Friday, December 24, 2010

Childrens Book Clubs - Buyer Beware, by Christina Harding

If you have looked at childrens book clubs, you've probably seen the great deals they offer, such as "Get 6 books for $2 plus a free gift!" Sounds great right? It depends. Keep reading to see if joining a club makes sense for you.

Book buying clubs have been around since the 1920's. They're nothing new, and many people are quite happy with their book clubs. If you're looking to build up your kid's home library, a book club may be a great way to get started. You can get quite a few books at a very small price, or even free, with their enticing introductory offers. But many times that's where the value stops with most children's reading clubs. Most buyers don't read past the great introductory offer and before they know it they've signed themselves up for one big headache. So buyer beware!

• Beware of the shipping charges!

Many book clubs offer you books at great prices only to charge extra "shipping and handling" charges. Make sure the club states what these charges are as some are simply called "undisclosed shipping and handling charges".

• Beware of the offers you must refuse!

Most clubs are set up so that after you receive your introductory offer they automatically ship you a new selection every month, whether you want it or not. It's your responsibility to refuse the offer in time or they ship the new book, charging you the shipping and handling charges. If you didn't decline the offer in time, you may also be stuck with the additional cost of shipping it back.

• Beware of the books you MUST purchase!

With most offers, you sign up knowing that you must purchase a certain number of books to fulfill the terms of your membership. What the clubs don't often tell you is that not every book qualifies under your membership terms, so you may not necessarily want a book that you must purchase to fulfill your membership obligation.

• Beware of the fine print!

All childrens book clubs reserve the right to change their policies and offers at any time - and they do! Make sure you read the fine print, the membership agreement and the terms of each offer carefully before you sign up.

Kristina Harding has reviews of three specific childrens book clubs and more short story fun on her site at Short-Story-Time.com

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