Okay, so I love books and bookish goods and I especially love Book Subscription Boxes. Just think of it! Once a month, you’re shipped an entire box of bookish goodies. It’s like Christmas except it comes once every month instead of once a year. It sounds perfect, right? There are so many subscription boxes that you should be able to find one that’s tailor-made for you and your interests. There’s just one little problem… They tend to only be great value if you’re an American.
There are a lot of reasons that being a Canadian is pretty great, but the cost of shipping isn’t one of them. Anyone who’s tried to send something to Canada or outside of Canada probably knows what I’m talking about. Subscription Boxes then, particularly ones that are from the United States, have major hurdles before we even get our first box.
These problems are (in no particular order):
You ever get that sinking feeling after being really excited for a subscription box? Mine comes when I check the shipping. Sometimes the shipping can be more expensive than the box itself which is the worst feeling. I know that shipping is expensive, but I feel like some fees are ridiculous. If there’s a $30 USD box and the shipping for it is $35 USD… I’m not going to buy your box. I know the postal system is complicated, but if I can send shoes to Japan for $12 CAD, I should be able to get a book for around the same shipping fees, right?
Depending on where you are in Canada, you’re going to get hit with Tax/Import fees. This can change depending on where the package is shipping from and what they’ve declared. But there are times when I’ve ordered goods and had to pay over $30 in import fees before I could get my package.
Our dollar is weaker than America’s dollar. Barring a stock market crash, usually $1 CAD is worth around $0.74 USD. It sucks, but keep in mind that all those shiny USD prices aren’t real. Not for us scrubs. $5 books for $10? Not a chance. Especially once they’ve added the shipping in.
Despite all this. I still love the heck out of some subscription boxes.
So which subscription boxes are worth your money?
Pagehabit I’ve never been so disappointed with a box before. I mean, the build up is huge for each PageHabit box, but it feels so slapdash. The big selling point of this box is the books which are have these annotations in them. I love the annotations which are on sticky notes throughout the books, but those are the only unique selling points. The bookish goods can be found in other places, the author signatures come in other boxes, as well as letters from the author. If you really are interested in their annotated books, the quarterly box is a better deal. It’s only a little bit more expensive than the regular box and has the same shipping fees. Do NOT get multiple boxes on the same month. All of the boxes tend to have the same items. So if you want a Horror Box along with a Historical Romance Box, be aware that they’re going to have the same goods in them. They recently announced a feature that allows people to just add books (without boxes) to a box they’ve already bought. That’s your best bet. The items in the boxes are actually the biggest problems of the box. It made them feel thrown together and sloppy. Here’s a bookish pin and a bookmark with a quote and one or two other things that may/may not have any connection. They’re not curated. The quarterly boxes, however, are.
As of August 30, 2018 PageHabit and its parent company were shut down and dissolved.
The best box, hands down. The only bad thing about it is that they only do YA fiction, so if you’re looking for something else, you’re not going to find it here. But the boxes are carefully thought out, always a joy to open, and the quality of items never feels cheap (like it did with other boxes *cough* Page Habit *cough*). It’s cheaper than other boxes and the shipping to Canada is reasonable. Beyond that, they always ship with tracked packages so you can find out where yours is.
Their boxes are beautiful, you can tell that they care about what they’re selling and that they love the community they’ve built up around them. Each box is built around a theme that’s chosen with a book, four or more bookish goods (sometimes including things as big as wall hangings or pillowcases), and come with a little magazine hand made for this box.
I am always looking forward to these boxes and I love every one. I’ve had my subscription with Owl Crate for over a year now which is the best recommendation I can give.
The Wordy Traveler
Here’s the thing, I love this subscription box. Love it. I love it so much. But the price makes it unfeasible. Entirely unfeasible. The idea of a book box that sends me three nonfiction books every quarter based on a geographic region is genius. Add in extras which have less to do with books and more to do with the region theme and I’m hooked.
Which is why it’s so sad to me that the shipping is so expensive and the pricing once converted to Canadian dollars makes me want to cry.
If you are in America or you have some extra money, please give The Wordy Traveler some love.
Are there any book boxes I’ve missed or that you think I should look into? Please leave me a comment and let me know.