Beyond the Blurb | Why I Don’t Enjoy Exclusive Edition Books or Boxes Anymore

Morning, bloggers!

When I first started blogging, I loved exclusive edition boxes and books. But lately, more book subscription companies are lumping in too many boxes and book sets. And I am losing the appeal of them. I can’t be the only reader who hates them now, right? Right? Ahem.

So let me give you some history so you know what I’m talking about. In a matter of a month or so, book subscription companies have been fairly busy, have you noticed? Fairyloot currently offers exclusive editions of Girls of Storm and Shadow, Into the Crooked Place, and a Caraval book set. Additionally, it worked with Holly Black for its Queen of Nothing collector’s edition box with a new set of the Folk of Air books. And the company had to push back the release of the Caraval set because numerous followers complained about the number of exclusive editions and the timing of their release dates.

Illumicrate presents its own Folk of Air collector’s edition. Yes, new editions of the previous books with new covers. Shelflove Crate is also selling The Land of Faerie, a getaway box that will feature Holly’s work across multiple series. So not necessarily Folk of Air, but you get what I mean. And Owlcrate will also do another Folk of Air box to complete the series. And now, Barnes & Noble is re-releasing previous copies of the same series because breaking the bank, and showing how entitled Western readers are, is the newest book trend.

I don’t mind variety and choice. But I also know how difficult it is for some buyers who have no self-control whatsoever, who don’t know what to pick, or who can’t afford any collector’s box and feel horrible about it. What I want to discuss is how all of these boxes are in fact causing a negative effect on our community. As a reader, I wish collector’s editions were handled better. Here’s why:

Collector’s Editions Lose Appeal after Awhile

Don’t get me wrong. Being a rep would be nice. But the appeal is somewhat gone though. This month has completely destroyed the whole thrill of looking forward to collector boxes. I’m not happy to choose which one is the best for my budget. Too many options, I find, doesn’t help readers. Actually, it may cause more frustration, and they and you won’t know what to pick.

 

They Create an Obsession for All Editions when You Don’t Need Them

Why do you think you need all the editions? You don’t. I don’t see the point in having five different editions of the same book with nothing new inside, except the new cover. Get over yourself. Please redirect your privilege to Instagram. Even if these editions offered new content, is it worth the extra expense when you could spend that money on rent, savings, or other books? Hell no. Stop with this consumerism obsession because it isn’t pretty, readers. Now, book subscription companies, slow down the limited edition boxes, please. You’re creativing a toxic situation.

 

They Produce Rifts in Our Book Community

Don’t believe me? Why don’t you talk with an international reader who cannot afford any of these boxes, then you’ll realize. Conversion rates, shipping rates, and limited quantities all prevent international readers, including me, from buying them. And I know I’ll see more international buyers talk about their concerns and anger. And I don’t blame them at all. The only two boxes available to me are Owlcrate and Shelflove Crate. Now the international companies may give some of these buyers more options, but not much though. Shipping will still be expensive.

 

They’re Released All at Once, Which Causes Bad Timing for Buyers

I understand why these companies are now releasing details on their boxes. Yes, Queen of Nothing is coming out in November. But they could have sent out the information a few months ago or in October, not in August when other companies are doing the same. I’m not sure. But I do know other buyers are worried because the release dates are coming up, and they’re too close together, meaning people will need to prioritize the boxes they do purchase over the ones they were hoping for.

 

They Cause a Quantity Issue

Quantity issues are always a problem for Owlcrate, Illumicrate, Shelflove Crate, and Fairyloot. More buyers are demanding more stock, and the publishers and book subscription companies cannot keep up. Now, we see more demand on the buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and other social media platforms. So that $20 book may be $50, $75, $100, or $200 plus. And I see people shelling out the money for that limited edition copy. And honestly, this demand will only get worse.

I want to say I love these boxes. I have enjoyed them in the past. If they come out, then so be it. I may buy one or two, but I’d rather buy more book porn—I mean, reverse harem—at least I’ll get some benefit from the book.

