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The Dog Ear: 'Just the right book' service

By Alyssa McDonagh
On March 10, 2014

I've heard of "Fruit of the Month" clubs and book clubs but until recently, I've never heard of a blend of the two. "Just the Right Book" is a service that delivers books to your home monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. According to the service's website, every book is "chosen by a literary expert based on your personal reading tastes and individual preferences." Prior to subscribing, readers fill out a form telling the company about their literary and reading preferences, along with their favorite books, magazines, TV shows and hobbies. This helps ensure that any book you receive will be something that interests you.
"Just the Right Book" was created and run by an independent bookstore in Madison, CT called R.J. Julia Booksellers. I haven't personally been to this store but my mother has multiple times for book signings. The store attracts famous authors all year long for different events. Even though I frequently shop at Barnes and Noble, chain bookstores can't compare to the coziness of an independent bookstore. In my experiences, the employees always know a lot about the books they sell and are very happy to talk with you. Each store has its own individual charm.
This service would be great for the person who enjoys reading but has no idea what they want to read next. They don't have the time to research their next read on bestseller lists or peruse shelves in bookstores or libraries. They don't keep track of their favorite author's upcoming works. They want someone to look for them and they are perfectly happy not picking out a book by themselves. Nothing is wrong with this, but it is something I wouldn't be content with. I love searching for my next read. My to-read list is gigantic and constantly being updated so if I'm ever stuck, that is where I turn. These books come from recommendations from a variety of different sources. Many of my books also come from combing through shelves and taking a chance with a book I have never heard of before. For me, searching for a book is part of the fun in the reading experience.
Searching for a book myself is also significantly less expensive. "Just the Right Book" has a very high price tag. Receiving a paperback book once a month from the Adult subscription costs $245. Monthly hardcover books cost $395. Both of these prices are without shipping. The cost is probably driven from the time employees must spend to choose the correct book for their readers. It's very impressive that every book mailed to customers is personally chosen based on what they like.
My criticisms mainly stem from the fact that this service wouldn't be applicable to me. Despite that, I feel this is a creative concept that many will benefit from. "Just the Right Book" is a great idea to encourage people to read more books and I think a subscription would be greatly enjoyed by anyone who receives or purchases one.
 


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