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  • Writer's pictureChrissy

Book Box Battle - Round 3

Hey Hey Book Lovers! It's that time of month again where we get to watch as three wonderful book subscription boxes battle it out to see who reigns for the month and wins our continued purchase of that box. 🙌 Exciting stuff! In Round One, Owlcrate championed over Once Upon a Book Club and Fae Crate. In Round Two, The Bookworm Box gave us just another reason to love Colleen Hoover as it overtook Spearcraft and Unplugged Book Box. This month we feature three new competitors:

The Strand Book Hook Up


The Bookish Box

So let's dig in!

About the box

The Strand - Book Hookup The Strand is an independent book store in New York that was started by one man with $600 in 1927. (Can you imagine starting a bookstore with $600 these days?) In 2016 they jumped on the subscription box train and The Strand Book Hookup was born. Initially a quarterly box offering three genre options, it's still quarterly - but now boasts nine genres/topics to choose from. To find out more about how The Strand came to be, you can check out them out here.

The Bookish Box I scoured, and scoured their website and instagram, and sadly could not find any information about how they came to be. Which is a little depressing. I pride myself on my internet sleuthing abilities. Their 'Meet the Team' page offers up "We'd love to share our story with you!" but that's it. That's where it ends. They dive into a little bit about each team member and how they came to work at Bookish Box/Shop, but nothing on how the box came to be. 😔

Illumicrate began in 2015 and is the brain child of Daphne. Daphne wanted to create a gift box that shared her favorite books and fandoms with others. Originally a quarterly box, it quickly gained traction as a must see and moved to monthly offerings including debut box featuring debut authors and their lifestyle collection. To find out more about Daphne and the rest of the team at Illumicrate, head on over to their site.


Illumicrate - $58.98, illumicrate is a UK subscription so for us in the US we have a bit of a higher price point. Coming out at $36.20 for the box itself there is an additional charge of £16 or $22.78 US for shipping.

The Bookish Box - $57.50 this price is inclusive of shipping and you won't see any additional charges each month for that.

Book Hookup - $37.50 but there is an additional $6.99 for shipping bringing the quarterly total to $44.49

Price wise, I would initially go for the Book Hookup, but because this is only a quarterly subscription and not something that I would receive monthly for that price, I would have to go with The Bookish Box as the price is monthly and does include the cost of shipping with it.

Ordering and Shipping

Illumicrate and The Book Hook up shipped fairly quickly and were easy to place my order. Illumicrate does currently have a waitlist and I think my initial wait was about a month before I received my email that I was eligible for a box. I ordered my Bookish Box on July 31st so that I would be sure to receive the August box, While they are really amazing about their shipping updates and letting you know in advance that there are issues with getting things out on time, It was practically October before I received my box. ☹

This one goes to The Book Hook up. No waitlist. No shipping issues (which honestly are understandable but almost 2 months behind is a little much). Ordering is so simple, you just select which genre you want and how long you want to have it for.


Illumicrate's yellow box is flashy and vibrant. It brings about thoughts of joy and the pleasure you will gain when you see what's inside!

The Book Hook up comes in a brown box with the strand logo on the top of the box.

Bookish Box. Oh Bookish box. My box was just a plain brown box with The Bookish Box logo tape closing it up. It also was pretty damaged when I received it. Not blaming the Bookish team, because I know things get kicked around in transit, but yikes.

I am going to give this one to Illumicrate. That bright yellow just made me so excited to open the box and see what was inside. It inspired confidence in the possibility of little treasures it could hold inside.

Theme + Items

You can check out the unboxings of each box and the items received at the end of this post!

Illumicrate's theme for the box I received was 'revenge is sweeter'. It included items from fandoms like Caraval, KOTW, and Song of Achilles. My favorite piece was the KOTW mug, but I definitely had a wtf moment about the Caraval measuring cups. Not sure exactly what I will do with them because I feel washing too many times will remove the Caraval, but they're really nice measuring cups. 🤷‍♀️

Bookish box featured a Witch's and Coven's theme and included items from TOG, Kingdom of the Wicked, Twilight, A Discovery of Witches, and Legendborn. I KNOW I'm going to get some heat for this but, some of the items seemed really cheaply made. It felt like my money mostly went to the cost of book and T-shirt. The items definitely stayed in line with the theme though.

Book Hook up theme was just fall, I assume because it was the fall box. While it didn't have many items included (the books are the main event) when I saw that tote I was SCREAMING. I have been dying for a new tote for awhile but haven't been able to drop the cash on the one I want, this one is just perfect for spooky season and has already gone on book buying excursion with me.

For Theme and items, I am awarding the points to Illumicrate. Yeah, so the measuring cups were a questionable choice, but the items in the box definitely stayed in line with the theme and seemed to be of really good quality. Also who doesn't enjoy a book with some sweet sweet revenge. Did I also mention how stunning the book it? With stenciled edges and a reversible dust jacket? Yeah. Illumicrate's a keeper.

The Winner

One of my favorite things about doing these battles, is that I am giving smaller subscription boxes that you might not have heard about, a chance to shine. While this month the comparison is between some more well known boxes, next month you may see 3 you never knew existed. While the clear winner this month is Illumicrate, I want to give a shoutout to Book Hookup. The fact that they also provided a copy of a book not out for release until 2022 AND that beautiful tote, they definitely are the runners up.

If you want to check out our previous month's of Book Box Battle you can here.

Like books, reading, book reviews, and all things bookish? If you haven’t yet signed up for the treasure trove be sure to fill out the subscribe form here, so you will get a notification the next time we post!

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