What do you think about the recent collector’s editions announcements? Do you plan to buy any of these boxes? Are you damn sick of them or what? Let me know in the comments section!

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33 thoughts on “Beyond the Blurb | Why I Don’t Enjoy Exclusive Edition Books or Boxes Anymore

  1. It’s a blatant money grab, in my opinion. It’s one thing when you get a special edition released once in a blue moon, but when every single retailer and subscription box starts offering their own “special” edition, well then, it actually makes it feel less special to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ahhhhh Siobhan I love this post and I totally agree. I don’t really see the point of owning multiple copies of books. Like, why do you need more than one? I don’t get it.

    Honestly, some of these seem like money grabs to me. What other reason is there really for publishers? Especially for something like Caraval, which is so new. I get things like anniversary editions, but Caraval was released, what, three years ago? Do we really need a collectors box edition already?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve bought a few copies of one book. One for reading and one for collecting. So I’m not entirely opposed to that. But I’ve seen so many people buy all the editions of Caraval. And I don’t know why you need them all.

      Completely agree with you on the collector’s box. Wait ten years or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree it’s ridiculous, especially all the Holly Black editions lately. It’s just a money grab at this point that everyone wants to cash in on. I will be buying OC’s Queen of Nothing Box because I have the other two editions and because they’ve been on board with this series from the beginning. At the end of the day I don’t care if any edition I own is special or not, most are honestly bookout hauls, what matters is the story itself and while signed books are awesome I totally prefer to meet the author and get my book signed for the experience versus just having a signed edition.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very much so. I’m glad you brought up that book signing experience. I have one book from a signing. I’d love to have more books from that.

      I didn’t buy the other OC boxes, but I understand why people would want to match the set.

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  4. Many readers these days spend way more money buying multiple copies of the same book than buying new books worth reading. I agree that it had created a toxic obsession among the community and yes, I am an international reader and I have wanted to buy those beautiful Owlcrate boxes but never been able to due to unbelievable slipping charges.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yesss! So happy you called it an obsession, which it is. Some people, like me, I will collect certain books. And I’m okay with the difference. But the obsession in our community is getting extreme.

      Some of these boxes are too much for shipping. I can barely afford some at all.

      Like

  5. Girl YES! I’m so thankful I haven’t gotten around to reading Cruel Prince yet because I know myself and I have very little self-control (just look at the 5-6 Capturing the Devil boxes, plus the B&N boxset and Premier edition, I ordered… Though in saying that very little SJTR merch is available internationally and it is one of my favourite series of all time, I have had a lot of self-control in the past with other boxes/fandoms :P) for someone who has a part-time job and lives in Australia… I would be so broke.. Also, 100% agree about the RH being a better use of money rather than a million boxes for the same book release! It’s just gone a bit overboard, I liked it better when only one or two companies did special edition boxes… And it was actually a special box… It’s definitely harder as an international reader and having so many makes it incredibly unfair for those who have a self-control problem or are really obsessed with the fandom and want to have what the others who collect the series have… It’s just too much at this point… (sorry if this doesn’t make sense, I’m overtired)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d love to read SJTR, and I hope to get to it soon. But I completely understand why some people will buy a box. Merch is hard to come by, especially here in Canada, where we can’t get a simple pin from a pre-order giveaway.

      It has blown up lately. And I’m getting tired of seeing all these boxes. Really, I don’t know why all these companies need to sell the same title.

      Like

  6. Thanks for posting this 😀 you’ve hit the nail right on the head here. I do agree that boxes are doing a whole lot of hype over special editions right now, but I also think it’s partly down to our spending habits as a community. I know some people who will buy special edition boxes for books in their favourite series, which obviously makes sense. I don’t mind people shelling out for a fancy copy of Queen of Nothing or Darkdawn or whatever if they’re huge fans of the author etc. But I do think there are lots of people who buy multiple copies to either decide later [because sometimes the company you like announces their special edition box a few days after another company and you’ve already bought that one] or to sell the special editions for a tidy profit. Which kind of sucks. The price has always put me off them. I can afford to get one every now and then, but I always look at unboxings and shrug. They just don’t seem worth it for me. I like the surprise of regular boxes, but the items get repetitive and there’s only so many coasters, mugs, tea towels and pin flags a girl can use.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BST (buy, sell, and trade) groups are notorious on that. I’ve seen people want $200 for a UK Nevernight copy. And I think we’re seeing the bad side of our community now.

