The book world includes a lot of very popular and very creative subscription companies. Most of these subscriptions follow the same basic format: each month subscribers receive one box in a certain theme that includes a brand new released book and several items to accompany it (either inspired by other books or by the featured book).
I have been interested in these boxes for a while and have followed several of the companies on social media for years, but it has never really been a feasible option for my book budget. In this past year I had opportunities to try out a couple different boxes whether it was gifted to me for promotion on my Instagram, boxes I won in giveaways, or boxes I purchased myself. I started doing some unofficial research so I could compare them. The boxes I didn’t personally receive I still watched unboxing videos for and so knew what was included.
Many of the companies keep the book of the month a surprise but if you are like me and want to know which book is going to be included before you decide to purchase something it’s not too difficult to figure out the book. There are multiple Instagram accounts that share spoilers (I follow @eaterofstories) and the companies themself often have an option to reveal the book.
I know there are many more than 4 subscription box companies but for the purpose of this comparison I narrowed it down to the 4 companies I have been paying attention to the longest and that I think are major players in the industry: OwlCrate, LitJoy Crate, FairyLoot, and Once Upon a Book Club.
So which box is the best one? Well that depends on what you’re looking for and what your preferences are! Below I give a bit of information on each box as well as discount codes if I have them. Then I break down in my personal opinion which box is best for each category.
Offers a monthly YA (young adult) subscription geared towards ages 14 and up. Also has an Owlcrate Jr subscription geared towards ages 8-12.
Notes: Very easy to skip a month’s box by clicking a button on your account. No consequence for skipping multiple months. There are usually past boxes available for purchase if you prefer to know what you’re getting.
Discounts: They always have a discount for their box on their social media pages if it is your first subscription
Monthly YA subscription with options for book only box or a book and items box. Also offers an adult subscription with book only box.
Notes: They have a waitlist that can take a few months to get off of, so right now you can’t just start whenever you want. You can skip months by e-mailing them, but if you skip 2 months in a row your account is on hold until you reactivate it (but don’t have to go back to the waitlist)
Offers a quarterly YA box, a quarterly Harry Potter inspired box, and regular additions to their online shop.
Notes: Can skip renewals
Discounts: Save $5 off your order
Offers a monthly YA box and a monthly adult box. Their model is having various gifts you open on specific pages of the book to find an object that was included in the story.
Notes: Past boxes are usually available for individual purchase.
Discounts: You can use the code BMMR to save 10% off your purchases
The breakdown comparison:
Prettiest book designs and customizations: Fairyloot
Most enjoyable/usable items with bookish spins: Owlcrate
Most useable items without a “merch” feeling: Once Upon a Book Club
Highest quality replica/display items: LitJoy
Most variety in genres included: Once Upon a Book Club
Most exclusive opportunities: Fairyloot (wait list to subscribe, books and items aren’t usually available in shop afterwards)
Best packaging design inside the box: Owlcrate
Most additional options to shop for outside of subscription: LitJoy
Most matches my personal preference in book selections: Owlcrate and Once Upon a Book Club
Which book subscription boxes do you have experience with? Whether it is these boxes or others I would love to hear what your experience has been!