Why are We Obsessed with Book Boxes?

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Book Friends, we have a problem. Book Boxes. They are taking over our lives.
And it’s because they are so cute. I drool over them until my brain kicks in and reminds me that I don’t need to spend another $50 on items made about fictional characters.

I can’t go on Instagram without being inundated with candles, book sleeves, stickers etc. And I want them all. It’s a real problem, for multiple reasons, but mostly for my wallet.


Book boxes are expensive.

The fun part about the boxes is that you get custom and unique items. But, how much of that stuff do you use? I got a Maeve candle and it smells so strong that I can’t burn it. So it sits on the shelf.

“Everytime I order a book box, I am so excited for the unknown and goodies. But I never seem to remember that I don’t really like anything I get until I open the box… like they are nice, but I’d buy nothing (barring the book) on my own.” – Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

Is it just the excitement of getting new stuff? Are we interested in the Christmas surprise effect or do we actually use all of those items? My guess is that half of it is the fun and excitement of opening a surprise box. And as someone who loves surprises, i’m all for it.

“I’m not a book box person, but I feel like the anticipation of getting a box of goodies is a huge part, like the excitement outweighs the actual individual items.” – Erin @ Undercover Binge Reader

Unboxings…

Unboxings are awesome to watch sometimes. I know that I have looked them up to compare the different boxes and their content. But are we buying them just to add content? I’m all for everyone creating the content that they want, regardless of what the expense is. But a $40 Instagram story is a pricey one, when most of us are doing this as a hobby.

All the pretty covers.

“The only thing that really grabs me about book boxes are the exclusive covers. The merch is cool, but sometimes it’s too much for me.” – Loretta @ Laughing Listener

The special edition covers are a huge trend now and they are getting readers to buy multiple versions of books. If you need an example you can look back at how Aurora Rising broke the internet better than Kim K. ever did. We would all riot in the streets over books except that we are a socially anxious bunch. I think that just makes us passionate and suckers for a pretty cover or sprayed edges.

So are we really obsessed?

I did a little research and thank you to everyone who participated in my survey. I found that… We aren’t actually obsessed with book boxes. We just see them so often that it feels that way.

Here are some stats

  • On average we buy less than 3 boxes per year each.
  • We spend about $40 American per box with shipping. About 36 euro, and $60 Australian.
  • Special edition books are the main reason for purchase.

Book boxes are limited by location.

“I prefer the exclusive covers and the collectibility of them. I always love the thrill of opening up a box and not knowing what will be inside, what I’ll get, or what I’ll love,
But there’s a downside to them though: you may not like anything inside. So it’s a gamble for someone like me who’s an international buyer. These boxes don’t come cheap and conversion rates are rather high.” – Sibby @ Siobhan’s Novelties

We can’t forget that not everyone has access to these boxes. Lots of retailers will only ship to the US or the UK. Just like books, many of us have to buy these items off of second hand sites just to get access.

*Do your research when buying from another country. If they change their shipping policy, you could get hit with unexpected fees. Fees that are sometimes higher than the price of the box itself!


What do you love most about book boxes? Let me know in the comments!

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24 thoughts on “Why are We Obsessed with Book Boxes?

  1. Such a great topic!
    I signed up for BOTM at the end of 2016, because it was the only box I knew of that only sent a book; I wasn’t interested in all the extra goodies (and packaging/waste) that is in other book boxes, especially since the prices of those boxes are much higher. I did end my BOTM membership in February? March? of this year. Mainly because I needed to save money, and partly because so many of the books are still unread and I was becoming overwhelmed. I would consider signing up again if I ever get my BOTM backlist down to a reasonable size. 😆

    The only other box I ever received was a PageHabit box – I won it through a giveaway contest – and I loved it because they worked with non-profits and humanitarian organizations around the world (buy a box, donate a book kind of program), and the selected books always came with sticky notes featuring annotations from the author. I didn’t sign up for a membership after that, though, because of the price (which is fortunate because they controversially disappeared off the face of the earth).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a Fairyloot subscription, until around this time last year. I didn have any income at the time and had to cancel it. And honestly now that I have money to spend, I still don’t feel like purchasing a box. Because of all the extra items. Lately, I did not like many of the items they put in their boxes. I have been ordering the tarrot cards, because those are just too beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Wow I loved this post so much! Very insightful into the book community. It felt like book box companies came out of nowhere and they don’t feel like they’re slowing down!

    I am someone who watches book box unboxings by my favourite content creators, but has never actually purchased one myself and don’t think I ever will. I guess the value I derive from it is maybe seeing a bookish item or new release that might appeal to me? But I personally hate trinkets/souvenirs, so I know I’d never purchase a box myself.

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    1. Thank you! It really is like they came out of nowhere. One day my Instagram was just flooded by subscription boxes. Sometimes I do feel like I am missing out from all of the neat stuff that people get, but then I sit back and see that it’s probably not something I would really use. I’m also not a trinket person so most of the book-themed items that I have received are stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

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  5. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Welp, I’ve never bought a book box, never been offered one – so I’m not sure how much I can contribute here! I guess what would lure me to try one would be if it offered a curated selection of multiple books, without the other guff (candles, tea, whatever else it is they put in them? I don’t even know). Maybe a nice bookmark, that’d be enough for me. But I’m also notoriously thrifty, so it’d have to work out to be significantly cheaper than buying the books individually – I’m not swayed by “special editions” or covers at all – at a local independent bookstore I want to support. So. That’s all I got! Hahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When the trend was first started, I was really jealous to people who purchased book boxes. I never buy any bookish accessories so for me getting a box will be a great way to get rid of the guilt of getting merchandise as it is a package deal 😂

    But overtime I just grew meh, especially with all the special edition books. I love special editions, but I hate it when it become obvious that it’s a money grab instead of to celebrate something special like an anniversary or final book release. I guess it’s lucky that I live far far away 😂

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  8. Great post. Definitely something to think about. Personally, I don´t buy book boxes anymore because they´re not worth it for me ( financially and emotionally ). I never used anything from whatever box I purchased. As for the prices- Definitely not worth my money. I think the cheapest box I was able to get my hands on cost me ( with shipping and customs ) around 60 euros ( around 66 bucks ) That was some expensive swag. I think book boxes are great when you live in the country they´re shipped from. They´re also cool when you´re a massive fan of fan art, candles, etc. As for the emotional part- I get that unboxing is one of the most exciting things EVER. But I get just as excited when my Amazon order arrives, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

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