• Article
  • Privacy Policy
  • About Us
  • Contact Us
Location: Home / Article / 9 best book subscription boxes for a monthly literary treat delivered to your door

9 best book subscription boxes for a monthly literary treat delivered to your door

One-Stop Service Platform |
141

Earlier this summer,

The Bookseller reported

that publishers and booksellers had seen “dramatic increases” in the numbers of people signing up for book subscriptions. Meanwhile Rosamund De La Hey, founder of

The Mainstreet Trading Company

, told us: “We have seen a 10-fold increase in subscriptions in the past year, which has been amazing.”

Book subscriptions make the perfect presents for bookworms so we’re not in the least surprised that they’ve been flying off the shelves. After all, what could be nicer than a beautifully wrapped, hand-picked, thought-provoking book dropping through your letterbox every month?

The beauty of these types of service is that they enable readers to discover new genres and titles that they may not have come across before. However, some subscriptions focus on particular types of books.

The Original Travelling Reader

, for instance, themes its book choices around geographical areas while

The Rare Birds Book Club

champions brilliant books written by women.

Even better, many sellers add a treat or two to their boxes – anything from a delicious bar of artisan chocolate to a packet of teabags. There’s often the chance to join online discussions, Q&As and talks with featured authors too. What’s not to like?

Plus, for readers who don’t want to commit to three, six or 12-month plans, many sellers also offer the chance to buy a book box as a one-off. There really is something for everyone, and we’ve tried to list them all here.

Read more:

8 best book club books to discuss, debate and enjoy

Best Margaret Atwood books to add to your reading list

8 best historical fiction books to read next

The best book subscription boxes for 2021 are:

Best overall

– Mr B’s reading subscriptions: £50,

Mrbsemporium.com

Best for diversity

– Mainstreet books diverse voices subscription: £85,

Mainstreetbooks.co.uk

Best for relaxing

– Reposed: £12.80,

Reposed.co

Best for discovering new places

– The Original Travelling Reader: £34.99,

Thetravellingreader.com

Best for children

– The Willoughby Book Club children’s book club: £34.99,

Thewilloughbybookclub.co.uk

Best gift that keeps on giving

– ShelterBox book club: £10,

Shelterbox.org

Best for chocoholics

– Bookishly Classics Revisited Luxury Chocolate and Book Subscription: £18,

Bookishly.co.uk

Best for fiction written by women

– Rare Birds Book Club: £14,

Rebirdsbookclub.com

Best for a chilled night in –

Books + Beer: £13.50,

Booksplusbeer.com

Mr B’s reading subscriptions

Best:

Overall

Rating:

10/10

Where do you like reading? What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind? These were just a couple of the questions we had to answer before our box from Mr B’s reading subscriptions arrived. We pinged back our answers and a few days later a bright blue package popped through the letterbox. Inside, wrapped in Mr B’s distinctive floral paper and sealed with a gold sticker, was a book handpicked for us by a Mr B’s bibliotherapist.

It turned out to be

Pachinko

by Min Jin Lee (£7.46,

Amazon.co.uk

), complete with a sturdy bookmark.

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

in Bath has twice been named the UK’s best independent bookshop and the staff really know their literary stuff. Subscriptions last for three, six or 11 months and readers can choose either paperbacks or hardbacks. They’re not the cheapest but we loved the expert tailoring of book choices to readers’ tastes.

Buy now

£

50

,

Mrbsemporium.com

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

Mainstreet Books diverse voices subscription

Best:

For diversity

Rating:

9/10

The Mainstreet Trading Company

, a bookshop in St Boswells in the Scottish Borders, launched its first book subscription in 2016. Its latest offering is the diverse voices subscription, which promotes inclusive publishing and inspires book lovers to read more widely. Over a period of six months subscribers get three fiction and three non-fiction titles that have “moved, enlightened or challenged” the Mainstreet team.

Our first book, in chic brown paper and tied with twine, was

The Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett (£6,

Amazon.co.uk

) while the second was a non-fiction title,

Braiding Sweetgrass

by Robin Wall Kimmerer (£8.19,

Amazon.co.uk

). Plus, 10 per cent of every subscription purchased goes to the charity

Intercultural Youth Scotland

.

Buy now

£

85

,

Mainstreetbooks.co.uk

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

Reposed

Best:

For relaxing

Rating:

9/10

Billed as a book subscription for modern women, the Reposed box includes everything for a relaxed night in – posh chocolate, tea, luxury beauty products, elegant stationery and an unputdownable book. The editors curate the best contemporary literary fiction, always choosing paperback editions that are easy to read in the bath.

The titles are brand-new so it’s unlikely that subscribers will already have them. Past choices include:

The Outrun

by Amy Liptrot (£8.13,

Amazon.co.uk

),

The Party

by Elizabeth Day (£7.37,

Amazon.co.uk

) and

Home Fire

by Kamila Shamsie (£7.13,

Amazon.co.uk

).

Our book –

The Margot Affair

by Sanae Lemoine (£7.99,

Amazon.co.uk

) – came with a perfume sample from Miller Harris, a chocolate bar, a lemon teabag and a pretty journal. There’s also an online community where readers can discuss each month’s books.

Buy now

£

13.80

,

Reposed.co

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

The Original Travelling Reader

Best:

For discovering new places

Rating:

9/10

This is a wonderful idea – a monthly book subscription that takes you on a reading journey round the UK. Each box is themed around a particular region and comes with a cornucopia of delights, including a book set in the area, something to eat and drink, tourist leaflets, a bookmark and a gift.

