Four Reasons to Join a Book Club
There are four major reasons why it is a good idea to join a book club: an enticing introductory offer, savings, free monthly club magazine and the selection of (often uniquely packaged) reading material. Read on to learn more.
Introductory offer is probably the most effective means of attracting new members that most book clubs employ. Typically, a prospective member is offered a number of books for a symbolic price – for example, 5 books for 99¢ (as offered by The Literary Guild Book Club, for example) is the most common type of IO, featured by the majority of book-of-the-month type of clubs, which account for a large percentage of the book club market.
Sounds too good to be true, is most people's initial reaction upon meeting with such an offer for the first time. But is it? Well, the answer is both yes and no. The offer is real, you do actually get half a dozen or so hard-bound bestsellers of your choice for practically nothing, but: what is not advertised in big bold letters is that you still have to pay for shipping and handling charges, which typically come to about $15, and which, when added, deflate the magnificence of the deal to an extent. That said, 5 new hard-bound books of your choice for about $3 apiece, total, is not an offer you will find elsewhere and is still an excellent reason to join a book club.
Free books offers are also available, however, some books appear to be more free than others. Harlequin Reader Service (romance book clubs), for example, will send you two paperback romance novels completely free of charge and with no obligation to buy anything. Early Moments (children's book clubs), on the other hand, are offering up to 7 free kids' books, but you need to pay for the 8th book and accept an obligation to accept four more shipments – an offer not unlike those featured by book-of-the-month type of clubs.
Taking advantage of the introductory offer described above will probably account for the majority of your savings as a book club member (depending on how long you decide to stay), but that is not to say that afterwards you are done with it. The savings, that is. On the contrary. All book clubs offer substantial discounts on publisher's prices for their members: these can be anywhere from 30% to 50% at book-of-the-month type of clubs, or the usual 20% off at paperback romance book clubs.
But that's not all. To give their members even more reason to stay, book clubs regularly feature additional discounts and special deals: offers such as "buy two books and get a third for free ", or "make a purchase in January and get a free book in February" will come your way regularly. Omnibuses, encyclopedias, large print editions, these can also save you a lot of money, especially if you squeeze them into your introductory offer. Book-of-the-month type of clubs such as Doubleday Book Club usually carry plenty of somewhat older (hard-bound) titles by many popular authors with prices like $7.99, or lower even: $4.99 is not such a rare a price tag, and even $2.99 can be seen on occasion.
Another way of saving money that some people use is by canceling and rejoining – thus effectively taking advantage of the introductory offer over and over. This works primarily with book-of-the month type of clubs, where you can choose your own introductory books. Although book clubs would, of course, prefer it by far that you stayed a member for a long time and buy many many books, and although they state that they "reserve the right to refuse memberships", if you cancel your membership and then decide to rejoin at a later date, they will usually take you back without a question. In fact, some time after canceling you will likely receive an e-mail inviting you to rejoin, and along with it a special online code to enter at the club's website and be privy to an even better deal than the standard introductory offer (less commitment books, for example).
Editorial Recommendations and Insider's Scoops
Many book clubs send their members a free club catalog on a regular basis (once a month or so). The catalog usually features one or two recommended reads, plus dozens of other books to consider.
These publications offer real value. The publishing industry spews out hundreds of books each month, and it's quite easy to get lost in this abundance of new titles, regardless of whether you're into latest bestsellers, cookbooks or gardening books. Book clubs can be very helpful here: they employ panels of editors whose job is to cut through all the new titles and present you with the ones you should consider. A you might imagine, becoming a selection of the month is no small feat. Only the best, a crème de la crème, make it to that status. Moreover, the selections these days are accommodated to your personal taste, based on your previous purchases and declared interests.
In short, the club membership provides a great way to keep current with the happenings in the literary world, find out about the latest titles from your favorite authors, or discover some fresh new talent. Many people actually keep memberships in different book clubs mainly for this reason: to receive recommendations on what's hot.
Selection of Reading Material
At first glance, this seems like one area where large online book retailers with their almost infinite selection of books – new or used – hold a significant advantage over book clubs. However, that actually depends on what your reading preferences are. If you are into latest bestsellers – fiction or non-fiction – then it's likely one of the bestseller book clubs will cater to your needs perfectly, and at a lower cost. If you have a special interest, such as cooking; personal growth and spiritual development; history; home decoration; or you might be into romance books or mysteries or science fiction, or any of dozens of special interests that have a book club dedicated to it, then joining a book club is not a bad idea also. As mentioned above, book clubs employ editors who are experts on their given subject and will separate the wheat from the chaff for you saving you both time and money.
Another thing is, book clubs print their own editions and will often have some unique proposals for their members: hardbound books (sometimes long out of print) that were originally available only in soft cover; exclusive omnibuses containing several volumes in a single binding. Bestseller book clubs carry entire backlists by such popular authors as Stephen King, Danielle Steel, John Grisham etc. An added attraction is, most of these books aren't available in book stores – not the hardcover versions, anyway – and, what's more, they often go for bargain prices ($7.99 or so).
Finally, it's worth mentioning that most of the book-of-the-month type of clubs today are joined under a single roof by one company. The significance of this for you, a potential member, is this: by joining one of the book clubs you gain access to each and every book carried by other sibling clubs -- certainly a nice added bonus.