Other Media Review

Uppercase Subscription Box

I subscribe to three literary subscription boxes: Lit Cube, Owlcrate, and Uppercase Box. Sometimes they all arrive on the same day and I’m all:

The only person who loves subscription boxes more than me is Dewey, my cat, because

  1. boxes
  2. tissue paper
  3. vibrating cock rings

Two of the subscription boxes I get feature YA books – Owlcrate and Uppercase Box. I’ve already reviewed Owlcrate so it’s Uppercase Box’s turn now.

Uppercase Box is a monthly subscription box (actually it comes in a bag) that features one signed (!!!) YA new release as well as one or two gift items. There are two levels to the service: the Expert Plan which includes the book and 1-2 bookish items and retails for $23 (plus shipping) a month or the Book Exclusive Plan which is just the book and is $13.99 (plus shipping) per month. I’m on the Expert Plan because obviously I’m an Expert at Books and Stuff. The boxes tend to ship and arrive (at least within the US) mid-month.

I’ve been subscribing to Uppercase Box since July and so far I’m largely happy with it. In comparison to Owlcrate, you get fewer items, but the books are signed and I think the items are more often something I’ll actually use (as opposed to a Funko Pop).

Here’s October’s haul:

A literary rock star notebook, cassette tape bookmarks, and Vassa in the Night signed by the author

I was super excited to see Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter was October’s book choice. Not that long ago Amanda recommended this book to me and I held off buying it specifically because I hoped I’d get it in one of my subscription boxes. It’s a dark YA fantasy novel based on a Russian fairytale–total Elyse-bait.

I also got an Out of Print notebook of punk rock authors and y’all, this notebook is the shit.


Lit Rock Star notebook featuring authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maya Angelou, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain made up to look like painted punk rock stars

I’m going to use the shit out of that notebook.

There was a set of three cassette tape bookmarks and a sticker included as well.

I was similarly impressed with September’s box:

A copy of The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron, a sticker that says Certified book addict, and a pencil bag printed with Library book carts

Again, Amanda had already suggested I might like the book The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron BECAUSE IT’S LIKE SHE’S IN MY HEAD, YOU GUYS. There was also a small notebook, a sticker that I immediately put on my laptop and another great Out of Print item. This one is a library cart pencil case:

Close up of bag - its purple with library carts on it, and ti reads This Is How We Roll

Seriously Out of Print is knocking shit out of the park.

So is the box worth the price? Most YA hardcovers retail for around $12-$15 on Amazon, but these books are all signed by the author which I think gives them more value. Also even though I get fewer “bookish” items from Uppercase than I do from other subscription boxes, the items I get are things I totally use and love. In the past Uppercase Box has given out scarves and jewelry, and I’m hoping they do again because I love what they select.

The other thing I really love about Uppercase Box is the bonus content. Each month you get a bookmark which a code and corresponding page number. When you get to that page in the book you go to Uppercase Box’s website and enter the code. This then brings you to video interviews with the author discussing different aspects of the book. It’s such a deeply cool, immersive way to involve the reader in the story and it’s only available to subscribers. Whoever came up with that idea should seriously get a gold star and a cookie.

Now to address the elephant in the room: several times Uppercase Box and Owlcrate have had the same book in the same month. October was no different–both had Vassa in the Night. A lot of people have been upset by this in the past which is totally understandable because you’re paying for two different services and getting the same book. My understanding is that both services pick their books well in advance, making some duplication difficult to avoid.

Now, I’m keeping both subscription boxes. I know enough YA readers that I can easily gift a duplicate book and it’s something I don’t mind doing. When I look at the amount of money I spend on books annually, the cost of a few duplicate books isn’t a huge loss for me, and I can easily turn the extra books into holiday gifts and save the money there instead. BUT if I had to pick between one or the other, I’d choose Uppercase Box over Owlcrate.


The biggest reason is that bonus content. It makes me feel like I’m part of a special community in reading the book, and it engages me in the story in a unique way. I like getting the author’s story behind the story as I read along.  I also really love the items I have gotten in the “gift” category and think they’re generally of a higher quality than what comes in Owlcrate. Plus, the books are signed, which is pretty cool.

In the past Owlcrate and Uppercase Box have worked out a deal where each will refund you half of the duplicate book’s price on Amazon (thereby giving you one book free). Uppercase Box has since discontinued this policy, but I think that was a really reasonable way of dealing with the problem.

My final verdict is this: I love the books, I love the bonus content and I love the fun bookish gifts in each Uppercase Box. It’s my favorite subscription box so far and if I could only have one (the horror!) it would be the one I kept.

Dewey, however, finds the fact that the box is actually a bag and a bag NOT filled with shredded paper or filler to be quite a let down. I like not having to worry about him eating raffia paper, so I’m going to call the wrapping another win.

Add Your Comment →

  1. Patricia says:

    Thanks for the review! I was looking at both subscription boxes for daughter as an xmas present and I didn’t want to get both so now I know which one I’m going with. She’ll love the extra content stuff.

  2. bev says:

    You totally have to get Dewey a subscription box for pets for Christmas.
    I think I’m going to gift myself this one for Christmas. I keep wanting to try a subscription, just haven’t taken the plunge.

  3. Marelis says:

    Oooh! I have been looking at book boxes lately. Uppercase looks awesome. I second the idea of a pet box for Dewey. I tried two different boxes for my dogs and they were really fun, totally worth the value of the box.

  4. Meenal says:

    Elyse! Please put affiliate links on the books – I instantly wanted to go buy Vassa just because you talked about it! It would be nice if we could do it through your affiliate link!

  5. Kate says:

    I also love Uppercase! This month the stuff wasn’t my favorite but I still love the book choices.

    One small correction though – the punk rock authors notebook is actually a Chronicle Books product – http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/writers-journal.html.

  6. LML says:

    YA is so not my thing, but I might enjoy a historical romance book subscription box. Or mystery. Have I forgotten previous SBTB reviews? Off to visit my friend Google…

  7. bev says:

    It says December is Sherlocked which would make me very happy except I wonder if the book is A Study in Charlotte which I own. Hmm.

  8. Sarah says:

    I would love to get a subscription box. Because as you said, the whole being a part of the book buzz and community around a release. Plus bonus goodies. And cat boxes. But, to get things shipped here to NZ is so expensive I really want to know what I’m getting. So no ordering for me at apart from an Aus one that has a special Sarah J. Maas book on offer.

  9. Ashley-Anne says:

    It would cost 22$ to have this shipped to canada… guess im not getting this anytime soon…

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