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Buying from Book Clubs

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 2 Jun 2014 | comments*Discuss
Books Book Club Buying Obligation

If you’re an avid reader and are part of a reading club, you and your friends will need a constant supply of new titles to whet your collective appetite for words, characters and stories.

Book clubs have long been a solid resource for individuals and reading clubs who wish to stay on top of literary releases but also wish the ease of having the tomes delivered to their doors. However it’s important to note that book clubs have changed over the past fifteen years, especially with the advent of online discount booksellers.

Still, book clubs can be a bargain for your reading club if you know what you’re getting into before you sign on the proverbial dotted line.

Here are a few considerations and questions to keep in mind:

Does the Book Club Books in Your Required Genre?

Does your reading club concentrate on a specific literary genre? If so, you’ll need to make certain that any book club to which you give money will be able to satisfy your reading club members’ cravings, whether they be for romance novels, plays, poetry or contemporary nonfiction.

Note: Some of the more well-known discount book clubs have titles grouped by classification on their websites so you can easily check into this information before making any decisions.

Does the Book Club Charge Penalities?

Though the “fine print” will change depending upon the book club you choose, you’ll want to ensure that your book club doesn’t penalize you for spending too little money during a particular timeframe.

Note: Along with penalties, however, come some pluses. Usually, the first order is steeply discounted as a “loss leader” for the book club company. After that, offers are made to members on a regular basis.

Does the Book Club Continuously Add to its Offerings?

Again, not all book clubs have the type of customer relationship you might expect. Some really offer very little in the way of titles. After they impress you with an array of initial book choices, you could realize that they infrequently add to their stock.

Note: If you go with some of the “bigger names” in the book club industry, you’ll be more likely to find (or be able to order) what you need.

How Often will you be Required to Renew your Membership?

Book clubs are sustained by memberships, and they usually make it easy to join but (occasionally) tricky to unsubscribe or cancel. Remember to read any contracts before you send in your personal data; that way, you can be a wise consumer.

Note: Book clubs count on people to be complacent and forgetful. Be diligent and savvy instead.

Is the “X-number-of-books” Obligation Realistic for your Reading Club?

Will your reading club actually be able to take advantage of sales and offers that the book club has to offer? Too many people and organisations buy into book clubs without seriously considering whether or not they’ll be able to get their money’s worth out of the experience. If your reading club doesn’t buy books now en masse (preferring instead to borrow from the library or friends), are you honestly going to satisfy a contractual obligation with a book club?

Note: Again, researching a discount book club dealer ahead of time should help you answer this question.

Can You Get Special Savings as a Reading Club?

Some book clubs may be open to offering deeper discounts to members of an organized reading club. To find out, you’ll probably have to eschew email and pick up the telephone. Call a customer service representative and ask what they can do for you. The book club may consider your reading club a terrific source of potential income and worth offering you a deal.

Note: Discount book clubs have a good reason to like reading clubs such as yours, so talk it up when you’re discussing potential discounts!

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