Book Subscriptions

I’ve become a subscriber to Emily Books, an ebook-only bookstore that makes one book available per month and offers a subscription service so that each month’s book arrives as a link in your email box. I’m very happy with the service, in part because Emily Books are so distinctive: they are generally books by women and ones that have been overlooked or forgotten, or are out of the mainstream for one reason or another. They tend to have a feminist sensibility, and are sometimes edgy and experimental. The books are sometimes novels, sometimes nonfiction. The most famous ones are probably Muriel Spark’s Loitering With Intent and Barbara Comyns’s Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, but there are a lot that I had never heard of before. I have Emily Books to thank for introducing me to Dorothy Baker’s Cassandra at the Wedding, a book I loved.

I’m enjoying reading by subscription, but it does cause some anxiety: a new book arrives every month, and I always wonder when I will have time to read it. There is so much to read already! I don’t want these books to pile up unread (metaphorically speaking — they are ebooks!). But on the other hand, I love the idea of someone else choosing a book for me. And I love supporting a small, indie bookstore like Emily Books. They are doing great work in supporting and promoting lesser-known books and authors.

It seems to me that book subscriptions have been growing in popularity lately. There’s the NYRB Classics Book Club, the Melville House Art of the Novella subscription series, the TNB Book Club, and others, I’m sure. There is even a personalized service from Heywood Hill bookshop, which Alex wrote about recently, that offers a book a month tailored to your individual taste.

Emily Books is the only subscription service I’m participating in right now, and I should probably limit myself to only one such service at a time, but they all look so good. All this is entirely too tempting for someone as greedy for books as I am!


Filed under Books

10 responses to “Book Subscriptions

  1. These services are awfully tempting, aren’t they? I subscribed to one at a local bookstore that did signed first editions, and I got some books that look great (and one that doesn’t) but I’ve only managed to read a couple. I gave it up because I was so far behind, and I genuinely prefer paperbacks. They also offer a personalized service, which tempts me too, but I wonder how personalized it could be. It’s a wonderful store, but not one that caters to tastes too far off the beaten path.

    Book Riot has just started a quarterly subscription box, which includes a book and bookish goodies. I subscribed to that because quarterly is not so often, and the bookish goodies they often feature on their site look pretty fun. I love the idea of the Emily Books subscription–the selections sound interesting, and e-books don’t take up space. But I have a habit of forgetting about my e-books, so I may never get to reading them. Still, it’s tempting…


    • I like the idea of getting a subscription through a local book shop, but it would definitely need to be one that was likely to share my tastes, and I would prefer paperbacks as well. So far, I’ve kept up with my Emily Books subscription reading fairly well, although that could change. I like the idea of the Book Riot subscription box, although I haven’t done it because the non-book items don’t really tempt me. But I can see that it would be fun to receive. I tend to forget about ebooks too, although I tag them as such on LibraryThing and so can look at all the unread ones I have that way.


  2. it sounds really great and tempting, except I just enter a phase where I will have very limited time to read, so I’ll probably wait another year before inquiring about subscriptions like that.


    • That makes sense. I liked the idea of ebooks because a decent amount of the reading I’ve done in the past year has been in the dark with the baby, and reading on my phone or Nook works well. A subscription definitely has to fit into your life successfully to make it worth while.


      • omg, I admire you! I’m really not a wake-up-in-the-dark-and-read person. It’s difficult enough to find some brainpower to feed the little one at these hours for me, when I’m barely conscious 🙂 ! Or maybe I’ll be a brand new person with extra willpower with baby #2 this time around (but I don’t have much hope).


  3. It is the worry about when you will find time to read that haunts you when you take on one of these subscriptions, isn’t it? However, I am definitely going to look at the Emily Books series because I am always looking for good books to take out with me on my e-reader when the book I’m reading is too heavy to carry around.


    • Yes, I like having good books on my ereader as well, although for me, it’s more about being able to read in the dark, whether it’s with the baby or at night when my husband is trying to sleep. There are all those free classics, of course, but I’m not always in the mood to read a classic!


  4. Oh this sounds great. I’ve been very tempted to subscribe to NYRB but then I think I may just end up feeling more overwhelmed by the books that are piling up.


  5. What a fun subscription and you don’t have a pile of the books you haven’t managed to get to haunting you each time you walk by it! I’ve really enjoyed my NYRBs Classics subscription but I am so far behind with them (3 months soon to be 4) that I couldn’t justify renewing it. So I’ll just take a little break, catch up and then go from there. I do like that there are so many subscription options around these days.


  6. So far I have managed to resist the ereader, and I’m sort of hoping I’ll keep it like that for a while (mostly because I do have enough to read already, and I can see exactly how I would load that thing up with every free classic under the sun). This sounds like a fantastic service, though, and a clever idea. It will not surprise you to know I have Cassandra at the Wedding to read in the very near future!


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