Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?


A few posts back I wrote a blog post on What I´d Like To See More Of In Book Boxes where I more or less give insight on what book subscription boxes are and why they don´t work for me. I also touched upon the fact that these magical boxes of bookish goods are a little expensive, which will be the main focus in this blog post-


Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?


Well? Are they? The short answer is- It depends on who´s buying. Personally, I think they´re overpriced, regardless of where you´re ordering from. Domestic orders aren´t as expensive as international orders ( damn those high shipping fees ) but they´re still not so cheap. With the majority of book box subscription providers wanting $29.99 per box, I´d say that´s just a * cough cough * rip off.



But that´s just my opinion. Of course, what I think isn´t world-shattering.

As I´ve mentioned in my other blog post, I´m not against these book box subscriptions. In a nutshell, the idea is fantastic. You pick & subscribe to a one month/6 month / 12-month book box plan and receive your monthly goods. It´s like seeing a beautiful shining object you can´t resist. The only problem I have is that the items in these boxes aren´t worth the amount they´re being sold for.

Let´s break this down a little to help paint out the picture a little better.

1 Book Box – $29.99 + shipping ( within the U.S. )

Contents of each box can vary but mainly consist of

  • book swag ( bookmarks, pins, magnets, pens, keychains, stickers, buttons, etc )
  • 1 paperback copy
  • samples of tea/cocoa, etc
  • a candle
  • item related to paperback
  • book/genre bound jewelry

Again- these items are usually in book boxes. Oftentimes boxes have fewer knick-knacks or are theme bound ( a fairy box, a bass-ass Heroine themed box, magical box, YA box ). Also, some boxes have mugs, fan art, or stationery sets ( depending on the box ). But for the sake of keeping this simple, we´ll just stick with what I´ve listed above.

So, with knowing this we can start to break down what these items are and where they come from.

  • book swag = often provided by an author
  • paperback = provided by author / publisher
  • jewelry = author/Etsy shop owner
  • candles = Esty shop owners
  • samples of tea & Co. = Etsy, Indie companies

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these items and the sources they come from… there is something wrong with the calculation. Things just don´t add up.

Swag is basically an advertisement. An author spends money on giveaway items to give away. For free. These items, in turn, travel and therefore bring awareness to their brand/name/book. Not every author says ” If you´d like my swag then it´ll cost you.” ( more about that topic in a future post )

Etsy shop owners who offer their creativity for these book box companies are also investing to make money. They use this outlet as a form of making people aware of their products ( unless they sell their products to book box companies. That´s also a possibility ).



Now, the most valuable product in these boxes would be the physical book. Let that cost around 12 – 20 smackers ( I´m being generous here ).

Wouldn´t it be easier and cheaper to order a book online? I can buy 2-3 paperback books for the price of one subscription box.

According to my calculations, each book box should cost little to nothing ( since most of the items are author donations and come from smaller business owners ). I´m talking peanuts/buttons/pennies… Sadly, it doesn´t work that way. There is more to this. Because I can´t imagine a company working for free, no matter what they say.

What am I paying for when a book box mainly consists of free stuff? $29.99 would be a tad excessive for a book and shipping, wouldn´t you agree? ´Cause, you know, swag is supposed to be free.

The truth is- You´re paying for the packaging. The box and every little detail that´s printed on it. One should also consider storage ( if one is used ). Common sense tells me that I´m not far off by thinking most of them are actually making some sort of profit out of all this. Why bother otherwise? Once fix costs are covered then there will definitely be some leftover amount.

Now, for shits and giggles- Let´s imagine I´m way off the charts with this topic. Let´s say that book subscription providers spend money on every single item in their boxes. Things still wouldn´t add up. Then the book box they´re selling would be too cheap and therefore, these providers would drown in debt sooner rather than later. So, there has to be a financial gain in order to continue.

I know this is a lot of information to process at once. It´s a little confusing if you don´t lay out everything neatly. Let´s get back to my original question:

Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?

I´d say they aren´t worth the money. You´re basically paying someone to put a sample pack together that so happens to include a book. You´re paying high shipping costs ( especially international people ) to get a box filled with items you could easily get in a store or at an author signing. You´re paying for the book, regardless. Might as well save some money and order the book online or purchase it in a bookstore.

