will reconsider, but for now, consider this blog a BOTM-free zone.

If you have decided to take similar steps you might have a subscription box size void in your life. Fear not! We are here to help.

Subscription Boxes

1- Page 1 Books

What It Is: A unique subscription service owned and operated by the Page One Bookstore in Illinois. Boxes ship at the beginning of every month.

What You Get: Each box includes a book hand-selected based off of your personal reading tastes and preferences (which you will provide at check out). Additionally, you’ll get a bookish item (think tote, mug, candle, etc.) A Page One bookmark with a hint about the beautifully wrapped book, and occasionally an edible treat.

What You’ll Pay: Starts at $65.00/quarter (that’s just $20/month). There is also the option to do only Hardcover books for an extra $20/quarter. Also, if you are choosing to leave BOTM, Page 1 will honor any remaining credits you have and send you a book by a BIPOC author. Win-win.

2- Owlcrate

What It Is: A YA subscription for the young and the young at heart.

What You Get: Every box comes with a recently released brand-new, signed hardcover, typically with some feature exclusive to the subscription, like a cover-redesign. You will also get 5-6 items related to fandoms that match that month’s themed box. If you want to see some examples, we’ve done unboxings for OwlCrate that you can see here.

What You’ll Pay: Cost varies depending on the length of the overall subscription selected, and start at $27.99 per month.

3- Feminist Book Club

What Is It: A member-guided intersectional book box and a full book-club experience with a book-club Slack chat, secret Facebook group, and video discussions for each book.

What You Get: There are three levels of membership — virtual content only, the book only, or a full subscription box including 3-5 additional items from small woman-owned businesses. FBC sources all of their items from female or queer operated stores.

What You’ll Pay: Options start at $12/month for virtual only subscriptions, $20 for Just the Book, and $42 for the full box.

4- Indiespensible

What Is It: A book-box subscription focusing on independently published books, curated by the famous Powell’s Books.

What You Get: A curated box every 6-8 weeks which includes a signed edition of a new release, a collector’s edition pamphlet with author interviews and Q&A’s, as well as other gifts, such as ARCs, treats, and more!

What You’ll Pay: $44.95 per shipment, one shipment every 6-8 weeks.

5- The Alignist

What It Is: A travel-themed book-box, this box is themed by country and includes items to help you feel like you’re immersed in the setting of the book.

What You’ll Get: This box provides the novel, a “roadmap” with information about what’s in the box, and a handful of artisanal products that help you feel like you’re actually visiting the themed country! They commit to providing ethically-sourced items and help give back to the communities represented in the novel.

What You’ll Pay: You get a quarterly delivery for $50 every three months.

6-Fulton Street 918: The Ally Box

What It Is: Slightly different than the rest, this is a limited time subscription that will last just 3-months

What You’ll Get: Each month you will get two different books, curated resources, action steps, and access to an online resource for additional learning.

What You’ll Pay: $80 per month for three months

7-The Jen Hatmaker Book Club

What It Is: A monthly subscription that provides a private Facebook group for members and books selected by Jen Hatmaker shipped every month.

What You’ll Get: I’m a bit biased when it comes to this book club, because I actually have met my best friends through this club! It started a year ago and a few of us decided to meet locally and the rest is history. Every month you get the book and usually an extra item, as well as access to online resources, such as weekly reading questions, a reading plan, a curated playlist, a podcast with the author, and more.

What You’ll Pay: $29.99 per month — and this month’s membership includes anti-racism training online with Latasha Morrison, founder of Be the Bridge.

8- Once Upon A Book Club

What It Is: Select between their YA or Adult subscription and receive a full reading experience with items pulled straight from the pages.

What You’ll Get: The book, of course, along with 3-5 specially wrapped items to be opened at certain points while you read, as well as a quote print with a quote from the book. There are also read-along dates and a Facebook group for discussion.

What You’ll Pay: $32.50 per month for the book and all the wrapped goodies.

9- Call Number Book Box

What It Is: A quarterly book-box subscription, curated by a librarian, highlighting Black literature.

What You’ll Get: There are multiple subscription options — fiction or nonfiction, book only or complete box. The Book Only boxes will include a newly released box and a library packet, which includes a catalog card, spine label, sticker, and more. The full experience will include 2-4 book themed items as well.

What You’ll Pay: $34.00 for the Complete Box option, $19.00 for the Book Only option.

10- TBR (Tailored Book Recommendations)

What It Is: This is a new subscription service that offers the option between just getting the book recommendations, or getting the actual books.

What You’ll Get: First, you tell TBR what kinds of books you enjoy. Then, sit back and wait for your quarterly book recommendations. You can get the recommendations only, or opt to get three books per quarter in the mail. The recommenders will even look at your Goodreads profile to try to make sure they don’t double up on a book you already have!

What You’ll Pay: Recommendations only cost $15/quarter, or $50 annually. If you want the hardcover books, you’ll pay $79/quarter or $300 annually and will receive 3 books per quarter.

What About You?

Did we miss any of your favorite book subscriptions? I personally want like 8 of these — what about you, will you be getting any additional book subscriptions? Let us know!

9 responses to “Matters of Shelf Control — Alternatives To BOTM

  1. Melissa

    I decided on Page One! I hadn’t heard about them before (and had honestly been thinking about branching out of BOTM because I felt it was getting repetitive, and their actions just pushed me to do so). I’m honestly very nervous about receiving a book I didn’t pick out, but excited to see what they pick! Hoping to get something off my radar.

  2. Nanette

    I signed up for the Fulton Street box which sounds fascinating. I’ve heard of TBR, Page1, and a couple of the others but i’m pretending I don’t need anymore books…Thanks for putting this list together.

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