The Element of Surprise: A Study of Children’s Book Subscription Boxes in the USA

  • Rachel NoordaEmail author


Through a series of semi-structured interviews with nine owner/managers of children’s book subscription boxes, this article examines the rise of book subscription boxes in the United States, contextualized within the historical precedent for the subscription model in book publishing as seen in circulating libraries, door-to-door subscription sales, and ebook and audiobook subscription services. In light of Amazon’s 2018 founding of their own children’s subscription book box, this article investigates what makes children’s book subscription boxes succeed and why they appeal to readers. Findings suggest that surprise is key to children’s book subscription box appeal and value.


Subscription Book box Surprise Gift giving Children’s books Business model 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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