I can’t believe it’s already September despite the fact that August honestly seemed like the longest month of the year so far – but that’s probably because I’m not a fan of the heat!! Still it was nice to see the sun even if it got a little hotter than I think anyone wanted and it was a little dry too where I am. I hope you had a good summer and managed to get some reading in. I’m actually really really pleased reading-wise this month.
By the time my last post went live I’d just recieved all the books I got last month, so I thought I’d share them here. They’re all books I was super excited to read. Only one of them was from a new to me series, which I’m really pleased with because as I said last month the goal is to get rid of my tbr pile.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I have been a subscriber of Illumicrate since the first box. I have always love the fact that it’s a relatively inexpensive book box you get four times a year, that has had some really awesome books and some great book related merchandise. This box is the final Illumicrate that follows that formula. From this box onwards, Illumicrate has moved to a monthly subscription. I’ll talk more about this and my feelings about the change after I’ve unboxed this Illumicrate for you guys.
I was really excited to get my hands on this box. So excited that I went ahead and opened it before showing you guys, so there’s no video to go along with this post. I was contemplating doing on anyway, but as my procrastination has already got us to May I thought it would be better to just get on with things.
This box contains ten items, including the book. I think they all look really great. I hadn’t heard of the book or the author before seeing it in this box, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I also really enjoyed the variety of the items – there are quite a few that, as far as I’m aware, haven’t featured in a book box before.
The Orphanage of the Gods by Helena Coggan is this quarter’s book. The cover is gorgeous, very atmospheric. The book is a special edition for Illumicrate with an exclusive cover, and comes with lovely blue sprayed edges. The book itself is signed and there is a letter from the author, as well as a metallic notebook. The story is about war between gods and humans, and a girl trapped by it. The next item in the box is a set of six character bookmarks by @lesyablackbird, based on characters from Lani Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. The artwork is on both sides of the bookmark, and looks cool. Then there is the Strange and Dream Umbrella from @hodderscape. Up it looks brilliant, and it’s perfect to slip into a bag to help keep dry in any showers. The next item is the Keep Me Case with artwork by @moledrocraftco, perfect for keeping pens in or maybe just keeping bookmarks safe and easy to find. Girls of Paper & Fire Chopsticks by @heyatlascreative, I definitely have not seen this item in any book box before. Then there’s the Beautiful Thing Pouch with artwork by @stellabookishart, perfect to store make-up in so you don’t loose it in your bag. The next item is the Nectar of the Gods Lip Scrub by @hellolovelyskincare which will be great for getting rid of any dead skin. The final two items are two samplers. The first is for The Binding by Bridget Collins, which was published on Jan 10th by Borough Press. The second sampler is for The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu, the first book in The Eldest Curses series which was published on April 9th by Simon & Schuster. I believe all, or at least most, of the items are exclusive to this box.
Thank you to everyone who made it this far in the post. I mentioned at the start that I was going to talk to you more about what is going on with Illumicrate, and what this means for me. To start with, Illumicrate is now a monthly subscription book box. If you buy the box monthly that means you will pay £26 a month (now, this does not include VAT or P&P which only get added on at the end), but they also offer 3 and 6 month prepaid subscriptions. This honestly made me pause. As much as I have loved getting Illumicrate, these changes with no possibility of keeping the quarterly subscription made me seriously consider what my future with this book box was going to be – this was before I knew the “true” cost for a 3 month prepaid subscription.
When it was a quarterly box the final Illumicrate cost me £29.99 plus £3.70 shipping, so a grand total of £33.69. So based on that 1 year (4 boxes) would cost me £134.76, which I could both afford to do as I only paid every four months. I also liked the fact that it only meant I was getting 4 books a year, as most of the books I got through Illumicrate I hadn’t heard of before so there was no guarantee I would like them. Under the new system, I decided to try the 3 month prepaid subscription which cost me a grand total of £94.05 (including VAT and P&P). Now my first issue here is that the website says this 3 month prepaid subscription costs £75 excluding VAT – it doesn’t mention that it doesn’t include shipping. But forgetting that, a whole year (i.e. 4 subscriptions to this package) will now cost me £376.20. Now that is a lot of money. I don’t even want to think what it would cost paying monthly. Sure it works out as £31.35 per box, but frankly I cannot justify paying £376.20 a year on a subscription box. It’s just too expensive for me. I know going to the 6 month prepaid plan would be cheaper, but it’s still (in my opinion) a HUGE initial amount to pay every six months.
So what does that mean for the future of Illumicrate on this blog? Well. I have paid for the 3 month prepaid subscription, which does mean that the final unboxing will be for the May box (as my subscription started in March). After that, well things are up in the air. I don’t really want to say goodbye to Illumicrate. Daphne has created some awesome boxes, and I think that it’s brilliant that her company has grown this big. The price is a tad prohibitive, and frankly makes me rather uncomfortable. When the three months are up I don’t think I will be re-subscribing. However, I will be using the next 3 boxes to decide if the price increase is worth it. Sorry it has taken me so long to write this. It’s made me super uncomfortable, but I really did feel like I had to say something. I don’t think I’m going to be the only one who has mixed feelings about this. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments – am I overreacting? Do you agree that this is a huge hike in price? Thank you for reading so far, and I’ll see you on my next post.
[I’ve just noticed that I haven’t posted an Illumicrate unboxing since box #11, which I apologise for. I honestly thought I’d posted about them. I will endeavour to get them up ASAP. Thanks for sticking with me.]