January 14, 2022
Thoughts and updates —

The benefit of subscriptions for book publishers

The benefit of subscriptions for book publishers

How many subscription services are you currently subscribed to? Whether it’s entertainment, meal kits or razors there’s a subscription for that. According to a 2021 report by Royal Mail, the UK subscription box market is set to be worth £1.8 billion by 2025.

It’s a trend that’s reflected in our own work, we’ve been working with more and more of our clients to develop subscription services. Our own Telling Tales venture has been offering children’s books via subscription since 2019 and it’s good to see book publishers developing their own offerings. Hachette launched The Feminist Book Box in March 2021 and it’s a wonderful example of a carefully curated service.

How it works

The concept is simple: readers pay a monthly fee, they receive the same book or a curated selection based on their preferences. A subscription box can form the basis of a book club with subscribers invited to discuss books in either a physical or virtual space. The Feminist Book Box offers its members access to an online book club, featuring a Q&A with one of their authors, Telling Tales runs craft workshops for its young readers.

Building relationships

Subscription boxes can strengthen a brand and build relationships with readers, they can provide greater insight than one-off book sales. Not to mention, the predictable revenue stream they offer. Many of the book subscriptions on the market are for fixed periods, i.e. the subscriber pays in advance for 6-months. However, whilst that works well for gifting, our experience shows retention is much higher when offering a monthly recurring subscription, where the subscriber may cancel at any point but otherwise the plan runs indefinitely.

The challenges

There can be technical challenges when launching subscription services, and limitations of retailers' ecommerce software may be one reason they offer fixed-length subscriptions. That is what led us to develop SupplyKit, a dedicated web-based platform which allows retailers, and particularly booksellers, to create and offer their customers subscription boxes to their customers.

Starting a subscription service

Retailers can sign-up for SupplyKit themselves and be up and running in 30 minutes with no need for technical expertise. For larger businesses, our team can advise on the best solution, help with onboarding, customisation, and even fulfilment.

If you have an idea for a subscription service, or would like to talk about the opportunity, then we’d love to have a chat with you.