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Can Amazon’s New Subscription Box Save You Money on Kids’ Books?

Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder.


Amazon is launching a new subscription program aimed at voracious young readers.

Prime Book Box delivers a handful of age-appropriate books to kids up to age 12 for $22.99 per box. You can choose deliveries ranging from a box every one to three months.

The subscription promises that each hardcover or board book included saves shoppers 35% off list price, “and provides the best value on books sold by Amazon,” the website explains. Subscribers can choose books from a curated list or let Amazon put together a surprise box.

Book Box is available only by invitation at this time; Prime members can visit the program site to request an invitation.

So, how big are the savings?

Is Amazon’s Book Subscription Box for Kids Worth It?

We checked the prices for a pair of hardcover books curated as an example for readers ages 6 to 8. “Those Darn Squirrels!” by Adam Rubin sells on Amazon for $16.80, and Lois Lowry’s “The Willoughbys” sells in hardcover on Amazon for $12.24. Buy them individually and you’ll spend $29.04 with free Prime shipping.

Buy them at list price at your local bookstore and you’ll spend a total of $33.99 before shipping.

Then we checked Barnes & Noble, because there aren’t that many chain bookstores left to compare prices against. There, the same set of books cost just 64 cents more than they did at Amazon. B&N offered a $5 discount on any two books, but only ships orders of $25 or more for free if you’re a member paying $25 per year.

OK, so the price comparison is pretty much a wash. Is Amazon’s invite-only-for-now program worth the cost?

Maybe, if your child loves getting mail and is always looking for something new to read. Or if you live far from a library and tend to end up with overdue fines. Or if you’re a cool aunt or uncle who isn’t exactly an expert on the hottest children’s books.

At this point, what’s one more box on your doorstep from Amazon?

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder covering the retail and grocery industries.

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