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How do book clubs work?
You are offered a deal up front — the popular Doubleday Book Club, for example, offers five hardcover bestsellers for a total of 99 cents plus shipping — when you agree to purchase a specified number of books with a certain amount of time, typically a year or two.

Which are the most popular book clubs?
That depends on what you like to read! The largest book club is Doubleday, which specializes in popular fiction, followed the Literary Guild, Crossings Christian Book Club and Book-of-the-Month Club. In recent years, many specialty clubs such as the History Book Club and the Mystery Guild, have been growing in popularity..

Don't clubs make you return a card if you don't want the "featured" selection?
Many do. But rather than having to mail back a postcard to decline the featured selection, you usually notify the club via your online account. Other sites offer subscriptions in which they send you a book — usually as part of a series or from a specific genre — each month.

Are club editions different from other books?
They're the same books that you'd find in a bookstore — same words, same covers, same authors, although in some cases they may be printed on less expensive paper. They also might say Book Club Edition on the inside flap. In other instances, such as with some children's book clubs, they are special editions not available in stores.

Are club books less expensive?
In most cases, they're much less expensive than the publisher's suggested price for a book, a.k.a. the list price. Of course, no one pays that; most online bookstores such as Amazon offer discounts of up to 40 percent on bestsellers. Still, the clubs are able to offer better prices than booksellers because they cut their own deals with publishers, and print their own editions. In many cases, they pay a smaller royalty to the author and/or publisher. The author and publisher bank on the fact that the clubs will sell hundreds of thousands of copies. They figure they'll make up in volume what they lose in percentage.

Which book clubs are the best deal?
If you are looking strictly for bestsellers, either Doubleday Book Club. The standard requirement among the major clubs is typically four books in two years, although some specialty clubs require you to purchase fewer. If you like audio books, the Audible Book Club allows you to create an account and download your first two books free.

Why haven't I received my order?
If it's been more than four weeks since you joined the club, contact Customer Service.

How do I contact Customer Service?
Each club has a customer service department that can assist you with finding lost orders, returning damaged or unwanted books, changing your address and other questions. When you contact a club, always provide your membership number, if you have one, for a faster response. Contact information is listed with each club profile but you can contact any of the Bookspan clubs by writing Member Service Center, P.O. Box 916400, Rantoul, IL 61866-6400.

Why don't the clubs have the book I want?
The clubs offer hundreds of titles in a variety of genres, including most current bestsellers, but they only stock titles on which they've made a deal with the publisher to do a Club Edition. However, they typically have many of the most popular books available — they're selecting titles that they feel will have the broadest appeal. The Internet has made it possible to choose any book the club offers rather than simply the 100 or 200 titles featured in its monthly print catalog. The clubs also have used the Internet to help members make selections with author interviews, reviews and excerpts. If the clubs don't carry a book you want, you may be able to find it at an online bookstore such as Amazon or through a secondhand bookseller. To find coupons for online bookstores, visit Deal Dude.

How long does it take for my order to arrive?
Your introductory offer can take up to four weeks to arrive, although some clubs offer express shipping for an additional charge. Member orders usually take a week to 10 days to arrive.

Will the clubs sell my name and address?
Unless you tell them not to, the clubs will sell your information to other companies to solicit you with similar offers. You can tell the clubs not to sell your name and address by contacting Customer Service. Most clubs also have privacy policies posted on their sites that explain exactly how they'll use your membership information.

Can I join if I'm not a U.S. resident?
Residents of Canada should visit our list of book clubs in Canada. Residents of the United Kingdom should visit our list of book clubs in the U.K..

Why happens if I change my mind?
Most clubs allow you to return any book within seven or 10 days. They usually even pay the return postage.

Is it safe to give my credit card number?
This is a common concern. Many of the clubs require that you provide a credit card number when you join to pay for the cost of their introductory offer; they won't charge you again until you order additional books. Those that ask for a credit card provide encryption security that keeps your card and personal information safe in transit to their computers. In the unlikely event your card number is stolen, the Fair Credit Billing Act allows credit card companies to hold you responsible only for up to $50 in fraudulent charges as long as you notify them in writing within 60 days of the date the bill was mailed. Visa and MasterCard waive liability no matter how much time has elapsed. The advantage of using your credit card, if that option is offered, is that your books usually arrive faster.

How much is shipping?
Most clubs charge $3 or $4 for the first book and $1 or $2 for each additional item in the same order. Others charge $3 or $4 per shipment. Each profile includes information about standard shipping charges. Some clubs offer express shipping for an additional fee (generally about $5 per order).

How much is sales tax?
Every club charges sales tax in many or most states, with the exception of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon, which don't have sales taxes. In some cases the clubs also are required to collect tax on handling charges.

Can I join more than one club?
The clubs don't appear to mind, as long as you pay your bills. They do have a problem if you join, take your free books and then don't make the minimum required purchase.

Can I give a club membership as a gift?
Unfortunately, with most clubs there isn't a way to have selections and catalogs sent to one address but billed to another. However, a few clubs allow you to send books to family or friends. Some children's clubs select a book each month based on the child's age and interests.

How do I cancel my membership?
Usually this can done online, once you've fulfilled their required purchases, by logging into your account. Or you may want to notify the club by mail. Be sure to include your account number.

How do I get the clubs to carry my book?
The clubs don't carry self-published books. If a major publisher is behind your book, your agent or the publisher should contact the clubs directly.

I have another question.
Your best bet is to contact the Customer Service department of the book club that you have joined (see "How to Contact Customer Service," above, for information on how to get ahold of each book club). For general questions about this site, email the webmaster at feedback [at] this domain. Don't send questions to this address about missing books, orders or payments, or requests to cancel a membership. Unfortunately we can't help with that.


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