7 Book Subscription Boxes We Love for Adults and Kids

7 Book Subscription Boxes We Love for Adults and Kids

Subscribing to a book box is a great way to recalibrate how you think about reading. Instead of spending time researching the newest releases or trying to pick just one from the many titles that catch your interest, you can sign up for a book box and pay someone else to do that for you. Usually curated by booksellers, with the help of industry experts and librarians, these monthly boxes arrive on your doorstep filled with an array of books picked from the genres you love. “There are so many books being published every day, so having an expert or group of experts pick the best of the best for you can be really handy if you’re overwhelmed by choosing on your own,” said Janssen Bradshaw, a former elementary school librarian and current book blogger. “Also, if you’re looking to build your home library at a steady pace, a book subscription is a very simple way to do it without a huge one-time cost.” Usually, the books you receive will be a surprise—that’s part of the fun. But if you’d rather know what you’re getting, there are boxes that give you the control.

Book boxes can be a great way to get your kids excited about reading, too. “Some children develop a dislike for reading due to equating it to homework,” said Alia Jones, a Cincinnati-based children’s library service assistant and book blogger. “[I]f a child knows that they have one or two books coming in every month, in a fun package addressed to them, that’s something to celebrate!”

Finding the right book subscription can be tricky, though, if you’re looking for inclusive books written by authors with diverse backgrounds. “It’s enriching for readers of all ages to read a variety of books because it encourages them to think beyond their own worldview,” said Alaina Lavoie, communications manager at We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit that promotes diversity in children’s literature and publishing. “Reading stories about people whose lived experiences differ from theirs opens people up to empathize and gain a deeper understanding.” One of the things to keep in mind when you’re vetting a service with diversity in mind is to ask yourself who is curating the monthly picks. “I’d recommend looking at who started the box and who’s running it now,” Lavoie added. “Is a committee choosing the books? Is it everyone on staff? Or is it just one person who founded the box? The more people that you have involved—and the more diverse and varied that group is—the more you’re going to get that same diverse selection in the books that they’re choosing.”

To help you navigate the many book boxes available, we asked Jones, Lavoie, and Bradshaw—as well as Illinois-based librarian Melissa Martinez—to tell us, based on their own experiences working with readers, what’s most important when you’re vetting these services. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that book boxes are not one-size-fits-all; what works well for you might be another reader’s nightmare, so there’s no way to definitively say one book box is better than another. For instance, Martinez said her ideal book box would allow for customization, but she knows that some folks subscribe to them specifically to be surprised.

Our experts’ advice boiled down to three key standards that all book boxes should meet: They should include titles written by authors with diverse backgrounds; the books should be selected by a group rather than one person, in order to ensure a variety of perspectives; and, ideally, they should help you save money over time. We also took a close look at return policies, subscriber reviews, delivery costs, and subscription model types as we made our assessments. Using our experts’ advice and what we learned from our own deep-dive research, we’ve pulled together a list of different subscription services that we think will appeal to most people, no matter your reading style.

source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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