What about limited stuff? Collector items? Sometimes book boxes come with cool objects. I guess one could treat the goodies that come in these packages as collector items. But then again, we´d have to go back to the “what is the value of these items” and all that. Unless an item is a one of a kind / never to be produced again object then chances are – There´s little to no worth, other than emotional value. That´s not nearly worth 30 bucks + shipping for me.

All in all, book boxes aren´t really as worthy as they appear to be. At least not for me.



Despite my reluctance to see the beauty in all this I still understand why these book boxes are appealing to others. I get it. And I would never disrespect anyone by saying they´re fools for investing their hard-earned money in these magical bookish boxes. To each is their own. ❤ It´s still interesting to lay all the details out and see if I´m getting my money’s worth.

On a kind note: Not every book box company functions the same way. Just the majority. Should you feel you´re getting your money´s worth with the subscription you´ve signed up with then I´m happy for you.


What about you? Are you subscribed to a book box? What are your fav/least favorite items? Do you think the book boxes are worth the money? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤


That´s it for now, my dear bookish Padawans. I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Be sure to hit the like button if you did ❤

See ya next time!

Much book – love,

9 thoughts on “Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?

  1. I’m not subscribed to any book boxes as, like you, I agree they’re overpriced and a waste of money. Also, I’m not really interested in collecting lots and lots of book “merch” – e.g. candles, stickers, bookmarks, posters. I’d just rather have books, so it would make no sense to start subscribing and paying for all these things I don’t actually want, for an extortionate price.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish I had the money to subscribe to a book box or two. They do look very nice, and the added items seem to add a little value to the box as a while, but I agree with you – they’re just way too expensive for the total of what’s in them. Still, it’s difficult not to want them when every bookstagram account you see posts their unboxing videos in their story…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I TOTALLY understand. It IS so hard not to want all the pretty things shown from the unboxing vids. I have this weird ” I WANT!!” mentality when I see those. But my rational side is hard to ignore. Money is a huge issue when you don´t have it to spare for knick-knacks you don´t really need. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, thanks for writing it. 😀 I have not and likely will not subscribe to any book boxes. The first I even saw one I was ALMOST smitten then I came back to my senses. I kind of really don’t want to get the same books or book or stuff that everyone else is getting. Granted I wind up reading a lot of popular books but there’s SO MANY books out in the world. I want to reserve my right and retain control over the books I acquire.

    And all this time I thought book boxes came with more than one book! Ugh that makes me sad and sick that there’s only ONE book. My gosh. Sure on some level all that STUFF might be cute to have but in the long run I agree with the above comment that I would rather have more books than stuff. What if I don’t like the book so all the stuff is now….? Do I get to trade it all out for a book I do like?

    It would seem as I thought, I’m not missing out on anything. Thank you. 😉 I’ll continue to make my own book boxes, aka online book orders that get mailed to me in a box.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “… I came back to my senses.” Yeah, I know that feeling all too well. Happens to me all the time, escpecially with overpriced books.
      I agree with you on the `not wanting to read what everyone else is getting` bit. You know- sometimes book boxes do come with 2 books. It really depends on the company and the box. I don´t think trading is a thing but it´s not a bad idea. There should be a trade market for book swag ( there probably is something like that already but we´re just too busy to look into it. Lol )

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m no longer subscribed to any, but I did wonder why there was no mention of wages in your calculations? What about the time invested by whoever sources the product, arranges the orders, packs and ships the items? I know some people who run them as side businesses, shouldn’t they get some form of profit worth their while?


    1. I actually wanted to dive into the wages topic but I quickly found out that there´s too much ground to cover. It´s tricky because there´s no definite structure. There no `one size fits the majority`. For example: Some subscription companies are non-profit, some use the non-profit claim for the sake of business. Then there are the transparent subscription box companies who lay out all their cards and the ones who don´t. Personally, I´d love for these businesses to make some profit because of everything these people invest. No one should work for free, even if it´s a side business. I´ve sat here and tried to figure out how a subscription box company would make some profit ( because I´m convinced they do, as they should ). There´s no doubt that it´s hard work to manage this type of show. But then I realized the wages topic could easily become a few posts instead of one post. I would like to dive more into the subject and sort all the collected info before blurting just anything out, if that makes any sense? Can I ask why you´re no longer subscribed to any subscription boxes anymore?


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