Before starting this discussion, I just want to say that Bookish Box has some of the most beautiful special edition sets I’ve ever seen. They have unique concepts, and work with authors that might not have otherwise gotten the chance to receive special editions of their books. However, they blew up a lot quicker than I think anyone predicted. As a result, their business practices have revealed that there are a lot of issues going on behind the scenes. So let’s discuss!
Full Disclosure: most of the information I’m going over is sourced from Kevin T. Norman’s TikTok and a Bookish Box Facebook group called Bookish Box…why. I am not talking about all the drama, just the Stalking Jack the Ripper set specifically. I know not everyone has social media, so I figured I’d make a blog post detailing some things to be aware of when buying from Bookish Box.
So…what is the Bookish Box?
Bookish Box creates exclusive editions of both YA and adult books, often crossing over into New Adult. They work with designers to create edge designs, foil designs on the naked hardcover, and new covers. Their books are printed over in China, and then shipped back to the US, as they are technically a US company.
so what exactly is the drama I will be discussing today?
Where to begin. Let’s start with the Stalking Jack the Ripper sets that recently arrived. First of all, let me state that this set of 4 books cost $150 and was supposed to ship in Spring 2022. Shipping delays happen, I get it. But I just wanted everyone to know that before beginning this discourse.
Do you see those edges? Those are the ones that the Bookish Box originally had as mock-ups, and the edges that everyone thought they were getting when this set went on sale and sold out. Pretty, right?
Well my friends, after this set was sold out, the Bookish Box came back and said that the edges in the above picture were the edges that would actually end up on the books. People were rightfully upset, because these were not the edges that had been originally promised and that had been paid for. Well, the sets finally arrive and…
THESE EDGES ARE NOT WHAT WAS SHOWN IN THE FINAL PICTURE. It’s not that any of these edges are ugly. All of them are actually quite beautiful! The issue is that the Bookish Box changed the design of their products and announced it after they had been sold out, and then apparently changed them again with absolutely no communication whatsoever. But the issues don’t end there!
the actual formatting of the book? horrendous.
There’s an extra space between “Escaping” and “From” on Escaping From Houdini. Not only that, but the foiling is clearly copper-colored when it was supposed to be rose-gold. All of this isn’t terrible on its own, but now we unfortunately have to look inside these books.
list of formatting errors because I don’t want to share certain pics without permission:
- Errors in grammar and spelling that weren’t in the original books
- Misaligned margins (words going over the white margins)
- Different fonts for chapter titles (one’s in italics, the next is more blocky)
- Instead of all rights reserved, it’s “all rights reversed”
- Perhaps most egregious of all, Kerri Maniscalco’s name is misspelled in many sets as “Kerri Maniscalo”😬
in addition, there was blatant lying by Bookish Box before these sets even shipped!
They originally promoted these books as a “handsigned set”…and then came back later stating only the first would be handsigned. However, Kerri Maniscalco commented later saying that her original contract had only been for one book. That means that the Bookish Box knew all along that only Book 1 would be signed, and didn’t disclose that information clearly to their customers.
so what’s the outcome of all of this?
Bookish Box has announced that they will be reprinting the entire set. THE ENTIRE SET. I absolutely commend them for that but it does make me anxious money-wise. Look, no one is trying to hate on a company that actually brings unique qualities to the table. But the vast amount of sketchy marketing, preventable errors, and lack of quality control is incredibly disappointing. For those who don’t know, this isn’t the first Bookish Box set to be like this. Today, though, what it comes down to is that if they had been open and honest about this set and their changes from the beginning, people wouldn’t feel lied to. If they had checked the books meticulously, then they wouldn’t be spending insane amounts of money and supplies having to reprint these.
This is not the only issue with Bookish Box, but I’m not discussing that today. Instead, I’d like to direct you again to Kevin, who has so many videos detailing what Bookish Box has done wrong. This isn’t “let’s hate on a company because they made a couple of mistakes!” This is more about informing customers of the issues Bookish Box have had that other companies do not in regards to quality and customer service. I believe that they can improve, and give their customers the products that they paid for. However, right now, censoring people who rightly critique these sorts of heavy-handed mistakes is not a good look for them. They won’t even give people refunds on sets that haven’t shipped yet. In my opinion, the Bookish Box needs to be held accountable or else they will continue to omit information, lie about information, and continue to sell products that are not up to par.
update: the response from bookish box!
I initially wrote this post, and then decided to wait to see how the Bookish Box would respond. Here it is:
For those who just want a summary, here it is: they will be reprinting the Stalking Jack the Ripper set with correct grammar and rose-gold foiling. Not only that, but everyone who received a messed-up set will receive a $30 voucher to their shop, and anyone who wants a refund instead of the reprinted set will get one. In addition, any orders that have not been sent out yet by Bookish Box are eligible for refunds.
As an explanation as to why this occurred, the Bookish Box states after having had mistakes with other sets, they decided to implement better quality control and an experienced proofreader. However, the STJR sets were already sent out to print before these changes were implemented. Which begs the question as to why these preventatives weren’t in place from the very beginning but I digress. The Bookish Box states that they will have an in-depth look at their changes up on their blog very soon, and they are in communication with publishers about possibly reprinting sets that have been messed-up in the past (such as Electric Idol or Crave).
so what are my thoughts on this?
Honestly? I’m happy they’re finally reprinting, refunding, and setting new quality control measures in place. However, a lot of this should have been done from the very beginning of their sales. I hope that this will finally lead to good changes, both in their products and customer service. If not, this might be the final straw for many people. I do hope they can turn things around and actually become a respectable business, but that might be a far stretch.
As a side note: they apparently sent a Cease and Desist letter to Kevin T. Norman, so I’d again recommend you guys go and support him because all he’d done is shown what errors the Bookish Box has made.
So that’s it! I didn’t want to go into detail about everything else right now. However, I can make more posts summarizing some of the issues with Bookish Box if you guys want me to. I just want everyone to be fully informed about their purchases! So let me know your thoughts!