I’ve promised myself that when I finish graduate school my present to myself is going to be a book subscription- a surprise book in the mail every month. I’m not quite done with my degree yet, but I can’t help starting to look around and consider the options.
There are a bunch of book subscriptions that send out the same book to all of their members. Some of those seem interesting, but what is really tempting me are the handful that promise to pick out a book tailored to your specific tastes.
I first came across the idea when I read about A Year in Books from Heywood Hill bookstore. I hadn’t previously heard of Heyward Hill, but it’s apparently quite a famous and historic bookstore in London. Its subscription service seems to match that in terms of elegance and price. They, like with Daunt Books, another London bookstore with a subscription service, promise a personal interview about your tastes and interests. Daunt Books seems to specialize in international books, so that might be a good match for me!
On the other hand, it seems sort of silly to pay for the extra postage from the Britain to the U.S. if there are U.S. based subscriptions.
The first U.S. subscription I found, Just the Right Book, just doesn’t feel as personalized as the British ones. You just fill out an online form when you sign up for a subscription.
Digging a little more, I have managed to find one more American option- Paperback to the Future. It’s based out of an independent bookstore in New Hampshire and seems to be run by just one person. It promises lesser known books, often from small presses, which sounds interesting [Update July 2015: the link no longer seems to work, so I’m not sure if the bookstore is still doing this or not].
It’s so hard to know what to choose! I’m really enjoying imagining these books showing up at my door though. I know I won’t love every book, but I’m dreaming of the surprise of a book picked out just for me, by an expert bookseller. I don’t ever seem to get books for presents anymore, so it seems extra exciting.
Does the idea of a personalized book subscription sound like something you would like? Have you ever tried a book subscription service? Do you know of others besides the ones I’ve listed here?