Subscription boxes are booming business in India. With the glut of products available online and in physical store, the consumers are moving towards the companies who have time and means to curate products exclusively for them and send it across to their home. This helps both the consumers and also the companies alike. Companies don’t have to display a million of variables of the same product and hope to gain a product report after the sales report. The consumers don’t get confused by the sheer variety of items and they get what they actually need than splurging on impulse spending.
Speaking of impulse spending, can you guess where most of the people do that? A lot of people do that while they shop for clothing and then there are bibliophiles who spend more than what they intend to when they enter a bookshop. Book Subscription boxes are exactly same as the subscription boxes from other verticals but it is something close to my heart. I mean there have been subscription boxes for skincare, beauty products which I rarely use. But books, that I have to read daily. And if someone would curate the books for me it would be great.
Let me take me as an example. I love Indian writing. I am a great fan of R.K. Narayan, Jerry Pinto and likes. But I find really few books of such people when I visit the bookstore. For example, The English Teach by R.K. Narayan was not available across the city and I had to place a special request through the bookstore and after fifteen days I had to go back again to collect the book. And I don’t even know the authors I am missing out. At the same time I am not a big fan of YA book. While I loved the book “The Hangwoman” by K.R. Meera, if the subscription box providers send me “Battle of Bittora” by Anuja Chauhan, I may not enjoy it. That is where curated book subscription boxes comes into play. Most of the book subscription boxes offer one book per month (not at all enough) and send lot of goodies like book marks, tote bags, serial lights, socks etc., Imagine receiving a copy of “Me Before You” with a bumble bee socks with it :).
I had not subscribed to such boxes for a long time because I felt it was too costly. Let us just do a random comparison of book subscription boxes before Fictioncrate arrived into the scene.
Available Book Subscription boxes
|Number of books and goodies
|1399 – 2999
|1-2 & 2-3books
|Caters only YA and SYA (superme Young Adult)
|Books and Beyond
|1 book and lot of bookish knicknacks
|800 – 4600
|1 book and 3-4 goodies
|Aurora Box of dreams
|900 & 1600
|1 book and 2 book plans
As you can see, the subscription started from 800 Rs. Am I rich enough to spend 800 Rs per month to receive a book I may or may not like? Do really use the goodies that come up with these boxes. No. I don’t even use bookmarks. I love dog ears (Go on.. Crucify me).
I found Fiction Crate through Quora. They were enthusiastically answering questions regarding reading and writing. They actually knew what they were talking about and some of their book recommendations were on point. But I was still skeptical to go with them. But I decided to visit their website. Window shopping is the nation’s favorite pass time, right? I was pleasantly surprised that the subscription boxes started from as low as Rs 500 (499 to be exact.) But since I subscribed to them on their first month of operation they just put in a T-shirt along with my subscription. I am a happy customer. The ever skeptical person in me made me google the price of the book and found it on the expensive side. I wouldn’t have bought it if I had to order it in amazon or to pick it up from a book store. And then I got a handwritten note, A T-shirt. So I would say, it is value for money. If anybody else have used any other book subscription boxes, let me know about how you felt about pricing.
What can be better?
I really don’t like English books, I mean books written by Brits. I somehow find all their books whiny. I didn’t have a choice to specify my genre and I don’t see they have a monthly theme for delivery yet. The book I got was a thriller so it worked well. I wouldn’t have want to be surprised with Fantasy novel as it is not really my cup of tea. I don’t know what their selection process is, so this is just a suggestion to have a custom field for subscribers to chose the genre.
What does it mean to Authors?
Being an author myself, I know there is nothing satisfying that my books reaching to people I don’t know via a subscription box. Given the rise of self publishing platforms like Notionpress, Lead start etc., the authors can tie up with these subscription boxes and get them delivered to their customers. But before that the authors should make sure they have given their best in the novel, and it is free from typographical and grammatical mistakes which will put off the readers. Fiction crate should have the final say in selection process. I would love to read new Indian authors even though they are less popular because of the self publishing business.
Overall, I loved my first month box. I am going to subscribe again. And if I am really in a very happy mood, I may even gift subscriptions for few months for the friends. I already do that but in a different platform. But I know too many bibliophiles who would be very happy with books delivered to them.
Have you subscribed to any of the book subscription boxes? Let me know about your experience.