I can’t bring myself to splurge on a Netflix subscription, yet somehow I can totally justify spending just as much, if not more, on a book subscription box. I bought myself a 12-month Book of the Month subscription for Christmas back in 2019, and ever since I’ve eagerly awaited the first of every month: the day I choose one of the five new releases offered on the site.
Originally founded in 1926, BOTM is a subscription service that allows members to choose, as the name states, a book to add to their collection every month. After purchasing a subscription, members can choose one of five new hardcover releases to add to their collection. The great thing about BOTM is that you’re not obliged to spend a credit on a book every month. Chances are, there will be months where none of the books offered peak your interest. If that’s the case, just skip the month, and your credits will rollover. If you run into the opposite issue and find that too many books appeal to you, you can choose from a larger selection of add-ons, in exchange for an additional credit, or $4.99.
“The great thing about BOTM is that you’re not obliged to spend a credit on a book every month. Chances are, there will be months where none of the books offered peak your interest. If that’s the case, just skip the month, and your credits will rollover.”
As for pricing, BOTM isn’t obscenely expensive for the service they provide. Most book subscription services go for over $30 a month, plus shipping, although they often come with bookish trinkets or merch. BOTM keeps it simple, sending out just a book and a bookmark, keeping shipping free. A three-month subscription costs $49.99, a six-month subscription is $89.99 and a 12-month subscription goes for $169.99. At the most, each book is $14.99, which is lower than the price of most Barnes & Noble hardcovers.
However, that isn’t something I’m all too willing to shell out every month. BOTM tends to offer $10 off your subscription around major holidays. A discount code coupled with a referral can do wonders. Taking advantage of both, I managed to score 13 credits for $149.99.
Once you’ve spent 12 credits, you automatically reach BOTM BFF status, which comes with some fun perks. You get an adorable tote with a book pocket, a free add-on during your birthday month and your choice of one of the five Book of the Year Finalists. For me, this means I’m technically getting 15 books for $149.99. This equates to $9.99 a book, which I find to be well worth it. That being said, you do have to plan accordingly to fully take advantage of your rewards. For example, it’s important to make sure you have a credit available to use on another book during your birthday month, or else you won’t be able to use your free add-on.
If you refer a friend, you get a set of Bookmoji pins and a free credit while helping them save, which is a lovely bonus.
As for ease of use, BOTM gets five stars from me. You can operate from either their website or app when choosing your book, and exploring each option is super straightforward. BOTM features popular and debut authors and new and early releases in a variety of genres each month, so there’s almost always something you’ll be interested in. You can click on each cover to learn more about the book, where there will be a brief synopsis, a review from a notable author and a sample of the book. There’s a “Good to know” section, delving into details like pacing, point of view and setting, which proves useful to readers who have trouble getting through slower reads.
There are even trigger warnings, which I find to be an incredible addition. It’s something you would never run into when reading the back of a book at a store because it can dissuade readers, but the truth of the matter is not every story is meant for everyone. Having a tool that warns you about the inclusion of domestic violence, PTSD or even just salacious content helps guarantee you’ll love the book you chose.
“There are even trigger warnings, which I find to be an incredible addition. It’s something you would never run into when reading the back of a book at a store because it can dissuade readers, but the truth of the matter is not every story is meant for everyone.”
From there on, you either choose a book or skip the month. If you choose the former, your book will typically arrive in just over a week. The books come in a fairly nice box and are typically shrink wrapped to prevent damage. If I am buying a new book, I admittedly want it in pristine condition. However, BOTM could probably find a more environmentally friendly solution. Something to keep in mind is that BOTM does reprint the books they offer, so they do have their logo on the hardcover and the dust jacket. Each box includes a bookmark with a cute phrase on it. Some of my favorites include, “Leave me to my books,” “All booked up right now” and “Until we read again.”
As of late, BOTM has launched a beta version of Bookclubs: a site where you can put together a book club with some friends, picking one of the BOTM offerings to cover for the month. It works similarly to their normal service, where you have the option to opt-out for the month, but unfortunately you can’t use BOTM credits on book club picks: You’re stuck paying $14.99 per book. I like the concept, but it’s not very practical or affordable. It’s far easier to put together a book club the old-fashioned way.
Overall, I genuinely enjoy Book of the Month. The service reminds me of the early era of Netflix, where you’d choose a DVD to be shipped out to you, except here, you get to keep the book. I have fallen in love with so many books and authors through the service, but if nothing calls my name, I never feel pressured to spend my credit, since it simply rolls over. Once my credits finish, there’s a very good chance I’ll choose it over Netflix again.