There will never be a book subscription box in Malaysia.
Or at least, that was what I thought until I got to know last month that there indeed exists a book subscription box in Malaysia- Bookish Bundle and it has been going on since last year much to my ignorance!
And of course, regardless of the theme, I signed up immediately for the January 2017 box – themed Eternal Bond.
The Concept. Bookish Bundle is a book subscription box based in Malaysia, sending several bookish items and a curated book of their choice once every few months. Basically it really feels like sending a surprise bookish gift to yourself!
The Cost. If you’re in Malaysia, this box is about RM75 each.
How To Get It? You can subscribe by Whatsapp-ing their organizers. More info in their Facebook page: Bookish Bundle FB
If you’d prefer a video version of this unboxing, feel free to watch my unboxing video below:
Unboxing the Box – January Theme: Eternal Bond
The theme to start the 2017 year is ‘Eternal Bond’. To be honest with you, I was expecting this box to be about romance, since ‘Eternal Bond’ is always romanticized as a love story in literature. It would have been funny if I had open this box and found that ‘Eternal Bond was actually referring to, “Bond. James Bond.” that would have been a great troll by the organizers.
Alas, upon unraveling the items in this box, we found that ‘Eternal Bond’ actually refers to friendship! That is a nice touch, much better than romance in my opinion.
1. Bookish Bundle ‘Eternal Bond’ January Box Infocard. The card gives off the tone that it is the warm, sweet friendship kind of vibe. I like it that it marks down the purpose of each item and how it ties back to the theme of friendship. Although I probably would have liked it much better if there had been a little more novelty to their infocard. I really, really liked how they done up their Fantastic Future infocard and Royalty infocard previously. Hence, I was expecting it to be on par with those, since they have done a good job on this previously. While this one feels too much like a safe-goody-two-shoes type.
2. YatLuvG’s Designed Tote Bag. (Est Value RM10 = USD2). Aside from the book, this one is probably the key item of the box, together with the quote, “Friends that read together, stay together.”Loving the thought that comes into the typography design of the bag, complete with illustration of two people standing together with a stack of books. However, this quote doesn’t really resonate much with me due to personal reason that I don’t really have bookish friends. But I can’t deny, this one hits spot on towards the ‘Eternal Bond’ theme. Hence, it’s an important item in the box.
3. YatLuvG’s Harry Potter-related Bookmark (Est Value RM1 = USD0.30). Another cute art by YatLuvG of probably the most iconic friendship known in the world of literature – The Golden Trio (Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley). A very suitable symbol of ‘Eternal Bond’ indeed. Seeing “Until the very end” written in the back of the bookmark just tugs my heart a bit, feeling sentimental for the journey that the trio have been through together.
4. B.A.CA and TheMinuetShop’s Notebook (Est Value RM10 = USD2). The cover of this notebook is so beautiful, with the combination of colours and vintage typewriter. A thoughtful token for the start of 2017, by using this notebook as a reading journal. I like how there is a blank space below the title, where we could write our own names to further personalize it. And the quote, “We read to know that we’re not alone” strongly resonates with me on the joy of reading.
5. TheReadingBerry’s Harry Potter-inspired 2017 Calendar (Est Value RM1 = USD0.30). This definitely has a beautiful design and typography, closing with the quote, “Until the very end.” Though, since I don’t normally use this type of calendar, I’ll probably keep it in tow as a birthday card for someone later.
6. Epic Read’s Bookmark. I was slightly confused at first as the design didn’t seem to tie back to the friendship theme of this box. So I thought that this was a promotional item, similar to Bookalicious’ bookmark and TheMinuetShop’s thank you note. Later on, I found out that this is a limited edition item that comes in only 40 of the subscription boxes randomly, as they didn’t have enough to cover for everybody. I was amazed that my box is one of the 40 boxes, as I never really have much luck with lucky draws, so I’m definitely happy to have this. But to be fair, I know for a fact that I won’t be using this bookmark. Hence, I will be giving this EpicReads bookmark away. So to any of you BookishBundlers who are reading this and might want this bookmark to complete your collection, you can get in touch with me through the comment box below or DM me on my Instagram .
7. The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood (Est Value RM43 = USD10). The first thing I noticed is that this is not your typical YA-genre book. I find this surprising because most book subscription boxes would gravitate towards the YA-fiction genre since it is the most popular genre among reading communities online (even in Malaysia). Hence, it is a safer bet when curating a subscription box. Which is why I find this book as an odd choice because it skews more towards contemporary adult fiction. Nevertheless, I absolutely appreciate that the curation is being expanded in book genres, as there are plenty of good books to be recommended outside of the YA genre that we would not have discovered otherwise.
I am very much prepared to cry reading this book, as my understanding of the book’s summary is as follows:
It’s about an unlikely friendship between an 11-years-old boy and a 104-years-old woman… Until one day when the boy no longer came to her home, but in his place, his father and mother came instead. And now it’s the healing process for both the parents and the old woman who are all coping together with the loss of the boy.
Disclaimer that the above is my summary of understanding and assumption of what this book is about based on reading the book’s back cover. I might read the book later on to find out that the story is unexpectedly different. Of course, the above summarized storyline already broke my heart. Truly a unique choice of book to promote, but it sounds like a beautiful story to be told.
Total Estimated Value of All Items = RM65
Disclaimer: Above is only a rough estimation to briefly gauge the possible value of all the items. As I am not the organizer, my estimations would not be accurate.
But so far from my estimations, the value of the box comes to around RM65 – and I did not include printing for the infocards , cost of the cardboard box itself, printing of the box’s label, and postage delivery charge (around RM8), the total value of the box is either on par or slightly higher than the RM75 paid to Bookish Bundle.
As A Lazy Panda, I’d Give It :
(6 out of my 10 bamboos)
Bookish Bundle will always have a special place in my heart for being the first and (so far) only book subscription box in Malaysia. It gave me a chance to have that experience of getting my own book subscription box, which I’ve only been able to watch unboxing videos online through Youtube all this while.
In addition, this is one of the more affordable subscription box – pricing at RM75, that doesn’t put too much of a hole in my wallet. And I really appreciate that the curators tried to include as many items as possible into the box, can be seen that they even included the Epic Reads bookmark even though it probably was not part of the plan at first.
Next on, I really think it’s great that a huge part about this box is on highlighting some notable people and companies in Malaysia’s reading community. If it wasn’t for this box, I probably would not have known creative people like YatLuvG and TheReadingBerry. And I definitely would not be aware of the other independent bookish establishments like Bookalicious and B.A.CA, which I will definitely keep a close eye on moving forward.
However, here are rooms for improvements. Firstly, my experience of this was probably not the best because I already had high expectations upon seeing their previous Royalty box and Fantastic Future box. This time round, their curation does not ‘wow’ me as much as their previous boxes. Hence, my point of view is already biased because I based my expectations of this box based on their previous works. This is probably not fair because the idea of a subscription box is to surprise you and you should not have any fixed expectations on it.
Secondly, it seems like the curation this time round does not flow as naturally as it could have been. The only one that really felt like tied back to the friendship theme is the book, the tote bag and the Harry Potter bookmark. Whereas the calendar and notebook feels more like a ‘New Year Resolution’ theme rather than a friendship theme. Yes, I know it’s stated on the infocard that the calendar is to “mark our journey together with our friends” and the notebook is as “a token of our friendship”. But doesn’t that all just sounds a bit force-feeding to it? Maybe something like matching charms/ bookmarks or friendship bracelets would have helped to tie up the message better?
Nevertheless, most of the parts about this box is right within the theme, and curation of the book selected is simply superb. Looking forward to their future boxes in the months to come!