Today I’m thrilled to welcome Louise Driffield to the book review café. Louise is the founder of My Chronicle Book Box, and although I haven’t subscribed yet I can often be found drooling over readers photos of their latest My Book Chronicle Book Box. So without further ado here’s my interview with Louise……
Hi Louise and welcome to the book review cafe, before we begin tea or coffee?
It’s lovely to be here! A cup of tea please; I love the idea of coffee and yet somehow it always smells better than it tastes.
Congratulations on My Chronicle Book Box I love this idea, luxury subscription book boxes, what’s not to like?
What inspired you to create your own book box business?
I love the whole idea of book subscriptions – always having something worthwhile to read, and helping others discover new books and authors. I saw some book box unboxings on blogs and social media which were mainly focused on young adult fiction and not on my favourite genres. Most of the books on my bookshelves are crime novels or science fiction and fantasy based, some of my favourites inevitably being a devilish combination of the two!
From this nebulous idea that I would like a book box tailored to my own interests the idea for My Chronicle Book Box grew. I began thinking about what I would like in my own book box – not just the best books but author exclusives and bookish goodies that add to the reading experience too! Through chatting with friends and family I found I was not the only one who might buy such a subscription box for themselves or as gifts for others.
Add to that a long-held desire to run my own business and have greater flexibility for my young family and here we are!
How do you choose the books you feature?
Oh my goodness, it is soooo difficult! There are so many great books out there all of which I would love to include 😊
I spend a lot of time reviewing publisher schedules, reading ARCs, finding out author availability, drinking tea, chatting with book-loving friends, reading book blogs and keeping up with industry news to identify trends and possible book choices.
Then I have to consider what combination of books will work together, what will physically fit in the box, the budget (sadly), the time frame needed by publishers, etc, etc…
I do have a few guiding principles for my choices:
- I read all the books that go into the boxes before making the final decision. I must love the books!
- The books are new releases.
- The books must also standalone, I don’t want to include books that would require our subscribers to go and read previous books in order to enjoy the book they receive from me.
- In terms of goodies I like them to add to the reading experience and I like to include things that tie in to the selected books and/or the genre of the boxes whenever I can.
How do you think your service helps authors?
I search high a low for new great books and feature authors both new and established, through our boxes we introduce books and authors to new readers they may not otherwise have found.
We also help create a greater connection through author exclusives. By including an interview or letter the subscribers learn more about the author and can feel more connected with the author becoming not just fans but loyal fans.
Why should readers buy a My Chronicle Book Box?
I find something very comforting and satisfying about reading a printed book. It is a precious gift to have the chance to lose yourself in a tactile print book, free from the interruptions of emails, adverts and notifications and I want to help people create that chance.
A book subscription is a great way to discover new books and authors and always have something ready to pick up and read. We like to take that a step further and add to the reading experience with signed books, author interviews and thoughtful bookish items.
I like to give the boxes a personal touch too, each one contains a personalised letter and envelope sealed with a wax seal which we stamp ourselves. I also gift wrap every book that goes into the subscription boxes and take great care on the packing so that every box is like receiving a gift (even if it’s to yourself!). I also really want the experience of receiving the box, unwrapping the books, unsealing your letter and revealing the bookish goodies to be all part of the fun!
I have seen some fantastic photos of your boxes on social media, how important do you think social media is for your business?
It’s not an easy thing to prove but I think it is very important! Most of our growth has been by word of mouth and I really appreciate all the unboxings and sharing our wonderful subscribers do. It really means the world to me when people take time to tell us and others how much they have enjoyed our book boxes.
I’m not that great at the social media aspect myself, its actually one of my aims for 2019 to get better at it which makes all the posts other people post and share even more important and valued.
What makes My Chronicle Book Box different to other subscription boxes?
There are a few things that give our box its own character and set us apart from some of the other subscription boxes. We only include the latest releases and every box has author exclusives such as signed books, signed book plates, interviews and letters making the boxes extra special.
Then we complement the books with thoughtful related items to add to the reading experience.
The genres we offer set us apart from other book boxes too, you can choose between crime & mystery and sci-fi & fantasy themes (my favourites!).
Being a small business, we put great care and attention into every box I like to give the boxes a personal touch and it means every customer is really important to us.
How much does a book subscription cost and what does this include?
Each My Chronicle Book Box costs £45. This includes 3 recently released books, author exclusives and around 3-4 lovely bookish goodies.
You can also gift a subscription and for £5 we send out a printed gift card for the recipient. This is personalised with your special message and explains what they have been gifted and when they can expect to receive their box or boxes.
Our boxes are quarterly and arrive in the first week of February, May, August and November each year.
You must read so many books, which books would you recommend to readers?
I do – it’s one of the best things about my job! I don’t just read books that are potential titles for our book boxes either. Sometimes I want to read a book just for the fun of it.
I would like to recommend Murder by the Book by Claire Harman. A fascinating true crime book I read just recently about the murder of Lord William Russell in 1840 and its literary connections. This isn’t a candidate for our boxes because it is non-fiction.
I would also like to recommend the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. It’s a wonderful historical fantasy series which captured my heart and imagination. The first in the series A Discovery of Witches was recently adapted for television and features witches, daemons and vampires hiding within plain sight.
Also anything and everything by Agatha Christie and Sir Terry Pratchett!
My thanks to Louise for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use photos from My Chronicle Book Box website.
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