I love getting packages in the mail, so I’ve been intrigued for a while now by the idea of subscription boxes and the promise of getting something fun in the mail every month. But while I’ve read reviews of various boxes, and looked at the ads for different subscriptions, I’ve never actually tried one until now. Earlier this month I decided, on a whim, to try out Read Dog, a book-themed subscription box I saw advertised in my Facebook feed. After receiving my first package, I am so glad I did!
Read Dog, which was founded last year by Kate Cygan and Michael Wray, describes itself as a “curated book subscription,” offering books “hand-chosen for you based on your tastes and preferences.” After filling out your profile, you receive a box each month containing a new book and a variety of small gifts, such as teas, snacks, bookmarks, pens, and stationery. Looking through the “Past Boxes” section of the Read Dog website, I was impressed both by the variety of books they send out and the fun, often whimsical nature of the goodies that accompany them. Past books have included everything from Swedish bestseller A Man Called Ove to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a history of the Scopes Trial, and Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca. Meanwhile, items from past boxes ranged from crayons, to tote bags, to buttons, notebooks, and bubbles. If I hadn’t been sold already, I definitely was now!
Upon signing up, you are asked for a list of your favorite books and a description of your ideal reading experience. You’re also given a list of different types of books and asked to choose which ones you’re interested in receiving. The list includes the standard categories (young adult, biography, mystery, etc.), but also has options such as “sad books” and “difficult books,” which I liked. It struck me as a great way to get a deeper feel for someone’s reading preferences, and I appreciated the effort to get to know me as a reader beyond simply the general genres I like. Finally, you’re asked about favorite foods: whether you prefer art, architecture, or music, and if there’s anything else about yourself you want to share. You choose a billing plan ($31.99/month on a monthly basis, $28.99/month on a quarterly basis, or $24.99 on a twelve month basis) and then sit back and wait for your box! In the meantime, the site also features book reviews you can peruse, and has an option to sign up for free monthly book recommendations via email.
Boxes are set to arrive around the middle of each month. I signed up on October 15— just in time to be included in the October shipment— and received my box a week later. The first thing that struck me upon opening it was just how personalized it was. This wasn’t just cutting and pasting my name into a generic form letter and calling it “personalization.” Instead, when I lifted the lid, I was greeted with a handwritten note from Kate welcoming me to Read Dog and enthusiastically noting our shared love of art, Indian food, and a good dessert. Unfortunately, the note also informed me that part of my sign-up form— the part with my book and author preferences, no less! — had somehow not gone through. Not having that information to work with, they decided to send me Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (according to the note, one of Kate’s favorite books). Luckily, this is a new read for me; however, if you do happen to receive a book you have already read, you can drop Read Dog an email, and they will send you a different one.
Underneath the book and the note, I found a plethora of small treasures. My box contained four different types of tea (Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Chai Spice, and Pumpkin Spice), a packet of hot apple cider mix, a fall greeting card, an Oscar Wilde bookmark, a handful of adorable Read Dog stickers, two small bags of candy corn, a scented tealight candle, and a heap of Hershey’s kisses, both regular and pumpkin spice. Given that my favorite way to read a book is with a hot drink and a sweet treat, this was about the most perfect assortment of items I could have received. Only the reminder that I had to take pictures of the contents to accompany this review kept me from tearing into all the goodies immediately. Instead, I made do with texting my husband “I know what I want for Christmas!” and sending him a link to the Read Dog website.
At the end of the day, I love my Read Dog box. This is clearly a labor of love for the people involved, and the care and thought they put into creating the box was obvious. Even lacking some of the details from my profile, they still tried to personalize the package as much as possible, rather than simply throwing in a random paperback and calling it a day. Honestly, the personalization and attention to detail made it feel less like getting something I had ordered and paid for, and more like receiving a gift from a friend. Given that I did pay for it, though, I definitely feel as though I got my money’s worth. My only “complaint”— and it’s pretty minor— is to wonder why they didn’t email me asking for my missing information before sending out the package, rather than trying to create a box for me without it. Whether you’re looking for a gift for the bookworm in your life, or simply a fun way to feed your own book addiction, Read Dog is definitely worth a try!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a new book to read.
Have you tried Read Dog (or any other book subscriptions)? What was your experience like?
YouTube Channel: Read Dog Books
Featured image via Pixabay