Page 1 Book Subscriptions

We are literary matchmakers. The personal touch of an indie bookstore with the delight and surprise of a subscription service.

Brandy
Modern Media
$7,690
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Project Description

Consider us your online indie bookstore.

Page One Books is a book subscription service that hand-selects books for you based on your preferences and our knowledge. Because we know you are more than an algorithm.

This is a labor of love for us.

You like books.  Or you know someone who likes books.  Perhaps you or they love books.  We want to help you love more books.

We will send out a mix of hard- and soft-cover books for three, six, or 12 months based on your preferences.  When you check out, please tell us in the notes section the recipient's preferences, authors, subjects.  And we will hand-pick titles and send them to you, lovingly-chosen, lovingly-wrapped, every month for your subscription.  Subscriptions ordered before the 25th of each month will be sent the next month.  Orders coming after the 25th will go out with the following month's boxes.

For gift subscriptions, you will receive a beautiful email with information about the gift and how to redeem for you to forward to the receiver when you choose.

Books are sent on the 1st of each month following your order.  We guarantee your happiness with the book we deliver.  If you don't like it, or if you already have read it, let us know.  A replacement will be on its way before you can say 'bob's your uncle'.  No need to send the other back.  Pass it along.  We think there is no better karma than sharing a good book.

Tell me more.

What makes Page 1 special?  Why wouldn't I choose another book subscription box?  Or order from a very large company that started as a website selling books (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)?

YOU.  You are what makes what we do so special.  You are a reader like no other reader.  We listen to you.  We think about you.  We are inspired to share books we know you will love.

We don't just give you five books to pick from.  And, we are not 'pushing' titles that have big marketing budgets or sales goals.  We are sharing our love of books with you, and sometimes that means a book that came out 10, 20, or 50 years ago.  Where would Jane Austen be if we all only read bestsellers?

What do I actually get each month?

Page 1 sends you a new book that we have hand-chosen for you based on your tastes.  We also usually include a little something extra as a surprise.  Books will be a mixture of paperback or hardcover.

When will I get my books?

Books ship out on the 1st of each month for subscriptions purchased by the 25th of the prior month.  Subscriptions ordered after the 25th will ship out the month after.  You will receive a tracking number when your books ship.

What if I already have the book?

We want the experience to be as easy for you as possible.  If you have the book or don't like what we chose, we will send you a new one straight away.  No need to even go to the post office and return the original one.  We ask you pass it along to someone who may enjoy it with our compliments.  We think sharing good books is good karma.

How do you know what I will like?

We have a literary crystal ball in the back room.  Just kidding.  First, we listen.  Then we rely on what we know and what we've read.  Our staff loves books and authors and readers. And this is what we talk about most of the day, in their down time, during breaks, to just about anyone who will listen.  Our social feeds aren't puppies or kittens, they are books.  (Okay, with a few cute furry animals thrown in!)

How do I let you know what I like?

Our sneaky smart system won't let you finalize the order if you don't tell us your preferences.  You will be prompted to answer a few questions in the text boxes.  Type as much as you like.  Tell us everything.  Write your own novel!  Also, a Goodreads handle is very helpful so we avoid sending you books you've already read.

What do you charge for shipping?

We ship via media mail to keep costs down.  The shipping cost for a three-month subscription is $10 - total.  Not $10 per month, but for all three months.  Total shipping for a six-month subscription is $15, and it's $25 for a 12-month subscription.  However, there is a Priority option if you simply can't wait to get yours books.

What else ya got for me?

Page 1 is happy to offer special curated limited edition gift bundles.  We have successfully created two bundles since our launch - the Cozy Reader Bundle and the Valentine's Bundle.  We anticipate future bundles for Mother's Day, Beach Reading, and Back to School.

Our History

We have been live since June 2017 and have steadily grown our subscription base and site visits.  In our first month, July 2017, we had 1000 site visits and sold 10 subscriptions at a revenue total of $416.32.

This past month, February 2018, we had 938 visits, sold 22 subscriptions at a revenue total of $1,870.01.  We attribute this increase to smarter targeting, better merchandising, and getting tighter on our offerings and VSP.

Last year ended with:

Revenue:  $11,770.19  (Current YTD revenue is $4,435.41)

Site visits:  8,206  (Current YTD site visits is 3,329)

Repeat Customer Rate:  22.42% (!)

Average Order Value:  $69.58

Total Orders:  206

Conversion rate:  1.78% (from .90% the first month)

We have broken even and projecting a 20% profit margin moving forward.

Primary marketing and acquisition efforts focused on Facebook, Instagram, Google Search and re-targeting, email marketing.

We also reached out to a variety of influencers with free subscriptions in exchange for an honest review.

Currently in the outreach queue:

  • Austen Prose - A Jane Austen Blog - (FB: 1.8k followers, IG followers:  21.6k)
  • Oprah Magazine - sub cards sent to three book editors
  • Buzzfeed - sub card sent to book editor
  • In discussion with Modern Mrs. Darcy to be a supplier of books for her online book club with over 1000 members
  • Finally, we have partnered with ParmCrisps to sample their produce in our April box.  In exchange, we will receive mention on their FB (7.2k followers) and IG pages (5.4k followers).

