Country Living Series

Thursday, November 3, 2016

BookBag -- beginning and end

When Older Daughter went to New Jersey a year ago for her job as a live-in nanny, she immediately began exploring all the options to indulge in one of the overriding Lewis passions: books. In short order, she found every local library and bookstore (both new and used), and treated herself to numerous online purchases.

One of the things she signed up for was a service called BookBag. The idea behind this little business was charming. They would look over your reading preferences, then shop for used books that fit your interests. Every other month, three surprise books would be shipped to your doorstep.


Here's how they describe the service:
BookBag is an eco-friendly handpicked used book subscription box that lets you indulge your bookworm habits while catering to exactly your taste and budget. BookBag is as fun and simple as sharing books with a best friend. "You loved this? Well, then you should read this!"
Older Daughter raved about this service for months. She was expanding her reading repertoire because of the new (well, used) books they sent. She said only once did she receive a book she didn't enjoy. Everything else was terrific.

So I decided to give it a try. Older Daughter said I should be as careful and clear and thorough as possible in making a Good Reads profile (which BookBag utilized to make reading choices). I filled in the appropriate information on the website covering my tastes and interests. The first shipment was due to arrive around the beginning of November.

And then ... something sad happened. I received notice that BookBag was going out of business (it was "unsustainable"), and the first shipment I would receive would also be my last.

Sure enough, yesterday I received the box.


It was like opening a Christmas present, since each book was individually wrapped, with a twine cord and a hand-written note. Classy classy classy.


Based on my reading preferences, these are the three books they chose for me:


I've dipped into The Oregon Trail and so far it's excellent.


The books came with a charming hand-written note:



I, for one, am very very sorry to see this service go under, though based on the amount of personal work that went into it, I'm not surprised it was called unsustainable.

Does anyone know of a similar service available?

17 comments:

  1. There is an online service similar to this called BookBub. You indicate your preferences and they send you recommendations for Kindle books available, most for $.99 - $1.99. I probably spend six bucks a month on books and really enjoy it. If you have a Kindle-type device you can also use a service through the public library called Overdrive, which allows you to borrow library books electronically for FREE. But they don't make recommendations. It's still a HUGE savings over paper books. And if you like a book enough to want a hard copy, you can always buy that book through Amazon or something. But I don't necessarily want to keep every book I read, so it works for me. It might work for her, too!

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  2. I wish I had known about this. I love books, and most I buy are used anyway. I would have used this service just because sometimes, I just can't choose. I hope you enjoy your books! - Chris in NJ

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  3. Very clever idea. And to suddenly disappear? Who is John Galt?
    Montana Guy

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  4. I wish I had known! I'd absolutely love a service like this!

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  5. They don't mail you anything and there's nothing personal about it but if you read a lot please Check out Scribd.com. It's a monthly subscription service that gives you access to quite a lot of e-books.

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  6. No, I don't, but there is a great thrift store here in Fairbury Illinois that carries books for 99 cents. it's a 15 mile drive but all their clothes are also 99 cents each, so worth the drive once a month. I'm all about the used books and clothes!

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  7. I don't know of such a service, but for a book lover, don't miss the Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Hundreds of libraries have scanned their out of copyright books and placed them in collections there. The e-book formats aren't usually good as they are OCRs of the PDF scans.

    One I would recommend is FIELD-PATH AND HIGHWAY By E. E. Miller (1912). A collection of short stories. My favorite is a pleasant contemplation of nature and nature loving called 'The Unchanging Love'. A bit sad, but always leaves me with a pleasant feeling.

    The collections are a bit like when I would wander the library stacks and discover old books I'd never found via the card catalog.

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  8. Post Alley CrackpotNovember 3, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    This is how it was once done:

    Wikipedia on "84, Charing Cross Road" by Helene Hanff:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84,_Charing_Cross_Road

    Today this is how it should be done, at least in the same vein:

    Daunt Books, Marylebone Road, London:
    http://www.dauntbooks.co.uk/

    They do offer a subscription service with international despatch, in case you are curious.

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  9. Shame they can't change their service to just a list of books that would appeal to you, not the actual books. A low-cost monthly fee to cover the research they do.

    And, for those who offered other sites, thank you. Now, combined with the library, my lists of must-reads from stopyourekillingme.com I will have enough books to read for the next 20 years of my life and I'm 70 :)

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    1. I discovered free Kindle e-books on EreaderIQ.com. I will need to live to 150 (or more) to read all the great choices (both new and classic. Not the same as the real thing, but still...the stories, the new ideas.....

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  10. I had never heard of this service, and now it's already gone before I can use it. A real shame, because their individual book packaging alone shows that they like books as much as I do.

    And... Bryson without end, Amen.

    - Charlie

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  11. Our library offers services such as Hoopla, One Drive, and other e-collections. I'm not a fan of reading from an electronic device, particularly since I only have a laptop and a phone, but I have found that I enjoy listening to audiobooks and will read some ebooks if they are short. I use Hoopla and love that I can download the audio or e-books to my phone. If you use your computer, you can only stream the books. So I download the books to my phone and listen while I work using the phone speakers or my bluetooth. Best of all, it's free! And you can put in your preferences! All you need is a library card. If your local library doesn't offer this service, check out the nearby libraries. (The One Drive is a little different, but definitely worth looking into also.)

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    1. Those services depend on both the grid and internet being up. Whoa, big red flag to a reading-loving Luddite like me.

      I'd recommend reading 'Lights Out' for folks depending on such services.
      Montana Guy

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    2. Glad that works for you, farmersdaughter, but I prefer curling up next to the wood stove with an old hardback book not an electronic device. SuccotashRose

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  12. The Oregon Trail! Thanks for the tip... Perfect gift for my non fiction leaning husband.

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  13. Anyone think about buying the business? The current owner's version of sustainability and your version might be different.....

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  14. I run a small etsy shop and shipping is for sure my biggest hurdle. I can totally understand how shipping physical books would be a challenge to a small business.

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