Ever since beauty subscription boxes like Julep and BirchBox became a thing, I figured it was only a matter of time before book subscription boxes joined the foray. Like many, I wondered if it would be worth it, considering I already get a lot of unsolicited books in the mail and books tend to cost more than nail polish. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and enchanted with the idea of getting random, curated bookish mail and was eager to see what book was chosen each month.
Uppercase is one of the subscription service available to book lovers, founded by Lisa Parkin (blogger at Read. Breathe. Relax.) that has a specific focus on YA titles. Each month, Lisa personally chooses titles that she has read and loved, along with a few other bookish themed tokens.
The packaging is pleasant and simple, with a thin canvas bag accented with a red ribbon and the company’s logo. The package itself is shipped in a USPS priority mailing envelope. To be honest, as a blogger, this is a step up from my normal bookish mail which normally just comes in a yellow envelope. But compared to other subscription services like Owlcrate, Lit Cube and Book Riot’s Quarterly YA Box, I hope Uppercase’s packaging does get an upgrade somewhere in the future.
April’s box contained Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You (signed!), Bookworm magnets, a framed quote print, personalized note from Lisa and a I <3 Max Watson pin (not picture because I think one of my kids stole it from me, sigh):
I didn’t own The Start of Me and You, so this wasn’t a duplicate for me. And, unfortunately, at this time, if you do subscribe and end up with a book you already own, there isn’t an option to get a refund. However, Uppercase does offer the Personalized box where you’d fill out a form to help Uppercase get to know your personal tastes a bit more. This option is only a few dollars more, so it doesn’t exactly break the bank, but you do forfeit the exclusive author content. So it’ll really depend on what kind of reader you are and what matters most to you.
One of the things that I do really love about Uppercase is how personal it feels. Lisa hand writes the notes in each box, giving you a little idea of why it was chosen. And this month they’ve just introduced signed books! I don’t think any of the other subscription book boxes offers this, but it certainly makes Uppercase more alluring to me. Who doesn’t love a signed finished copy?
As I looked through The Start of Me and You, I noticed just how far Uppercase values the personalization aspect. Lisa has placed little notes on select pages that takes you to exclusive content on the company’s website. What I loved about this is that it really feels like Lisa and I are BFF’s and she’s made little notations on her favorite parts for me to then interact with.
So let’s talk money and practicality. The Expert Pick level costs $23 and the Personalized Recommendation option is $29. Shipping for US and Puerto Rico is an additional $6 and for Canadian residents it’s $19.50. Currently, Uppercase is not available to those outside those countries, but I expect this will most likely change as the company grows.
For those who aren’t bloggers or for people unsure of what book they should pick up next, I think it’s a fabulous idea. This is something I would have totally been on board with when I first got back into YA, after reading Twilight, and had no idea what to try next. The Expert Pick level is moderately priced, considering full price for a novel is around $20, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we start seeing prices change as more of these subscription services pop up and businesses grow. Looking back at Uppercase’s past boxes, it looks like they continue to get better and better with exciting new features.
Would I actually subscribe to a service like this? It’s hard to say. As a blogger, I get a lot of books in the mail, so I’m not sure I could then justify paying for any subscription box without the option to exchange if it’s already a book I have. However, since Uppercase is now offering books in the Expert Pick option signed, it does incentivize me a bit to reconsider. I tend to gravitate more towards Science Fiction and Fantasy on my own and a subscription box would give me a chance to consider titles I might have otherwise let slip by. Most of my recommendations already come from fellow bloggers and I deeply value their opinions. They are my personal security blanket when it comes to fielding my reads, so I feel very comfortable with surprise bookish mail from them. Case and point, I’m probably now going to read The Start of Me and You.
*I was sent a complimentary subscription box in exchange for an honest review.