We have a good start and strong trajectory.  Growth is on the horizon and that is why we seek funding.  The funding will be used in three main areas:

  1. Driving awareness:  We do a good job converting visitors AND keeping them coming back with a high repeat customer rate (24%!).  The most important thing to do is to keep driving customer there.  40% of the funds would go to paid media on Facebook and Instagram, and Google search and retargeting.  We would also use those funds to supply free subscriptions to influencers to continue the successful path we've started on.
  2. Site Improvement/Technology Updates:  We are currently using a rather unsophisticated system for the monthly tracking of book shipments, an Excel pivot table.  As we are sending out about 100 boxes a month, it is beginning to get unwieldy and we need to invest in a bespoke database for this unique business.  We also need to make updates to the site, as it was one we built using a Shopify template.  We have customized it as much as our talents allowed and need a professional to really make it hum.  This would be about 20% of the budget.
  3. Extra hands:  This has been a bootstrapped effort with my kids and family jumping in to help with wrapping and boxing and shipping.  We need to have a consistent part-time employee to help as we grow.  This would be the final 40% of the budget.

Help us keep making readers happy!  Here are some quotes from verified reviews:

"I love the picks that the people involved in this company make. They listen to what I've mentioned in my likes/dislkes and made surprisingly appropriate choices. They are amazing!"

"There is nothing as delightful as receiving a hand-picked book (or two!) in the mail. There's a feeling of excitement and adventure that makes it a guaranteed highlight to your day or week. The Page1 team has been unerring in their choices for me and my daughters. We eagerly await our picks each month."

"I’ve tried several other book subscription boxes and none of them compare to Page1 Books. I love getting a box each month with a book I know I will love!"

"Love the experience this subscription offers. The books are beautifully packaged and so much fun to unwrap each month. I have been I produced to so many new books and authors...Page 1 Books has truly expanded my literary horizons."

"I love love love Page 1 Books! My subscription came with three amazing books that I had never heard of before but loved reading. And it was accompanied by some sweet little treats that made it even more enjoyable - tea, magnet, hand written card. What a great touch. With such personalized touches, excellent service, and great books, I would recommend it highly to any book lover or gift giver!"

"Beautiful packages filled with lovely extras and amazing books! Out of all of the book subscriptions I have tried, this one is my fave. If you want Blind Date with A Book crossed with Book of the Month, this subscription is for you!"

Updates

The Project FAQs

 What could go wrong?  We think the three biggest challenges are:  

  1. The biggest challenge in the book industry is margin.  Lower than almost any other industry, this project needs scale.  Not Amazon scale, but enough scale and we can't grow without awareness.  We need to achieve scale with the lower margin to be profitable.  Scale for a meaningful business looks like 800-1000 boxes shipped each month, an 8-10x growth effort.  No small feat.
  2. Speaking of Amazon, many people don't want to pay full price for books.  And that's okay.  Those aren't our people.  We have learned that for a certain target segment, personalization matters.  They will pay full price for the communication, the feeling that they are truly unique, and for the pleasure of a surprise every month.
  3. Subscriber wear-out.  We could see a scenario where people subscribe and don't bother to come back because the service has gotten stale.  To combat this, we must continually keep things fresh in the box (new trinkets, etc.) and in the community (sharing news on FB and IG, writing interesting blog posts, continuing to seek out new partners).

All that being said, we believe the service we provide is special and unique.  With smart business management, creative marketing, and boost to get going, these obstacles can be overcome.  The response has already been phenomenal.  Reviews on Facebook and the independent collector Trustpilot are never lower than 5 stars.

04/25/2018
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$100
04/25/2018
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$20
04/25/2018
1-Month Page 1 Delivery
$50
04/25/2018
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$20
04/25/2018
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
$25
04/25/2018
1-Month Page 1 Delivery
$50
04/25/2018
1-month Page 1 book box with Tote
$100
04/26/2018
Page 1 Books Shopping Tote
$25
04/27/2018
Page 1 Books Shopping Tote
$25
04/27/2018
Page 1 Books Shopping Tote
$25
heart 1
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
14 Supporters
Contribute
IMG_1368
$25
Page 1 Books Shopping Tote

Receive a lovely Out of Print library tote for all your books or shopping needs

15 Supporters
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dec em
$50
1-Month Page 1 Delivery

Receive a Page 1 book package with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

27 Supporters
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$100
1-month Page 1 book box with Tote

Receive a Page 1 book package with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside AND a lovely Out of Print tote.

11 Supporters
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$250
3-Month Page 1 Subscription

Receive 3 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

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blue books
$500
6-month Page 1 Subscription

Receive 6 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

4 Supporters
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janeite
$1,000
12-month Page 1 Book Subscription

Receive a full year of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

0 Supporters
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$5,000
The Whole Library

Receive 3 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside. Also receive the Winter Bundle, the Valentine Bundle, any future bundles AND a 3 month gift card for a friend.

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About the entrepreneur

Rewards

heart 1
Monetary Contribution With No Reward
14 Supporters
Contribute
IMG_1368
$25
Page 1 Books Shopping Tote

Receive a lovely Out of Print library tote for all your books or shopping needs

15 Supporters
Select this reward
dec em
$50
1-Month Page 1 Delivery

Receive a Page 1 book package with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

27 Supporters
Select this reward
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$100
1-month Page 1 book box with Tote

Receive a Page 1 book package with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside AND a lovely Out of Print tote.

11 Supporters
Select this reward
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$250
3-Month Page 1 Subscription

Receive 3 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

5 Supporters
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blue books
$500
6-month Page 1 Subscription

Receive 6 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

4 Supporters
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janeite
$1,000
12-month Page 1 Book Subscription

Receive a full year of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside.

0 Supporters
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valentine_3_740x
$5,000
The Whole Library

Receive 3 months of Page 1 book packages with a hand-picked, beautifully wrapped book based on your preferences, a note from Brandy, and a couple of little treats inside. Also receive the Winter Bundle, the Valentine Bundle, any future bundles AND a 3 month gift card for a friend.

0 Supporters
Select this reward