Everything You Wanted to Know About Book Boxes (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Everything You Wanted to Know About Book Boxes (But Were Afraid to Ask)

By now you’ve surely heard about our popular Book Box service. The premise is simple: fill out a form with your literary likes and dislikes, tell us how often you’d like to receive books and how many you’d like at a time. Our staff will then select books we think you’ll like based on the information you’ve given us and put them on our holds shelf for you to come and pick up. But what if you’re not sure whether a Book Box subscription is right for you? What if you’ve been getting a Book Box, but it’s not working quite as well as you’d hoped? Have no fear! I’m here to demystify the whole process, from figuring out if you should sign up to getting the most out of your Book Box experience. 

Is a Book Box right for me?

Have you been on the fence about signing up for a Book Box? That’s OK! Book Boxes aren’t for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with being satisfied with your own selections. Truth be told, I’m precisely the kind of person that Book Boxes are entirely wrong for. If you’re like me and you have a reading list a mile long and you’re pretty up-to-date on current releases, then you probably don’t need us picking books for you. If you already know precisely what you like to read and have no trouble finding books that match your taste, you probably don’t need a Book Box either. If you really only like a handful of authors and nothing else will do, Book Boxes probably aren’t for you either. 

If, however, you’ve been in a reading rut and want to expand your bookish horizons or you’re in a hurry and just want to take the pressure off picking something to read, Book Boxes are absolutely for you. Maybe you have kids and you struggle to find the right books to take home to them. Or maybe you’re trying to revive your love of reading, but it’s been so long that you have no idea where to even start finding books you’ll like. Perhaps you don’t even want to set foot in a public space right now. We can run your Book Box out to your car with our curbside service, deliver Boxes through our Homebound services, or send your Box to our new Capital Mall Lockers for contactless pickup. Book Boxes are a great fit for any of those scenarios. The important thing is that you’re open to reading something new

How do I get the most out of my Book Box? 

When we came up with Book Boxes, we had to make some assumptions about our readers and what they’re looking for. The biggest assumption we make is this: when you list your favorite authors or series, that author or series is sufficiently on your radar.  We will base selections off of these, but we will NOT be giving you a bunch of books by those authors (or grab random books from a series you listed). We might give you the start of a new series by one of your favorites if we think you haven’t heard about it yet, but for the most part, we’ll avoid that particular author or series to make sure we’re not giving you something you’ve already read. Likewise, we probably won’t be giving you the next book in a series in subsequent Boxes because we figure that particular series is now officially on your radar as well. 

We assume that you’re willing to keep an open mind when you receive your Book Box. We hope that you’ll give everything a chance, even if you don’t wind up finishing your books for whatever reason. You might even find yourself pleasantly surprised to enjoy something you wouldn’t have picked up on your own! It’s fine if you don’t like what we picked; it’s bound to happen from time to time, but we also have to assume that, unless we hear feedback from you to the contrary, we’re doing OK with our selections. 

Last, but not least, if you haven’t been picking up your Book Boxes, we’ll take that to mean that it’s not working out for you. If you skip picking up more than a couple of Book Boxes in a row, we’ll likely move you to either our “I’ll Contact You” [when I’m ready for my next Book Box] or “Cancelled” lists. These can, of course, be reinstated at any time. 

With these assumptions in mind, here are a few tips to get the most out of your Book Box subscription: 

  • Give us feedback!!! We can’t stress this one enough. Whether you loved or hated the books we gave you, the more information we have about your tastes will help us select better in the future. We know we’re going to pick the wrong books sometimes, but you can help prevent that by letting us know how we did. 
    • Speaking of feedback, be as specific as you can. Simply telling us that you liked or disliked a book is nice, but if you can tell us what you liked or didn’t like about it is the best kind of feedback. Was a book too gory? Too slowly paced? Do you prefer a different narration style? This kind of information is like gold to those of us who are trying to find the perfect books for you. 
    • To give feedback on your Book Box, use the “Ready for my next Book Box” form on this page. It’s OK if you’re not actually ready for a new Book Box; there’s a question on the form that asks if you’re ready for one. If you’re not, just click “no” and we’ll continue to fill your Box on your regularly scheduled dates. 
  • If your tastes have changed, you can fill out a new form. This is particularly useful for kids and teens whose reading levels and tastes can change rapidly. If you (or your child) filled out a form at age 12 and you (or your child) are 15 now, odds are good that you’re not reading the same stuff you read back then. Filling out a new form gives you the opportunity to refine your likes and dislikes, as well as your reading level, how often you want to receive your Box, and how many books you’d like to get in your Box. 
  • When signing up or changing up your preferences, use the “other” sections liberally. Many of our genre selections are intentionally vague which means that we’re hoping you’ll help us narrow it down. Maybe you checked the “how-to” box for non-fiction. What are you interested in learning to do? Maybe you marked “war” on the fiction section. Do you have a specific war or wars that you prefer to read about? Put it in the “other” section! 
  • Please don’t be afraid to tell us where your boundaries are in terms of things you really cannot stand. You can write these into the box that asks for the authors/series/etc that you don’t like. Sure, you can check off the boxes that say “strong language” or “explicit descriptions of sex”, but we might assume you’re ok with the occasional swear word or steamy-but-not-explicit scene or we might avoid books with these elements even if there’s only a small amount of that type of content. Don’t hesitate to tell us about the elements that really turn you off of a book. Conversely, feel free to tell us things like “no explicit sex scenes, but off-page or implied sex scenes are OK” or “some violence is OK, but I don’t like books that are extremely violent”. 
  • While we won’t automatically pick more books from a series that you liked, you can specifically request that we throw the next ones in and we’ll be happy to oblige (assuming the book in question is on the shelf when we’re filling your box, otherwise we can just put it on hold for you). 
  • Don’t have time to read right now? Instead of cancelling your Book Box, consider having us move you to “I’ll Contact You” status. We can jump right back in to filling your boxes whenever you tell us you’re ready. 

Phew! That’s a whole lot of stuff to know about Book Boxes, right? The main thing to know is that we looooove to get feedback on Book Boxes. We want you to have a great reading experience every time, but we can’t make it happen if we don’t know how we’re doing. You can always contact us via phone or email to request changes to your account. Let’s work together to find you some great stuff to read!