      Some are of worth, but the others, I agree. I don’t see why people waste all that money. And I’ve even questioned why I did it as well. I could have put that money toward something else.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Also, boxes could totally announce waaaay in advance so you can see who is doing what. They can still make a big deal of counting down until it is available to order and whatnot, but announcing in plenty of time would help, unless they only secured it last minute [which tbf, with QoN’s publication coming earlier, could be a thing].

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loving this discussion Siobhan. I’m in two minds about this. I do think people should be able to do what they want with their money of course. But I’m more compelled with your argument here that closely resembles my own. I’ve always thought having two of the same copies of books is ridiculous. Although I’ve never been in a book collecting mindset myself, so I can’t relate to the joy that it brings people to continuously haul the same books. Obviously there’s a high demand for it as they continue printing new limited edition copies. I really liked your points here, some I was unaware of such as quantity issues and it being bad timing for buyers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve never been a huge fan of these book box special editions – they’re usually already so expensive without factoring in the conversion rates and shipping costs of carting them all to Australia. And so all that’s left for me to do is salivate over Instagram photos and wish that I had the disposable income to afford to get a nice copy of a book I want. Awesome discussion, I think this is an issue that definitely needs to be discussed more!

    💛 Ngoc

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t particularly see the appeal? Especially for so many books. For most books, I only need one copy. There are some books that I’ll get on Kindle and hardback… but usually if I buy a second copy of the book it’s because I can’t find my first copy. The only real exception that I’ve made is going out to buy first prints of the Legend series, since I’m getting a signed first print of Rebel, I thought I’d get a matching set. They weren’t much more expensive than just buying a normal copy from Amazon.

    If I bought a special box, it would probably be one of the Scribbler boxes for writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ouch. I know I’m super lucky as an “entitled westerner” but if I want to spend my money on special editions is it really a bad thing? I know what I can and can’t afford and if I choose to buy a cheap kindle edition of a bunch of books so I can save my money to buy a cool limited edition cover then that is my choice.

    I have been collecting editions of Pride and Prejudice since I graduated High School. I am super proud of my collection. (And I found most of my copies in random thrift shops and garage sales.) There are literally thousands of different covers of Pride and Prejudice. Do you think there shouldn’t be special editions of classics? Personally I love when books have a variety of covers. If it is a book you truly love then it can make collecting all the editions a lot of fun. Yes, it sucks that some are more expensive, but that is how things are. My dad sells comics for a living and a 1st edition of most comics would not affordable to the average joe. But there are other editions. The collectors and enthusiasts buy the expensive ones and everyone else just gets reader copies. Why is it a bad thing if books do the same thing?

    I have the Barnes and Nobles editions of The Cruel Prince because I liked the black better than the white and they were the same price. I like the Cruel Prince but I am not overly enthusiastic about it. I will try to get the special edition of The Queen of Nothing because I want the bookish goodies, but If I get it I will probably sell the book and keep the stuff.

    I know the system isn’t fair and its harder to get things outside of the US. I want the UK editions of Nevernight and it drives me nuts that I would have to pay a boatload for them in the US. I couldn’t imagine that being the case with most books. So I do understand. I had to decide if I could afford shelling out shipping for the UK editions and I decided it wasn’t worth it for me. Maybe the issue isn’t the book boxes and the different editions. Maybe the issue is the imbalance between publishing in the US vs publishing outside the US. If there were more publishers worldwide then we would get more special editions, but they would be available to different people.

