02.27.2009

Science Fiction Book Club rocks!

The Science Fiction Book Club (SFBC) totally rocks!  I’ve been a member for years.  Each time I complete my commitment, I rejoin to take advantage of their bargains. Book clubs have a reputation for being overpriced, but the SFBC has a generous introductory offer and frequent bargains that definitely save you money.

I recently completed my commitment, so I rejoined the club and took advantage of their introductory offer again.  Here are the books that I ordered when I rejoined this time and their normal retail price:

  • The Marvel Encyclopedia ($40)
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed graphic novel ($16)
  • The DC Universe Encyclopedia, Updated and Expanded ($40)
  • Star Wars: Legacy of the Force – Revelation ($8 for the paperback, but the SFBC version is hardback)
  • Star Wars: Legacy of the Force – Invincible ($27)
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor ($27)

To purchase all of these books at full price would cost you $158 before sales tax.  Even if you got a 30% discount, which Borders and Barnes & Noble sometimes offer, you’d still pay $110 before sales tax.

I paid $18.70 for all six books (that includes shipping).  A savings of about $140 off retail price.  Not bad at all.

Now I’m sure you are wondering what the catch is.  There really isn’t a “catch”, just an obligation.  By joining the club, I’ve agreed to buy four more books from them over the course of the next two years.  That really isn’t a problem.  They are constantly adding interesting new books to their inventory, so selection isn’t an issue.  The price for those four books will be slightly higher than buying them in the bookstore (mainly because of shipping), but only a few dollars.  If you consider the $140 I saved through the introductory offer, the extra few dollars for the final four books is nothing.

Quick tip when taking advantage of the introductory offer… Review all the available books and note which ones interest you.  During the introductory offer, be sure to select the most expensive books that interest you as they are free.  For example, I got the DC Encyclopedia and Marvel Encyclopedia in my introductory offer (each retails for $40).  By selecting the expensive books that interest you, you get the best savings.

Not surprisingly, the SFBC will encourage you to buy other books from them.  They send you a monthly flier promoting the “book of the month”.  If you take no action, they’ll send you the “book of the month” and bill you for it.  To avoid that, all you do is go online once a month and decline the “book of the month” selection.  Even if you forget, they still send you the flier first and that will jog your memory to go online and decline the selection.

Something I consider a plus of the book club (but others might consider a negative) is that nearly all books are hardback.  So if a book is released to the bookstore as a paperback, it will be a hardback through the SFBC.  This is true even when there isn’t a hardback available through the bookstores.  For example, the book Star Wars: Legacy of the Force – Revelation was only offered as a paperback in stores.  However, by ordering it from the SFBC I got a hardback version.  Personally, I love that!  I’d much rather read a hardback than a paperback.  It’s worth noting that SFBC hardbacks are slightly smaller than normal hardbacks and don’t really hold much resale value at used bookstores.  As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care about that.  I tend to hang on to books and I don’t buy them with resale value in mind.

Just to clear up any doubt, this post is not a commercial.  The SFBC is not sponsoring my blog or giving me anything for writing this.  I just genuinely believe in the club.  By clicking here you can review their inventory and their introductory offer.

It’s well worth your time if you like to read!

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8 Responses to “Science Fiction Book Club rocks!”

  1. Erika Says:

    That’s a pretty sweet deal. Anything I can do to get more books in my son’s hands is worth the money. Thanks!

  2. Debi Says:

    I work at Barnes & Noble and get a 30% discount on books as a matter of course, but for science fiction, I generally find the Science Fiction Book Club to be far superior. Even while fulfilling your ‘obligation’ you can take advantage of ridiculous sales like ‘buy 2 get 1 free’ and they often reduce shipping, etc.

    So, yea. Another unpaid plug for SFBC — I <3 them.

    :-)

  3. N Stacey Says:

    I prefer to make my purchases from my local comic bookstore who provide excellent customer service.

  4. Siskoid Says:

    I was a member all through my teens, and consequently have a huge collection of hardcover sf and fantasy books. But that was in the days when paper was cheap enough that I didn’t feel the need to bow out and rejoin just for the starter deal.

  5. Voice of the Red Skull Says:

    I’ve had both eyeless sockets peeled on that book club for a while. Okay, so Red Skull admittedly has eyes – do you honestly expect honesty from Red Skull? Honestly!

    The Frank Herbert ‘Dune’ novels are there in hardcover. That makes Red Skull happy (whereas Brian Herbert books make Red Skull cry). ‘Lord of the Rings’ is there all in one book with – well – crappy cover art. There’s some others there, neat stuff, but I haven’t tried it. I guess even when something is a cheap hardcover, I remember I already own the cheap paperbacks. I admit the fondness for owning hardcovers, however.

    Which is easier to hold in hand and read, however? Mmmm? Which makes the Red Skull look more astute in his Library?

    The Red Skull now gives a special shout-out to daughter-Shag for her birthday today. Aiieeeee!

    Hey, I’m the Red Skull! It doesn’t sound like angels when I shout!

  6. Shag Says:

    Thanks for all the comments! It’s nice to know there are others out there that either enjoy the SFBC or are considering it.

  7. Mike Says:

    No, there’s no real “catch,” but the reason the SFBC can charge so much less than B&N is that the SFBC, like all book clubs, is essentially a reprint service. The books are generally smaller and made of lower quality than the regular trade editions you can buy in bookstores. Not true of all their books — I own a few honest-to-goodness trade editions, usually of oversized things, through the SFBC (of which I am a member). But, again, generally, the books are of lesser physical quality (the text is still the same, of course!) — and used bookstores will often not accept “book club editions” for their own resale needs.

    Just FYI.

  8. Mike Says:

    Duh. I just re-read your post. I see you already knew about the difference between trade and book club editions.

    Color me clueless. Sorry! :-)

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