After five years of blogging, sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ideas. So much has changed over the years, including my blogging style, many times over, and I’ve gotten so much more into taking photos and posting on Instagram as a part of my love of books and bookish merch!
In an attempt to keep things interesting and fun, I wanted to started a little something new for me where I take a post that I had originally shared on Instagram — or “bookstagram” for those in the book community — and took it a little further in a blog post. There’s a limited number of characters that you can share on Insta and the point of those posts is more to get to the point, rather than writing a whole narrative, but sometimes each post deserves a few extra words, and “As Seen on Instagram” is a fun way for me to do that!
I’ve dabbled in a few bookish subscription boxes and certainly have my favorites. Owlcrate is one of the largest, most-respected, and well-establish bookish sub boxes and the one I purchase from the most! I love the care that goes into each box and each item is from a high-quality bookish shop. This was an unboxing for September’s Owlcrate which was the theme of Mythical Creatures. I’m not a big creature person but I had (correctly) guessed the book which I knew I wanted and the promise of a Book Beau lured me in (before the manufacturing drama hit)!
I wanted to share a little more about this Instagram post on my blog today because I wanted to talk a little bit more about my experiences with purchasing subscription boxes! If you want to see more about the items in the September Owlcrate box, head on over to the photo above for links to each shop and a description of each item!
I can’t even imagine what it’s like to own a subscription box company! I’m a perfectionist at heart and I want EVERYONE to be happy ALL THE TIME and with so many different items in a box that are all a surprise, it’s impossible to keep every single subscriber happy, but it’s also part of the charm and part of the fun. I do like surprises so I keep on coming back but I also am the worst kind of bookish box subscriber because I’m so picky about my fandoms! I’m the black sheep on some of the bigger ones, haven’t read others, and then there are times when I’m subscribing for my fandom and it’s for an item that I don’t like or won’t use. It’s funny because one of my favorite boxes was less specific fandom items, more geared toward the theme and I loved it because I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any fandoms.
I don’t like writing negative posts so I don’t want this to feel like a negative thing about this box. It’s more of a general subscription box + me post. I’ve been having a hard time justifying spending money on subscription boxes lately. While I can always appreciate the quality of the items selected for any given sub box, IT’S ME. It really is. I usually pick out two or three things that I’m excited for out of … five? six? seven items? So it’s starting to get discouraging when I feel like I’m giving more away than I’m keeping, and again — that’s no fault of sub box company. I’m too far outside of a “normal” subscriber to appreciate everything. I’m outside of the fandoms, or not wanting jewelry, or not using bath items, or not wanting coin purses. I mean, this is why my friends tell me I’m hard to buy for at the holidays HAHA.
It really is me, and I know that. I but I think I may have to start saving my pennies and NOT subscribing and then seeing if there are any leftover boxes or finding a way to make a trade if there’s an item I really, really want. I know Owlcrate has a Buy/Sell/Trade group — for their items AND other young adult books/merch/sub boxes — and I’m a member of it but I’ve never actually done any buying/selling/trading, although it is appealing. But that involves me gathering up all those items which I just don’t have time for. I also have a hard time selling the items, which is silly but also not. I paid for the items so it only makes sense to be monetarily compensated for them if someone else wants them… But I also hate selling another shop’s item. I don’t feel like it’s mine to sell and often times, those items are sold for way more than the shop might retail them which just feels icky. I get that part of it is to cover shipping costs but sometimes it’s not and I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do that. I’m more likely to engage in a trade but then I’m being picky about what I’m trading for and we’re right back where we started!
One thing I have enjoyed is using some of those items as bookstagram props, even if I won’t actually use them for their intended purpose! The Pride & Prejudice headband from Storiarts was lovely but I surely can’t pull that look off, so I’ve been using it as a literary background to add a touch of black and a splash of words to my photos! I’ve also used a gorgeous Harry Potter-inspired necklace as a prop for some Harry Potter photos and a nautical necklace for some ocean/sea themes. I absolutely love them both but I don’t really wear jewelry and I never wear necklaces so this was a fun way to still put those items to use even if I’m not wearing them.
When it comes down to it, I’ve decided to cancel most of my subscriptions and just buy the box after the fact (if I can) unless it’s something fandom-specific. Nerdy Post’s boxes are based off of specific fandoms (like this Harry Potter one!) each month so it’s hard to be disappointed, but that’s resulted in me skipping several months because of fandoms I’m not a part of. It feels more satisfactory but I have to be more vigilant about unsubscribing and resubscribing when I need to. I’ve been more happy with one-off boxes like ones from The Bookish Box where they appeal to a specific book or fandom like their Princess Bride box or their Harry Potter House box! I loved both of those and almost all of the items in there so it was so much easier to feel like I was getting my money’s worth there!
when you forget to unsubscribe to a specific month and take a photo anyway…
I love the idea of subscription boxes but I think I need to know when they might just not be for me. I’ve been leaning more towards boxes with specific fandom-themes that I know I’ll love and I’ll sign up for that surprise, but it’s so hard to have a box appeal to all of my fandoms when they’re either so small in number or so far spread in genre!
Do you regularly subscribe to any bookish sub boxes? What are some of your favorites? Do you have the dreaded fandom problem like I do? (Aka being too picky haha!)
If you want to read the original post, check it out above or head to my Instagram page where you can follow for all kinds of bookish photo updates!