We Picked This One for You
You've heard us talk about our flagship subscription service, Brilliant Books Monthly. You know we rave about how unique it is, how unlike every other subscription service out there, each book is individually hand-selected by our expert booksellers.
But what does that actually mean? How do we go from a handwritten preferences card to that perfect book every month?
It's quite the process. Each subscriber is first assigned to the bookseller who will be best able to pick just the right books. From there, each bookseller has their own process for sorting titles and making recommendations. We asked a couple of our booksellers to pull back the curtain and tell you what it's really like!
Rachel: "By far the favorite part of what I do at Brilliant Books is picking books every month for all of our Kid and Young Adult subscribers. These young people are so excited about reading, and unfettered in their enthusiasm for the new books they receive each month. Just this week, I had the best experience, meeting some of our subscribers who stopped into the store and introduced themselves, eager to talk about their books and to see where it all happens.
"As a parent myself, I have a unique perspective on how important instilling a joy of reading is at a young age, setting the stage for a lifelong love of learning. For that reason, I try my hardest to really look at what each subscriber expresses interest in and am keenly aware that interests change quickly. Some of our Kid and YA subscribers have had their subscriptions for years, so it's also a joy to watch them grow, seeing some of the books I've chosen becoming favorites." Learn more about Rachel's work with young readers.
Jodie: "I pick a variety of titles and genres for Brilliant Books Monthly, most notably Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Mystery / Thrillers. I take each selection very seriously as it is my personal objective to make sure everyone gets the book that they would enjoy most. It also brings me great joy to be able to "meet" new folks who are as passionate about reading and literature as I am, and makes me feel as if I have entered into a much larger circle of friends that stretch across the globe.
"While there is a lot of fun in choosing books for a reader, there are also challenges. Sometimes a subscriber can be very vague on what they like, or just the opposite, and be extremely focused on what they consider enjoyable reading. This takes a bit more time and research to home in on just the right title, but it brings a bit of adventure to the task at hand! Being able to participate as a Brilliant Books Monthly selector is one of my favorite aspects of being a bookseller in the modern age of bookstores." Learn more about Jodie's years as a bookseller.
Peter: I pick most of the non-fiction books every month, which is probably the most fulfilling aspect of bookselling. I have been the non-fiction selector for some years, so I am particularly familiar with the reading tastes of many of our subscribers. It makes going through publishers catalogs a special treat as I will often come across a fabulous book that I know a bunch of folks will be enjoying in a few months' time.
The challenge comes when a subscriber wants something in an area unfamiliar to me, or who has a very specific taste. Getting to research those titles is an immensely fulfilling task, made even better when the delighted and surprised reader lets us know that what I sent was apparently perfect. There’s an extraordinary satisfaction in knowing that a person on the other side of the country who I will never likely meet is reading and thoroughly enjoying a book because of my endeavors. Nothing beats that.
Caitlin: "I do all the selections for our new audiobook subscription. On the one hand, it's a natural fit for me because almost all the books I read are audio. I usually get through several of them a week, and I love being able to read so widely. On the other hand, it's a bit of a challenge because unlike most of our booksellers, the people I select for aren't based on interest, but on medium. It means I get to pick books in all kinds of genres, and I've found it's really stretched my own reading habits.
"I try to get a sense of the things my subscribers would like, so I'm always jotting down titles and authors to look into. That's another aspect that's different for me. In addition to reading books and reviews, I also try to always check the audiobook previews. Most of my subscribers have particular preferences about the sound of the books they're interested in, which can be a particular challenge. One listener's idea of a "harsh" voice might be completely different from another's but the learning process is always fun. To go from picking that first book, which is a bit of a shot in the dark, to getting emails each month saying my picks were perfect—well, it's definitely a great feeling." Learn more about Caitlin's role at the store.
Want to know what our booksellers would choose for you? Start your Brilliant Books Monthly subscription today!