I´m a huge Colleen Hoover fan. Maybe not THE greatest, most passionate fan in the entire world but I do love the authors books. I´ve been a fan for years and never missed out on anything the author has published.
It was late 2016 when I first noticed The Bookworm Box. A few people I knew were posting pictures of cute little purple boxes filled with all sorts of book related goodies and 2 random signed paperbacks, and that got me curious. I decided to get in touch with a few people and ask what all the fuss was about.
„It´s SO cool!“ One friend said.
„I love the Bookworm Box. And the proceeds for each box go to charity!“ Another friend said.
Now, that got me interested.
So, not only was a person going to receive 2 signed paperback books with lots of swag, the money spent for a box goes to charity? COOL! I loved the idea but still needed more info before purchasing a box.
To make a long story short – I checked the Bookworm Box homepage out. I went through every category like a crackwhore just to see what the catch was, because…. the Bookworm Box sounded too good to be true. I studied the whole website. Turned it inside and out.
How does it work?
Well, it´s really simple. For a certain amount of money you receive a monthly box subscription that includes 2 signed books and swag ( bookmarks, magnets, postcards…. anything that is book related ). The fee you pay per box goes to a chosen charity. 100% of the profit after overhead costs will be donated to different charities each month.
But there is a catch. A minor one. The signed books you pay for are a surprise. You have no power over which book you´ll receive when you purchase a Bookworm box. I never thought of that as a problem because I did have faith that the owner of the Bookworm Box, author Colleen Hoover, wouldn´t send out just any type of book, right?
Needless to say- I found nothing fishy or dubious about the Bookworm Box. I was getting signed copies, plus I was discovering new authors… AND at the same time, I was giving to charity. BOOM! A win / win situation.
Now, Bookworm boxes for us folks across the pond are a little more expensive. In the end, I paid around 50-60 Euros for my first Bookworm Box. That´s not really a great deal, considering the fact that I can get roughly 4-6 books from that kind of money. But hey….. We´re talking about the Bookworm Box, here. Good deeds. Great reads!
I dove head first into the system with blind trust, fully aware that I was paying alot of money for a cute purple box filled with book goodies.
The first order went smooth. It took exactly 1 month for my box to arrive and when it did, I was one happy camper. Mine! ALL MINE!
And because I was satisfied I continued my subscription for the following month.
Although I was in love with the Bookworm Box I had to skip a few boxes because not even I can afford to pay 50-60 Euros every month for 2 signed paperback books.
Everything went well and I stayed a happy fan until one day a box I skipped arrived.
Hmm. Okay. Fine. Maybe there was a misunderstanding on my part. Maybe I accidentally clicked the wrong button and didn´t really skip a box. Stuff like that can happen although I´m usually super careful with online stuff ( you can NEVER be to careful, am I right?). I waved the situation off and accepted the box, knowing I was going to be billed for the box I received. That same day I logged into my Bookworm Box account and checked if I actually skipped the box and I did. So why did the mailman deliver one? Who knows. Again, I clicked the skip button because…. I was sort of broke and couldn´t afford the following box.
A month later….
The mailman delivered 3 Bookworm Boxes. 3 (!!!) pretty purple book goodie packages on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My first thought was:
- The people over in Texas must find me special enough to sent me 3 Bookworm boxes
- I won 3 boxes
- Someone messed up
- The internet was broken
One thing was for sure- I skipped that months box. There was no way I ordered those three. In the websites FAQs it´s stated that if you order more than one box then they cannot guarantee different books in those boxes. Meaning- you can get doubles and triple copies. Knowing that, why would I go out of my way and order more than 1 box if there´s a chance that I´ll receive more than 1 copy of the same book? Plus pay for that willingly? Speaking of paying…. I was billed for 3 boxes. Boxes I didn´t ask for because I hit the `skip` button.
I´m a stay at home mother. That means I have no income because I don´t work. I have 2 kids, a husband and we all live in a house that is under construction work since God know´s when. I´m not someone who complains much because life is what it is- not always easy. We´re not wealthy enough to throw money out the window but we´re not close to being poor, either. I can manage treating myself once in a while without living off of toast and butter for 2 weeks until pay-day.
I cannot buy 3 Bookworm boxes and sleep well at night. 3 boxes would be around 165 Euros for me. Can you imagine what my face looked like when the mailman delivered those packages? I was in tears because I was billed. That´s when I contacted the Bookworm Box. They needed to know that something wasn´t right. Customer service is a treat. The woman I exchanged emails with was a lovely, considerate person and after our brief exchange I was convinced that the problem was solved. I mean- we´re all only human, right? Mistakes can be made. But I was still billed.
A month later…..
3 (!!!) more boxes. I was in tears and ready to set my laptop on fire. That day my husband came home and we had a huge argument over my supposedly Bookworm Box addiction. In hindsight, I can´t blame him for his reaction. He saw 6 books, double, triple copies and thought I had lost it completely. To be honest- I thought I had lost it because I thought the problem had been taken care of. I was billed again.
I contacted the nice folks at the Bookworm Box once again and I was told that I had 3 accounts with each a subscription. I knew that wasn´t possible. I remembered signing in once. Because once is enough. After a long exchange I was promised the boxes wouldn´t be billed and that the 3 accounts would be deleted right away. I even got an apology, but that wasn´t any help because..I was billed anyways.
A few days later… 1 single box arrived. More tears were shed. I fired up my laptop and wrote another email, explaining that I got another box despite the fact that my account (s) has been deleted. I was freaking out. Why? Because by that time my credit card company froze my credit card because I reached my credit limit. One look at my online credit info had me in more tears. There I saw many many Bookworm boxes.
„Pay it forward.“ Was what the nice lady said. That´s a tough act for me to pull off because I live in Europe. No one from my inner / outer circle reads english novels. And doing a giveaway would involve more money from my side. Shipping costs can be a bitch. There was no way to pass the multiple books to someone else without having to pay.
You´re probably wondering about refunds, right?
Well, I was promised a refund for the boxes I received at the time but haven´t really gotten a refund.
That is scary stuff because I´ve never in my entire life reached my credit limit. I´ve never spent so much money on books before. Knowing you´re being billed is one thing. But seeing it with your own eyes will take you to a whole other level of “What the fuck am I going to do!”
In the end, I paid a stupidly, outrageous amount of money for books and swag. Money I don´t have and would never spend on surprise boxes, not even for the cute purple Bookworm boxes. Not even if it´s for a good cause. That´s a month worth of groceries for a 4 p. household. I could also get a complete outfits for my girls including gifts for each.
My point is- the money I unwillingly spent could have been used more productively. Not even the fact that my money went to charity can make me feel better because… Right now? With my bill? I don´t give a hoot about chartity.
The Bookworm Box isn´t evil. The people at the Bookworm Box aren´t evil. But I do believe their system needs a little over looking and a good polish. Situations like mine shouldn´t happen.
Despite me being temporarily in a financial mess I still am a fan of the author and the Bookworm Box. I think it´s a great idea and will continue to support their cause, if only silently. I´m just going to stay far far away from them, from now on. I´ll admire all the good these people do from afar and hope to God I never receive another package again.
I want to end this on a good note without destroying anyone. I have no wish to purposely ruin anyone´s reputation, either. I just wanted to share my experience with The Bookworm Box, even if it wasn´t as great as I had hoped it would be.
All the best to the people at The Bookworm Box.