I love books. Always have. I regularly visit the library, and have a small personal collection of books. I like to use PaperBackSwap, and get used books whenever possible.
I’m a new member of MyPoints.com, and one offer that came through my inbox was points for signing up with a book-of-the-month club. I decided to look into it, just to see how expensive it would be. It’s quite costly.
Book of the Month Club
With Book of the Month Club, you select six books for $1, then have to buy four more books over the course of the next two years. Or, you could buy another book for $5.99 at the same time as your initial order and buy three books over the next two years.
Shipping and handling of the first item is $5.74; then each additional book in that order is $1.99 (overpriced!) plus tax. So, that initial order of seven books is looking like it will cost about $24.67 plus tax (I think). That’s about $3.50 per book, which isn’t terrible.
But, you’ll have to buy three more books to fulfill your membership obligation. From a quick sampling I took from available titles, you’re looking at $17-23 or so at regular price. If you choose three $17 books, that’s $51–not including shipping. If it’s $5.74 for the first item in your order, that’s $9.74 in shipping if you get all three books at once.
So, your total obligation will be at least $85 plus tax. That’s about $8.50 per book (including your books from your initial order).
With QPB, you’ll pay $4 (no shipping charges) for your first two books. Then, you’ll have to buy two more books over the next two years to fulfill your obligation. I can’t find how much shipping will be. So, it’s a smaller obligation than other book clubs, but you’ll still be spending at least $30-40 by my estimates.
Most book-of-the-month clubs will send you stuff you didn’t order. You’ll have to read the fine print or call a customer service rep to make sure they won’t be sending you the "featured selection" of the month. Find out what you’ll have to do to opt out of that feature, if you don’t want it.
From the fine print at QPB: "If you want the Main Selection, do nothing and it will come automatically. If you want other books, or none at all, indicate your decision on the print or online version of the Reply Form and respond by the date specified."
Quite similar to the Book of the Month Club, with Doubleday, you’ll select six books, and then have to buy three more.
Zooba has a flat rate of $9.95 per book with free shipping. You’ll be billed each month. You have to keep your membership for three months, or buy two additional books. So, your obligation will be about $30 for three books.
The bottom line
I don’t think these book clubs are a good deal. At all. The books available seem limited–you won’t be able to choose any book ever published or anything like that.
The membership fees can be costly (especially if you forget to cancel or forget to respond to the "do not want this featured selection" thing.
The book prices aren’t all that cheap.
You can do better buying on Amazon.com (spend $30 and get free shipping in some cases), buying used on Amazon, going through PaperBackSwap, or better yet–your public library.
P.S., if you want a chance to win a credit on PaperBackSwap, enter my giveaway!
What do you think of book clubs like this?