I’m in love with Booklender
I would have had this post written up days earlier, but every time I open the BookLender site, I end up adding books to my queue for an hour instead of grabbing the link and typing this up! I’m still kind of amazed that I had never heard discussion of this site in all my time book blogging. You need to know about this!
Storytime! So as I’m transitioning away from requesting review copies at all, I started missing book mail. It is just so fun to get unexpected books in the mail! I would put in hold requests at my library and that sort of worked for surprise book arrivals but my library holds ALWAYS all come in at the same time! Like, it is a rule of the universe I think. And therefore I just got stressed once again about reading them before they were due back. Anytime I have two books that I want to read equally much (i.e. library hold requests) and I have to pick one not to read at that moment, my heart hurts. It strangely makes it harder for me to enjoy the one I do pick to read immediately since I keep looking at the abandoned one sitting sadly in the corner.
So then I realized that what I really wanted was a way to get one book at a time in the mail, guaranteed. Like, I wouldn’t get another one sent until I sent back the one I had. Therefore, I couldn’t get overwhelmed and wouldn’t have to make decisions about what to read next when I was feeling indecisive!
You young ‘uns may not remember, but back before streaming was the go-to way for watching movies, we had this ol’ thing called Netflix where they would send you actual physical DVDs in the mail! And then you would watch it, return it, and in a few days get another movie in the mail. Streaming is obviously superior for when you want to binge all of a series, so thank god we aren’t living in those dark ages anymore!
However, I’m freaking addicted to holding an actual physical book in my hand (which is why the hundreds of e-books on my Kindle aren’t enough for me) AND getting a surprise book in the mail that I can start reading right away! So I google “Netflix for books” with some hope that the blissful age of the internet would mean that someone somewhere had invented the service that I wanted.
BookLender is the coolest thing I have discovered as a book blogger in a long time! For $16/month I get unlimited paperbacks two at a time. There are other options, including audiobooks and more out a time, but I chose the cheapest to experiment with ;-). Just like Netflix, you make a queue of books you’d like sent and they send them in the order in your queue. Key though is that if the top book on your queue isn’t available, they’ll send the next one that is available, but will keep series in order! I appreciate a site that realizes the importance of series order.
Now, my whole problem is that I don’t want to have to decide on what book to read next, which means that figuring out an order for a queue is not going to go well. Fortunately, they have a ‘Scramble Queue’ option! So after I add a bunch of books (like right before finally writing this post), I click that little button and hold my hand up to the screen so that I can’t see what comes out on top. I really like surprises okay?!?!?!
I was a bit worried about that $16/month being worth it, but there are a couple of ways to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
- They do mean all paperbacks, including trade paperbacks. Therefore, I have pretty much all of Orbit’s releases in my queue because those things are $16 each at least, so there is a month’s subscription right there! Plus, that means that I’ll get to read newer Orbit books right away since they are straight to trade paperback!
- Graphic novels! I love graphic novels but paying that price tag for a physical copy that I’ll read once in about an hour doesn’t work for me. My library has some, but not most. BookLender has 1176 entries in the Fantasy section of graphic novels alone! Perfect if you have a kid who loves to read graphic novels but has gone through the library’s stock already!
- Don’t worry about DNF’ing! I have felt so free to simply put a book in the mail if it isn’t holding my interest. I now have incentive to decide asap if I’m not loving a book, because the sooner I DNF and return it, the sooner I get something new! I didn’t pay anything for the book (shipping is free both ways) and skipping over something I’m not loving just means that I’m getting more value out of my subscription. Perhaps I’ll put that book back in my queue if it still sounds interesting, perhaps not.
- Request additions. They have a form for you to make requests if there is a paperback available that they don’t have. I put in a lot of requests when I first joined and haven’t gone back to check, so I’ll let you know how well that works later!
- Try things you wouldn’t buy. No one wants to spend $20 on a book at the store just to hate it by the second chapter. Because of #3, however, I have no fear in putting books a bit out there in my queue. If I hate it, whatever, I’ll return it. I’ve already found one paranormal romance (Autumn Thorns) that I never would have bought or grabbed from the library even and I freaking LOVED IT! There will be a review at some point in the future because I’m kind of obsessed with this book. Some of my favorite indie authors and publications are in their catalogue too! Just such a great way to try things without fear of wasting money.
- Keep if you love it! They have an option to buy the book if you absolutely love it and must keep it (or your dog eats it) at an extreme discount since it’s a used book. I love this feature of subscription services that rent things to you, since I don’t mind buying used items as long as I can try them first and make sure I like them. If I reread books, I would use this option more I’m sure.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actually putting books in my queue that I do own copies of because if I get it in the mail, then I’ll actually read it! There is just something so blissful about the burden of choice being lifted by having just one book to decide on at a time, plus reading their copies means my precious hardbacks stay pristine on my shelf!
If you’re worried about whether they have a good selection, I have 176 books in my queue currently after just a few weeks of looking through their catalogue here and there and I haven’t actually started on manga now that I think about it…. They have all the big five publisher paperbacks, lots of smaller presses and indie published books. Their business only works if they have books you want, so they are clearly motivated to keep a great selection. Oh and to emphasize their great selection, I’ll be tagging all books I get through BookLender specifically :).
So yeah, I’m obsessed, have you heard of this service before? Was I just living under a rock?? Are you as excited as I am?!?!?!?!?!
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