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Books Unshelved is a Canadian company that focuses on local products. Here’s my honest Books Unshelved review after two boxes.
If you type in “Books Unshelved review” into Google, you won’t find much about people sharing their opinions. There are a couple of reasons likely for this.
The first is that the company is relatively new. It looks like the company was set up at the start of 2021. January is when I can see the first posts on social media. The Instagram page hasn’t been updated for a while, but there is a Facebook group that is updated more frequently.
Books Unshelved is focused on local. It’s a book subscription box that comes with a few local items, including candy, bathbombs, and teas. Each month here is something different, including the local items and the books.
There are a few options for books. You can get the standard adult book box, which can include one, two, or three books. Or you can opt for the Young Adult or the Youth book box. There are also seasonal ones available at various points throughout the year.
Good quality items in the box
The standard one-book box is $27 CAD. When you’re spending money on something, you want to make sure the items are good quality. That’s certainly the case with the two boxes that I’ve received so far.
I’ve got the Youth boxset. This is suitable for kids aged 10 to 12. My nine-year-old has loved both books so far, getting stuck into them right away. The latest was Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs ($), and it’s a hardback copy.
The other items in the box are all local. In the October box, we got an apple dumpling from Wesley United Church, spud chips from Barrie’s Asparagus Farm, and a hot chocolate bomb from Hot Bomb Moms.
Something that I adore is that we get a small note that introduces the book and the items that are in the box. We get to know exactly where the items have come from, making it possible to look into the companies and buy from them directly afterward. It’s a great way to support local, something that I always try to do.
In a previous box, there was a bath bomb and some candy. I can’t find the little note that came with the box for the local company names (it’s somewhere in my house!) but I’ll update this when I find it. All I can say is that the bath bomb lasted ages in the water, and that’s something my kiddo loved. The book was All the Ways Home by Elsie Chapman ($).
[Stuart Gibbs] Charlie Thorne and The Last Equation ($)
Hand-delivered in certain areas
I live locally, which means my boxes are hand delivered. I then get a message on Facebook to say when it has been delivered. Everything is contactless for COVID. I’m not sure if that will change after.
If you’re not in the local area, the boxes are mailed out. I’m not sure how long that takes. There are prices for shipping on the website.
I do love the hand delivery, though. It saves on shipping, and it’s just that little extra way of making sure the boxes are delivered.
Communication can be improved
Of course, Books Unshelved is a new company. There are going to be things to improve, and one of those is communication. As you can see from the Instagram page, there’s been few updates there. There are more in the Facebook group, but even then, there is a lack of communication when it comes to placing orders.
When you order through the Books Unshelved website, you get a receipt from Square. Be careful with the address. I put my address in right and then it updated weirdly after checkout. I had to get in touch with the company, and this is where I ran into a couple of problems.
I used the contact form on the website, but it turns out the email never went through. Others have said they had the same thing happen. I’ve had problems with contact forms on websites in the past. I don’t really like using them and try to hunt down an email. I couldn’t find that, but there was the Facebook group. Since I couldn’t figure out how to message the person running the group, I decided to leave a quick note on a post about my address problem, and that led to getting a private DM on Facebook to fix it.
The instant response was appreciated. It eased my concerns about the box not getting delivered properly, so I did like that.
However, I realized there was no delivery date or an expected date of the box being shipped. This was something I had to message about. There are a couple of other people I’ve spoken to who have experienced the same thing. This is the sort of thing that should be made clear. People want to know when they’re getting the product they paid for. It turns out that it’s the last couple of days of the month, but having that on the receipt or somewhere on the website would be better.
When there is a delay, there are updates in the Facebook group. It’s important to be a member of that because I’ve not seen the updates anywhere else.
Books Unshelved review rating
Overall, I really like the company and I’ll keep getting the boxes. I’m doing one every two months for my eldest at the moment. As my youngest gets older, I’ll have to look at options then. Will I get something for myself? I’m not sure just yet. Being newly separated, I’m trying not to add too many extra expenses. Living in Ontario close to Toronto is not cheap!
I’m biggest complaint is the lack of upfront communication about the delivery (just put it on the website!) and the contact form seemingly not working.
I give Books Unshelved a 4 out of 5 star rating.
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