Today I have for you guys a review of a monthly subscription service. I came across Prudence and the Crow a few months ago, and decided to try it out. Now three months in, I figure I can do a review of my experience with it so far.
First a little background info. Prudence and the Crow is a monthly subscription service that specialises in vintage paperbacks. It is also a bespoke subscription. In other words, each box is tailored specifically for you. Each month they the lovely ladies who work there browse their local, vintage book emporiums, and pick out a book they that think suits you perfectly.
So how does this work? Well, when you sign up you pick from five different genres. These are: youth fiction; science fiction; classic thriller; children's or random. You then choose what kind of subscription you would like: one off, 3 months; 6 months; 12 months or continuous. You can see the various prices and package perks below:
They're based in London, but they do ship internationally. Do keep in mind that it will cost you an extra £4 for that option though. They ship out on the 13th of every month, and obviously the time it takes to get to your destination will depend on how far away you are from theirs. For me, it's usually 3-4 days (living in the UK). So what's in this box of wonders you ask. Well why don't I show you what awaited me this month. A little quick info first: I chose random, because I like a little bit of everything. When you subscribe you receive a confirmation email with a questionnaire attached. Now this questionnaire is important regardless of which genre you pick, but it is vital if you choose random. Why? Because this is where you put all the details you desire (it can literally be anything, but it'd be a good idea to have a least a few notes on the kind of books you're into) about yourself. The more the merrier. (Plus the more accurate their choice will be). Anyway, here we are.
Well the first thing you see is this wonderful brown paper package come through your door. This is the first sign of the lovely things to come. (Come now. Be objective). But seriously, this is just a beautifully wrapped box. And it is specially designed to fit through your post box- so there's no need to worry about undelivered packages.
Once the paper is off, you are greeted by this (well that. To the left). A lovely brown box. That strip down the right side has your name written on it, but obviously I've taken that off. A nice touch is the black strip on one of the corners with your box number and the month it came written across it. As you can see this is my third box and the month is July. Interesting stuff.
Are you ready to see what's inside? Good. Because here it comes.
Upon opening the box, this is what I see. Let's just start from top to bottom shall we? The first thing I come across is this:
This is a library card like thing that comes with every single box, and is designed for the book you received that month. It has the date on it, the box number and spaces for you to put in the title of the book, as well as the author and some additional notes. A nice little touch I think. Next:
In a small, brown packet I find this. It's the Penguin logo. Did you get that? Haha. Now this is not in every month's box, and I was both very surprised and pleased to see it in this one. Those lovely ladies like to keep you guessing. And that's one thing I will touch upon quickly. Every month you get a little something different. Now I hear you say, "Well yeah, shouldn't you?" And to that I reply, " Yes. Of course you should." But, while I expect the book to be different every month, I don't expect things like this. Every single month all the little extras change. For instance in the past I have gotten book plates; a disk that shows an image when it spins; various teas; pencils; and many other things. I mention those things in particular, because none of those were in this month's box. Instead I got the things you'll see below. This is one of the things I really like about this subscription. After all if the little goodies were the same every month, not only would they not be a surprise anymore, but I'd also be in excess of them. Oh, and everyone gets something different. Sometimes certain objects will be present in many boxes (like tea, etc), but each person receives a box of things entirely unique to them. Anyway, time to continue. Here are the extras for this month's box:
|A wonderful packet with very Rococco-ish designs.|
|Some stickers. The ones on the left are holographic.|
|Does it even need words?|
|A mountain of delicious provisions. FYI, provisions|
are always included.
|Lovely little washi papers.|
First things first. Each book comes in its own handmade book cover. Like this one. The design will change every month. Inside is the entire reason for the subscription. A really delightful 'quirk' is the handwritten note behind the cover page, telling you where they found the book and why they thought it fit you.
As you can see, my book this month was Alan Garner's "The Owl Service". (Chosen, I think, because I said I was a night owl. Haha. Ladies you're killing me.) Believe it or not I've actually never read this, so I look forward to delving into the adventure. Also the cover is gorgeous. Now a brief note. You can see here that my book is in pretty good condition. There's only minor wear, but as this is a vintage subscription, your books will come in various conditions. This isn't something that bothers me, but just don't expect a brand new book is all I'm saying.
So what do I think? I'm pretty sure it's fairly obvious how I feel about this subscription already. I love it. I reserved judgement until this third box and I think the Prudence/ Crow crew really stepped it up a notch this month. Not to say the others were bad, but I did feel they lacked something this box has, and I wasn't sure it was worth my £10/month. That may have been because my questionnaire was pretty bare though. Oh, if you ever want to change your answers, shoot the crew an email and they'll send you another one. It doesn't save your previous answers however, so you'll have to fill it out from scratch.
If I wasn't sold already, this month has definitely hooked me. It is rare to find any subscription that has this amount of care and thought put into it. They really do individualise every single box. Oh, and they're also wonderful people who I may now be stalking on Twitter. Shhh.
Overall, a great subscription that I truly believe is worth the money. If you're a bibliophile who likes surprises, why not check it out? You can do so here: http://www.prudenceandthecrow.com, and let Prudence and Crow take you on an adventure. Every single month. I wonder if they have something special planned for Christmas? Not that I'm thinking about it this early in the year...maybe.