Hello, fellow readers! Today I am continuing the Books on a Budget series by sharing various bookish subscriptions. I will not be discussing bookish subscription boxes that contain all of the extras for an outrageous price each month or Audible, as I find Audible to be far from a “budget” subscription.
**Note: There are affiliate links in this post.
Book of the Month (BOTM)
I have been a subscriber to BOTM for about a year now. I think the service is super affordable and I’ve read several books from BOTM that I would not have read otherwise. There is also a BOTM YA, which is for young adult books only. You can add-on YA books to a BOTM subscription as well.
Cost: $14.99/mo for one book credit, free shipping, option to add-on up to two additional books for $9.99 each
Pros: You can skip a month and keep your credit for the next month. You will not be charged again the next month as long as you actually log in and skip the month.
Cons: The shipping is slow, but it is also free, so I don’t complain. You can only choose a book from that month’s selection as your BOTM. So, for example, if you don’t like one of the five books for the month of July, you can’t just choose books from previous months.
**Some members have been reporting an option to choose a previous month’s books when they scroll to skip the month. I have not seen this option yet so I don’t know if it is in beta or only for certain accounts.
Scribd is an audiobook and ebook service that is *unlimited (we’ll talk about that asterisk in a minute). I really love the selection on Scribd and can always find new releases to read.
Pros: The selection is very good considering the cheap price tag.
Cons: We’ll talk about the asterisk now. Scribd advertises *unlimited reading, which is true, but there is a catch. Users have reported that sometimes their selection on the app is, in fact, limited. Scribd claims this happens when a user has listened to books that are in high demand or listened to a “high volume” of titles. Now, this finally happened to me after almost 8 months of using the service, and I can’t figure out why. I had downloaded and listened to maybe 2 hours of Inspection by Josh Malerman and then DNF’d it. I then downloaded The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and listened to it over the course of a week. I immediately downloaded the next book, It’s Not Summer Without You. In the middle of listening to that book, I noticed my catalog had been limited. I highly doubt either of those books are consider “high demand” and can’t figure out why this happened after finishing two books in two weeks. I have averaged a book per week in previous months without an issue.
Overall, I would still recommend Scribd if you like to listen to audiobooks and do not have a decent selection from your library. Even if I can only access 2-3 titles a month, it’s still a better deal than Audible. But I do agree they should outline the rules for when/why your selection is limited.
Doubleday Book Club
I have not personally used this service, but it seems similar to BOTM except you choose two books.
Cost: $14.99/mo for one book credit, free shipping if you buy two books, $14.99 for an additional book credit
Pros: Like BOTM, you can skip a month and save the credits for later. There is a clearance section where you can buy books cheaper than using a credit. For example, today when I checked, they had Lies She Told by Cate Holahan in the clearance section for $3.99.
Cons: The selection is very similar to BOTM and it seems after the first month promo they are currently running, each credit is $14.99. Right now, you can sign up and pay $9.99 for each credit during your first month. You also have to call the company if you want to cancel, which is a pet peeve of mine because you know when you call, they’ll waste a bunch of time trying to convince you to stay with a bunch of offers.
Doubleday Book Club would be worth checking in to for the clearance section or for access to BOTM titles that have sold out on the BOTM website. The selection is not exactly the same, but I have noticed alot of the same books on both services. BOTM is still probably the cheaper option because you get free shipping on one book and additional credits are only $9.99. You can join Doubleday Book Club here.
I have used Kindle Unlimited only when given a free trial subscription. I actually just got a free trial during Amazon Prime Days. You do not need a Kindle to subscribe-as long as you have a device that supports the free Kindle app, you are good to go.
Pros: From what I can tell, the service truly is unlimited. You can “check out” up to 10 titles at a time, but you will have to return one of those to check out more books.
Cons: The selection is not the best. You won’t find the NY Times bestsellers on Kindle Unlimited, but if indie authors are your jam, you’ll probably find alot of titles you’re interested in.
If you have Amazon Prime, you have free access to some titles that are on Kindle Unlimited. I feel like Amazon does not advertise that well, but before you pay for Kindle Unlimited, check to see if you are interested in some of the titles that are free with your Prime membership.
Also, this seems like a good time to mention that Amazon Prime members can choose one book from the Amazon First Reads books each month. I think most of these titles are published by Amazon, but sometimes there is a book there that I’m interested in, so I’ll snag it for later.
Did I miss a budget friendly bookish subscription service? Let me know in the comments!