Box subscription services have been on the rise this past year, seeing everything from shaving clubs to swag for single ladies. And one Baton Rouge woman is making her own mark in the box subscription world.
Amanda Lanclos is an author, blogger and can now add business entrepreneur to her list with her box subscription service, “Crazy About Books.” The box’s niche is that it sends two signed books from the romance genre every month with added swag from different authors. Any romantic sub-genre can be found in the boxes, from the paranormal to the erotic.
“We don’t limit it…we have young adult, new adult, as long as it’s any kind of romance, it’s allowed in there,” Lanclos said. “It’s a different author every month, and if you’re like me and like to collect signed books, it’s easy to grow your collection because you get a different book every month and it’s never the same book in every box.”
Lanclos launched her career in the written word four years ago with a blog. Three years ago, she released her first book “Irreparable,” based on a real-life Marine who lost both legs in an explosion.
“I used to read a book a day, and I never thought that I would be able to write a book until I saw [him], so I thought he has a story to tell, and I wrote a book about it,” Lanclos said. “That’s how I started writing.”
It was only a natural progression for Lanclos to create a book subscription service.
“I love books myself, and I love being able to leave reality for a little while and get caught up in a fictional world full of pages,” Lanclos said. “I just woke up one morning and said, ‘You know what, I think I can do a book box subscription company. And so, I contacted a few people and did a few signups up to see if anyone was interested.”
“Crazy About Books” started shipping monthly subscription boxes last June, and it currently has 60 subscribers with the number continually growing. Previous boxes have included books from authors such as Harper Sloane, Jasinda Wilder and Lacey Black. Along with the books are added swag from authors, including bookmarks, gel bracelets, lip balms, notepads, pens and cards with digital copies of the books.
The way the service works is Lanclos buys the books from the authors, and then they’re signed and shipped to her. Once received, she then boxes the books and sends them out to her subscribers.
“It works out for me because I blogged before, so I have relationships with the authors that’s not just ‘Hey, want to sell me some of your books?’” Lanclos said. “And I also do book signings in Biloxi, so they know me personally and know that I’m not somebody who will screw them over.”
The appeal with “Crazy About Books” is receiving a box each month with the knowledge that you won’t find these items in an average bookstore.
“I think people are more into the box subscription because they’re different than what you’re going to get at a bookstore,” Lanclos said. “Most of the authors that are in my boxes, they’re authors without a publisher, so you may not find their book in a bookstore anyway. But they also are signing these books, so when you go to the bookstore, you’re going to get just the book.”
Another benefit, Lanclos said, is that her book box, at $20 a month, is one of the cheapest out there for what you receive.
“When you go to a book signing, it’s $10 a book most authors pay to have it signed,” Lanclos said. “And so, that’s where the pricing came in. I’m an author, but I’m a reader too. I’m a firm believer in making it affordable for everyone.”
As far as why the box focuses on romantic fiction, Lanclos says it’s because of how popular the genre is compared to others. According to Lanclos, she also tried to start a Christian romance box service, but it did not attain the same level of success.
“I guess more people like the dirty, and the sex…because that’s the only difference between a Christian romance and contemporary romance,” Lanclos said.
One of Lanclos’s current challenges is the lack of a workspace after losing her home in the 2016 flood. Right now, she keeps the books she buys in storage and boxes them a little at a time, but she’s not without help.
“My kids enjoy it; they like to help me stuff the boxes,” Lanclos said. “So, like they’ll get a book, and they’ll put it in there for me, and they’ll get the tissue paper and lay it on top for me.”
Lanclos says she hopes to see the service growing and being here for a long time. If it does eventually get larger, she would like to do more with the service and the community.
“It’s a great experience, and it brings so much joy and new people into your life,” Lanclos said. “We’re hoping to grow even bigger; I hope that one day I’ll have 300 boxes to send out.”
To sign up for “Crazy About Books,” visit facebook.com/CrazyAboutBooksBox.
Photo by Sean Gasser.