This fall, Bookspan relaunched the Book of the Month Club! I remember belonging to the Book of the Month Club many years ago, and I thought it was a great way to get new books at reasonable prices. The Book of the Month club goes back a long time -- almost 90 years, and I was so excited to hear that it was coming back to a new generation of readers.
The new Book of the Month club is an on-line subscription service that connects users with fantastic exciting books selected by an outstanding panel of Judges. Here's how it works: Each month (no later than the 6th!), you select and receive one of five featured titles chosen by a panel of judges. (You can check out recent judges here.) If you don't select, there is a book automatically assigned to you. One book is included in your membership, but you can always select additional ones at the price of $12.99.
Within a few days, you will receive your book in little package. Even though I knew what was coming, I was always excited to open a new book -- it never gets old! Included is a note from the judge that made that selection describing the book and why they selected it -- I always use it as my bookmark. In addition, there are discussion forums for you to participate in after you've read the book.
I was fortunate enough to receive a three-month membership in exchange for a fair review. Overall, I am happy with my Book of the Month Club experience. I had a little issue the first month when I received a book that I'm pretty sure I didn't request. Of course, I have no way to prove that I didn't request it but I swear I changed my auto selection (a book I had already read) to a book that I was "new to me." I contacted customer service through email and didn't hear back. It took two more emails until they contacted me. The did remedy the situation -- they offered to send me the book I thought I selected; however, I told them that they didn't have to do that. Maybe it was my fault, you know?
For my three months membership, I received some great books -- THANK YOU, GOODNIGHT, WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS, and SMALLER AND SMALLER CIRCLES. I also received THE HISTORY OF LOVE for free -- I'm assuming they added an extra book to correct for the confusion back in August. There is a fairly wide variety of books available each month -- nonfiction, mystery, women's fiction, etc. However, there was a month when I struggled to find a selection. I am not the average reader and I do receive a lot of books, so I feel that this assessment is unique to me and not everyone who would join the club.
Here's an example of August's selections:
The selections are: BARBARA THE SLUT AND OTHER PEOPLE, HOME IS F******* BURNING, SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED, THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET, and WITCHES. Book of the Month offers three membership plan options: 1-month, 3-month, and 12-month. The cost of the 1-month plan is $16.99 per month, the 3-month plan is $38.97 ($12.99 per month), and the 12-month plan is $107.88 ($8.99 per month).
I do think that the Book of the Month Club is a great service to readers. I loved seeing what new books would appear on the first of every month and then making my selection. The only improvement I can see would be allowing members to select prior month's books if nothing from the current month appeals to them. But otherwise, it's a fun way to get new books each month and a great gift idea for the holidays!