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Amazon Revives the Book of the Month Club Idea With Prime Book Box

Way back in the pre-internet era, when it was hard to find new books to read, there was this thing called book of the month clubs. The idea was that you would pay a set fee each month and someone would choose books to mail you.

This was a good and useful idea, but like many things it withered in the internet era. Once Amazon made it easy to find books online, there was really no need to have someone choose them and ship them to you.

Amazon killed the book of the month club, and now they are bringing it back.

On Tuesday Amazon launched a new subscription service called  Prime Book Box.

From Techcrunch:

The company now has a new product called Prime Book Box, a subscription service for children’s hardback books, selected by Amazon editors, sold as part of its Prime membership tier. You can register now for an invite for when it starts to ship later this year, starting in the U.S.

Pricing is $22.99 per box, which Amazon says works out to 35 percent below the cumulative list price for the books, and you can subscribe for books to come in one-, two- or three-month intervals. Books are divided up by age groups of baby-two years, three-five years, six-eight years and nine-12 years, with sample titles including If Animals Kissed Good NightA Sick Day for Amos McGeeThe Willoughbys, and Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire.

All books are hardcover, and you can opt either four board books for kids 2 and younger, or two picture books or novels for older children.

The service is launching later this year.

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DaveMich May 1, 2018 um 3:43 pm

You can’t blame them for trying, but someone else already has a lock on this and has had it for many decades.

Nate Hoffelder May 1, 2018 um 4:13 pm

you are underestimating Amazon’s ability to cross-promote – this is going to do a lot of business

DaveMich May 1, 2018 um 6:01 pm

Perhaps I am, however pretty much every grade school child receives multiple scholastic flyers from their teacher every school year, and they don’t sign up for them or commit to anything. The books are carefully targeted to specific grade levels and very reasonably priced. Scholastic finesses shipping by sending books for hundreds of orders to a single drop point – the school. Scholastic also comes to the school twice a year for a "book fair" of their titles which is set up (usually) in the school library. Teachers and librarians get books as a kickback for student sales.

Amazon will certainly flog it, and some people will sign up, but, as a parent, when I consider my normal book spend (scholastic, library, kindle) this just doesn’t quite make the cut. Just sayin'.

Anne Marble May 2, 2018 um 7:42 am

The Book of the Month Club did survive the Internet era. I didn’t realize it was still around until I starting seeing their ads on Facebook, and even TV. Apparently they’re doing quite well, and using social media, website extras such as discussion forums, etc.

They have adapted how they run the program — IIRC there’s a monthly fee that rolls over if you don’t want any of the books. Also, you’re picking from a smaller pool of selections. When I belonged in the Dark Ages, you picked selections from a monthly paper catalog. Now you pick from just a few books, probably from the website.

Nate Hoffelder May 2, 2018 um 7:47 am

yes, I overstated the case – "withered" would probably be a better description

What All the Coverage Missed About Amazon's New Prime Book Box Service | The Digital Reader May 3, 2018 um 2:59 pm

[…] I did make the connection between the new service and book of the month clubs even I missed the fact that Amazon is going up […]

Marilynn Hopman June 3, 2021 um 6:56 pm

I just received an Amazon book of the month club membership as a birthday gift from my sister.
It was a surprise to me. What are the procedures for getting the six books. I would assume
a member gets to order one book per month.

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