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When you think of book subscriptions, you might think of Book of the Month, a US service that has recently seen a resurgence. Launched in 1926 by an advertising copywriter, it is the longest running book subscription service among U.S. members that pays হার্ড 15.99 a month ($ 9.99 after the launch month) to choose a hardback from five to seven selections. Members can also choose ‘add-on’ books ($ 9.99 per title). Their choice (s) are then sent directly to their address. If offers don’t tempt them in a given month, they can avoid that time.
The original model
Originally, the organization was called the Book of the Month Club (BOMC). It called for a panel of judges to select books to send to all its members. It started with a subscription model that required members to purchase a certain number of books a year. However, this ultimately allows members to reject the current selection and choose from a list of options. Its first offerings even featured an outspoken writer, Sylvia Townsend Warner.
As you can imagine, BOMC has changed a lot since its inception. There has been a radical change in the book distribution model and how the public chooses and uses content. Over the decades, the BOMC has evolved into a revised version. It eventually disbanded its editorial board and launched a website that allows members to select them online. Surprisingly, over time, BOMC’s membership began to decline. It was finally acquired by John Lippman in 2012 for undisclosed funds. Lippman’s idea was to rebuild it into a subscription box service that offers well-curated titles, especially for millennial women.
The book of the revived month
To do this, the company shuts down completely for a while. It was rebranded in late 2015 and relaunched as Book of the Month (BOTM), as many know it today, and the effort seems to have paid off. As of 2017, Lippman reports that BOTM has 100,000 active members. More recent estimates put the number of subscribers at 250,000 (although these numbers are expected to fluctuate). In terms of social media, Book of the Month has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and more than 67,000 followers on TikTok.
To select a title, BOTM uses input from a variety of sources. It consists of a ‘reader committee’ of judges, BOTM members and an editorial team. In early 2015, BOTM asked judges to write essays with their title selection, a practice that was temporarily removed when BOTM made some changes in 2018. After the BOTM judges removed the essay feature, they found that members had requested a return to this practice. For more details on how BOTM weighs title selection inputs, you can read how they choose their selections on their blog.
As they continue to grow, BOTM grants “BFF” status to members when their membership is one year old. This status means that a customer gets some rewards for being a customer. Also, BOTM has introduced a new Book Club feature. Groups can select a book and send copies to individual members or to an address depending on the needs of the group.
Some deserved criticism
Although the BOTM rebranding was successful, the company’s recent moves were not without controversy. In February 2020, BOTM featured Genine Cummins American dirt As one of his book selections. Cummins has been widely criticized for writing about communities and experiences that do not share, to put it mildly. Author Mariam Gurba calls it “trauma porn”. You can read about the debate for a more detailed explanation American dirt. However, you cannot buy BOTM branded copies from the company because they are sold out. If you want to read more about the Mexican and Mexican American experience, you can read some options instead, such as The Devil’s Highway or the Boy Kings of Texas.
BOTM also received pushback after deleting critical comments about the company’s response to Black Lives Matter on their Instagram. They are silent and blocked Tracy Thomas, host Stacks podcast, To whom they later apologized. For a more detailed test, read more about BOTM and their deleted comments or their company’s response at that time.
Promoting BIPOC and LGBTQ authors
BOTM has also been criticized for not featuring more, and more prominent, BIPOC authors. Critics point out that color writers were in the past employed in the “add-on” category without being the main selection. According to a New York Times Worker In 2020, BOTM reported that its selection was only 20% for color writers and the company’s goal was to increase it to 40%. According to Blake Orlandi, the company has acquired more than 40% color writers by 2021.
If all of this makes you more interested in BOTM, then you should really read the writings of colleague Rioter Carolina Ciucci on how BOTM affects book sales. It’s interesting!
And if you think you want to join, you should take note of some things that may be helpful in your decision. First, if you are considering supporting color writers or LGBTQ writers, you need to make some careful choices as the website currently only includes a “bookmoji” for LGBTQ themes. Second, Some customers have reported that the quality of the books is not as high as other print runs, and of course each book comes with a BOTM logo on the front. And last but not least, the headline made us feel uncomfortable (the website recommends that customers call to cancel). This Reddit thread dedicated to pausing or canceling your BOTM subscription may be helpful.
However, you may like the idea of a book subscription, but BOTM isn’t sure if it’s right for you. In that case, first read about other book subscription services. You may find one that is suitable for you or your loved one.