    As for the quantity thing, limited editions is what makes things valuable. Again, I am probably biased because of my dad’s business, but limited edition and variant covers are what makes things valuable. My dad’s best sellers are variant editions of comics that are limited to 500 copies. I grew up surrounded by stuff like this, so to me it makes complete sense that books would do the same thing. Yes its capitalism, but that’s how the world works. If a book is worth $200 then it is probably super special to the lucky person who got it for $40. Why should we diminish the value of their book by making more copies? If everyone has a copy it is no longer special. Sometimes it feels great to own something special. Whether its a book or a comic or anything else you collect (coins, baseball cards, asteroid pieces) its fun to find rare and unique items.

    Like

    • I see many international readers struggle, and I’ve struggle myself even if I’m in Canada. But I’ve seen many Instagram bloggers collect Caraval books just because of the design on the book, not because of the collectability, like what you see with Austen books. I’d love to collect them as well because there’s history there.

      Thank you for bringing up the limited edition part. I actually collect limited edition Kelley Armstrong books from Subterranean Press, a small house in the US. It offers only 1,500 signed, leather editions. And I know my copies will sell for a fortune, but I enjoy collecting them. IG makes the YA community, and sometimes the adult one, fight for these boxes. And I’m seeing more copies show up on buy, sell, and trade groups, where the book could have been more appreciated by an international reader who was finally able to afford that special edition box but couldn’t buy it because that US buyer purchased 3 boxes. And I agree with you on the emotions behind collecting. But collecting and buy special editions are not always the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes sense. I know it sucks for international bloggers / book lovers / book collectors. I know I am super lucky that I live in the US. I do wish it was a more even playing field for international buyers, I agree with you on that. Its a small consolation, but OwlCrate limits their special edition boxes to 1 per subscriber, so we can’t buy three.

        I see where you are coming from with the difference between buying and collecting, but I still disagree with you. If a person wants to buy the box to sell the book, then that is their right. As long as they aren’t abusing it by working the system and buying multiple boxes, then if they buy their one and sell it then that is fine. I know very few people will agree with me on that, but that is what I think. I also think that if a person is wasting their money on cool special editions just for bookstagram and not because they actually want the book, then it is that person’s fault and should not reflect on the publisher / distributor / book box at all. I have seen amazing bookstagramers use only library books. There is no one to blame but yourself if you choose to buy things you can’t afford (unless its necessities like food, water, and shelter, I’m talking only about “extra” things that you could easily leave without)

        Like

  12. I completely agree with all of this! In my opinion, you should really only have an absolutely maximum of two copies of a book (one regular that you bought to read initially if there isn’t an accessible library and one if it’s your absolute favorite and the new cover will make your day). But only for one or two books on your shelf because, like you said, who needs all of these different copies?? Personally, I don’t buy that many books because I’m privileged enough to have access to three different library systems and can read book that way so the books I do buy I may buy the special editions if it was my absolute favorite and I’ll reread it a million times but no less than that. I guess I would much rather spend my money on supporting smaller publishing houses or indie authors and just not accumulating so much stuff. I’m so glad you decided to address this, Soibhan, because I think it’s a topic that really isn’t talked about enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m good with two copies. I do that with Owlcrate: one for reading and one for collecting. Three or more is extreme, if you ask me.

      I’m thrilled to hear you support small authors and houses. I work for one, and it is so hard to make it in the industry.

      Thank you. It isn’t. And I wish it were, but some don’t want to address it.

      Like

  13. PREACH! Honestly it is such a money grab, and tbh I wish that publishers/book boxes would choose ONE SPECIAL EDITION per book. A couple of months ago three boxes had the same fkin book in them and I would have been pissed! I don’t collect multiple copies of any books; I’m a minimalist and don’t like the inherent flex and consumerism involved. But even I get sucked into the hype. And it bums me out.

    At least with the Caraval one it is because people missed out on the UK special covers so it is kind of like a reprint, but the market is so damn saturated now. They don’t feel special.

    Like

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