Everyone loves exciting post, and what could be better than surprise book post? It’s also a great way to support independent bookshops and publishers, many of whom use their subscription services to help fund their upcoming lists. I always like to have one subscription on the go (I’d have them all if finances would allow!), though recently it’s been a lit mag rather than a book proper (currently: McSweeney’s). A lit mag list would be amazing, and extremely long, but I think these independent press/bookshop subs need their own special mention:
(Let me know if I’ve forgotten any, and I’ll add them to list.)
And Other Stories – contemporary fiction (from the last forty years), some in translation, some English-language. They offer 2/4/6 books a year subscription packages, always for the books they haven’t yet printed, though do tell you a couple of the books that’ll be included. I think this one is going to be my next subscription. You may have heard of them recently as one of their books was shortlisted for the Booker last year (Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home).
Peirene Press – contemporary European fiction in translation. Everything they publish is less than 200 pages, with the idea that they can be read in the same time it takes to watch a dvd. They offer subscriptions for the current year, 2 and 3 years. Each year the books are grouped by theme – this year’s is ‘Turning point’.
Persephone books – fiction and non-fiction ‘by women, for women and about women’. They offer 6 and 12 month subscriptions, and you choose which books you would like to be sent each month (though it looks like you have to choose them all when you sign up).
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights Oh Mr B’s. I’ve have already written about their gift packages here, but why not mention them again? It’s sold as a gift but, you know, just buy it for yourself – a year in which you will receive 11 books (one a month excluding January). You have a telephone/email consultation to find out about your reading tastes, and then just wait to see what you get.
Daunt Books Similarly to Mr B’s, they will send the subscriber one book a month for a year. There isn’t much detail on their page, but I think that means 12 books, chosen after some discussion (via email?) of your tastes.
The Willoughby Book Club Not a book shop, but a book club dedicated to book subscriptions! You choose the type of package (there are lots, from picture books for babies to contemporary or classic fiction to gardening books) and fill in your literary tastes on your order form. You get one book a month for 3/6/12 months.