We tested a delightfully packaged East Sussex box, complete with

The Light Keeper

by Cole Moreton (£6.79,

Amazon.co.uk

), a novel set near the chalk-white cliffs of Beachy Head. Our box also included a mug, teabags from East Sussex tea company Bird and Blend, a chocolate bar from Only Coco in Hastings and some East Sussex notecards. We particularly liked the addition of a map of the South Downs National Park to inspire us to plan our own visit.

Buy now

£

34.99

,

Thetravellingreader.com

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

The Willoughby Book Club children’s book club

Best:

For children

Rating

: 8/10

Established in 2012,

The Willoughby Book Club

offers a plethora of book subscription boxes – from picture books for toddlers to tomes for young adults, fiction fans, budding chefs and even couples.

We tested the children’s book club box for readers aged four to 12 and reckon it would appeal to young bookworms and less confident readers alike. All we had to do was answer a few questions about our children’s reading tastes and hey presto, the first book, specially chosen by the Willoughby team, arrived in the post.

Wrapped in jaunty paper, the box included a notebook to chronicle the titles read. The subscriptions are available in three, six and 12-month packages and for every subscription box sold the company donates a new book to

Book Aid International

, supporting the charity’s education and literacy development work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Buy now

£

34.99

,

Thewilloughbybookclub.co.uk

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

ShelterBox book club

Best:

Gift that keeps on giving

Rating:

9/10

The ShelterBox book club is no ordinary book club. This charity works with families around the world who have lost their homes due to disaster or conflict. By signing up to the book club, subscribers get the chance to vote on a shortlist of three books every six weeks. The book with the most votes is sent to members, along with a bookmark, explanatory notes and an update on ShelterBox’s work. Readers can also take part in online discussions, Q&As and talks with featured authors.

The book choices always share underrepresented stories from cultures and communities that don’t often appear on the bestseller lists so it’s a great way to discover new writers. Recent choices include

A Woman of Firsts

by Edna Adan Ismail (£8.19,

Amazon.co.uk

) and

We, the Survivors

by Tash Aw (£6.25,

Amazon.co.uk

). The book club currently has more than 3,000 members and as one of them says: “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Buy now

£

10

,

Shelterbox.org

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

Bookishly classics revisited luxury chocolate and book subscription

Best:

For chocoholics

Rating:

9/10

Books and chocolate are a winning combination so we loved this stylish duo from Bookishly. Available as a one-off or for three or six months, the classics revisited subscription consists of a modern paperback either based on or inspired by a literary classic, plus a bar of artisan handmade chocolate.

The chocolate wrapper cleverly features a quote from the book that prompted the month’s choice. For instance, we received Zadie Smith’s

On Beauty

(£7.37,

Amazon.co.uk

) and the accompanying chocolate bar, made by Quirky Chocolate in Edinburgh, was emblazoned with a quote from

Howard’s End

by EM Forster (£5.94,

Amazon.co.uk

). If you’re looking for an original present for a design-conscious book lover this would be perfect.

Buy now

£

18

,

Bookishly.co.uk

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

Rare Birds Book Club

Best:

For fiction written by women

Rating:

9/10

The Rare Birds Book Club sets out to make reading fun. Founded by Rachel Wood, it champions great fiction written by women. Every month the book club creates summaries of two novels and asks subscribers to choose one. The title of the book you’ve chosen remains secret till it lands on the doormat, complete with a note about the choice and an illustrated bookmark featuring a literary “rare bird”. Past reads include

My Dark Vanessa

by Kate Elizabeth Russell (£6.29,

Amazon.co.uk

) or

Rodham

by Curtis Sittenfeld (£7.37,

Amazon.co.uk

).

We received

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (£7.37,

Amazon.co.uk

), along with a bookmark celebrating

The Colour Purple

by Alice Walker (£5.99,

Amazon.co.uk

). One of the best things about this book club is that readers get access to the Rare Birds members’ area, where they can rate, review and chat about the books they have read.

Buy now

£

14

,

Rarebirdsbookclub.com

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

Books & Beer

Best:

For a chilled night in

Rating:

8/10

Books and Beer is all about switching off your phone and putting your feet up with a couple of beers and a book. All you have to do is choose the book genre you prefer – non-fiction or crime – and a recently published paperback will arrive in the post, along with two craft beers from up-and-coming breweries.

We signed up for non-fiction and received

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

by John ”Chick” Donohue and JT Molloy (£10.57,

Amazon.co.uk

). It’s the astonishing story of a soldier who journeyed from New York to take his soldier buddies a beer in Vietnam. Our beer, which came with tasting notes and recipe suggestions, was from Lost and Found A.BL, a Brighton brewing company. Just right for a chilled-night in.

Buy now

£

13

,

Booksplusbeer.com

{{#hasItems}}

Price comparison

{{/hasItems}}{{#items}}

{{ merchant }}

£{{ price }}

Buy now

{{/items}}{{#hasItems}}

{{/hasItems}}

The verdict: Book subscription boxes

Mr B’s reading subscriptions

ticked all the boxes for us with its personalised book choices, diverse titles and ultra-stylish packaging. We also loved the

Mainstreet Books diverse voices subscription

, which encourages wider reading and promotes inclusive publishing at the same time.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on books and other entertainment offers, try the below links:

Audible Discount Codes

Book Depository Discount Codes

Discover more great tomes on the

Booker prize shortlist

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

More about

Arts and Books

Subscription Boxes

Fiction

indybest

The Independent

Subscribe to Independent Premium to bookmark this article

Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.

Subscribe

Already subscribed?

Log in