Six Things To Know Before You Join A Discount Book Club
(1) Read the fine print. Major book clubs such as the Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild and the Book-of-the-Month Club (now Smart Reader Rewards) typically offer introductory deals for new members such as five books for $1. The shipping charges, however, may total $15 or more. That?s still a good deal, but you should be aware that you are paying more than $1 for your books.
(2) If you see a magazine or newspaper ad for a club, visit its online site to join. You will typically find a much larger selection of titles than what fits on one or two printed pages. You also can search by title or author. Many larger clubs will carry the entire backlist of popular authors such as Danielle Steel, John Grisham, James Patterson and Stephen King but only offer one or two titles in their print ads.
(3) Book club editions are slightly different than the books you buy in a store. The words are the same, and they?re all there, but the paper may be thinner, or the physical size of the book slightly smaller. The book clubs print their own editions, which is one way they keep prices down.
(4) When you join a club, you will be obligated to purchase additional books in nearly every case. Typically the club will give you a year or two to get this done. You may have to purchase one book within a year, or four books within two years. Typically these books are $10 to $20 each.
(5) Every three weeks or month, depending, you will receive a paper catalog in the mail, along with a card that shows your "featured selection." If you would like to receive the book, you can do nothing. If you don't want the book, you must return the card before the due date with that indicated, to prevent the club from shipping the book (if you ever receive a book you don't want, most clubs are good about letting you return it). Many clubs now offer an online option that lets you log-in to your account and decline or accept a selection there.
(6) There are more than 150 discount book clubs available with online options, covering everything from bestsellers to audio books to children's books to every type of fiction and non-fiction. The largest clubs are Doubleday, Crossings Christian Book Club and the Literary Guild, each of which has more than a million members. All of the largest discount book clubs are owned by a company called Bookspan, which is a joint venture between Bertelsmann and Time Warner. But there are dozens of smaller clubs as well that offer paperbacks, gift books, used books, rental books and other services.
About the Author: The Deal Dude has done a lot of cheap reading as a member of various book clubs. His site at http://www.bookclubdeals.com profiles every known club in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Copyright 2005 cc Media, Inc.