Table of Contents
Communication tech has come a long way in recent years, and these days we can read great stories online with a quick search. At the end of the day, though, nothing beats the feeling of picking up and reading an honest-to-God physical book. But with prices rising, it’s getting to be more of a gamble to lay out our cash without having an idea of what we’re getting.
It’s especially hard during a pandemic, because you can’t skim pages at a bookstore without getting the stink-eye. If only there was a way to try out books in genres you’re into without having to buy them sight unseen. If that piques your interest, then keep reading this Literati review.
Literati is a subscription service that acts as a hybrid bookseller, curator, and book-club aggregator. Not only does it give kids and adults new books to try before they buy and access to a reading community, but it also works with charities to facilitate book donations and get quality reading material to people who otherwise can’t afford it.
In its five-year run, Literati’s work with such charities as Eat. Learn. Play., Starlight Children’s Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities has earned it features in such media outlets as The Oprah Magazine, USA Today, Forbes, and The Washington Post. It currently counts 83.1K followers on Instagram, 11.6K on Facebook and 5.7K on Twitter.
So, is this literary subscription service worth forking over your paper for? This Literati review will look at the company’s subscription plans, policies, customer feedback, and more to help you decide. Let’s get reading!
Overview of Literati
Though former Google employee Jessica Ewing originally moved to Austin, Texas, to become a writer, she ended up taking her career in another direction when she founded Literati in 2016.
Literati began as a children’s book service that allowed parents to sign up for a monthly subscription for $10 and receive a weekly delivery of five books tailored to their child’s age range, with a different theme each month. Children would have a week to read these titles, and then decide if there were any they wanted to keep.
Parents then had the option of buying the books their kids wanted to keep, and shipping back the remainder to Literati for free. The goal was to not only help nurture children’s love of reading, but also to help steer parents toward worthwhile titles and not have to buy blind when looking for a book that might appeal to their kids.
But Ewing wasn’t just looking to get inspiring books to kids whose parents could afford a monthly subscription: she also wanted to help provide the gift of reading to those who might not have access by encouraging subscribers to include books from their own homes that they no longer needed in their return boxes, so that they could be passed on to others.
With this easy donation system in place, Literati began to partner with several charities to distribute the books that had been gathered. The company even established its own streetside library box in its hometown to help introduce underprivileged local kids to books they might not have had access to otherwise.
In the past year, Literati expanded its service to include adults. For a monthly or annual subscription, readers can try out a new book every month chosen by one of 12 celebrity “Luminaries” (book club leaders) within over 26 different genres. Each Luminary leads their own community, and subscribers can choose which ones to follow.
And, if readers are feeling lonely during the pandemic and want to nerd out about the amazing books they’re reading, Literati has them covered there too. The Literati app lets members create discussion threads within the clubs they’re a part of, and even allows the Luminaries to host events like author Q&As.
Ewing’s goal with Literati is not only to promote under-appreciated authors, but also to shed light on that are brand-new to the industry. Being a writer herself, she knows how hard breaking into that world can be. But most importantly, she wants Literati to be the foremost network for people to find and discuss the literature they love.
Ready to learn more? Let’s really dig into the details with this Literati review, beginning with some of the highlights of this innovative service.
- Introduces members to new books and authors they’ve likely never heard of before
- Impactful selections curated by celebrities
- No obligation to purchase books received as part of subscription
- Subscribers can donate books to charity through the return system
- Free returns
- Fair subscription price
This service began with kids’ books, but if you’re a literature buff that’s probably not what you’re reading this Literati review for. So for our purposes, we’ll be spotlighting seven of the thirteen celebrity-headed Literati Book Clubs.
Literati Book Club Review
While the Kids Clubs subscriptions cost parents only $10/month, each adult Literati Book Club subscription is priced at $20/month, or an upfront annual payment of $240. To help you make an informed selection, this Literati review will look at some of the most popular clubs below.
Literati Book Club Underrated Stephen Curry Review
How many of us have watched Stephen Curry sinking 3s from the top of the key, and thought to ourselves, “Damn—I really wish I could discuss contemporary literature with that dude?” Well, with Literati, now you can make that dream a reality.
The Golden State Warriors superstar is not only a two-time NBA MVP and three-time champion as well as the face of several sporting goods brands, but he and his wife are also the founders of one of Literati’s charity partners, Eat. Learn. Play. So it should come as no surprise that Curry is one of the Luminaries that leads the service’s Book Clubs.
Curry is on the shorter and slimmer side compared to the giants he shares the court with, which made his rise through the ranks all the more difficult. This is the same kind of perseverance that he highlights in his reading recommendations for the Underrated Book Club, which focus on stories about underdogs who beat the odds and come out on top.
The stories that Curry selects also highlight diverse perspectives, with many of the authors hailing from minority groups that don’t often get a voice. Some of the club’s previous picks have been The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, Greyboy by Cole Brown, and Haben by Haben Girma.
Literati Book Club Fearless Malala Review
If you’re reading this Literati review you probably already know the name Malala. The youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate to date, Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist whose courageous blogging about her experiences under Taliban occupation—which included a ban on women attending school—resulted in an attempt on her life in 2012.
After surviving the assassination attempt, Malala has authored a bestselling memoir, been the subject of a major documentary feature, and remained a leading proponent for women’s right to quality education worldwide. Based on her background, it only makes sense that she would be the Luminary behind Literati’s Fearless Book Club.
This club highlights empowering stories about women around the world, exploring different cultural perspectives and featuring protagonists who battle against the prejudice and oppression that constrain them. Some of Malala’s previous picks have included Julia Cooke’s Come Fly the World, Wolfgang Bauer’s Stolen Girls, and Nadia Owosu’s Aftershocks.
Literati Book Club The Beach & Beyond Elin Hilderbrand Review
Although they’re ever-popular, “beach reads” have got a bad rep as fluffy filler reading. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with a good story that can momentarily transport you away from the pressures of everyday life. And no one knows the pleasures of these kinds of tales better than Nantucket writer Elin Hilderbrand.
A beach girl through and through, Elin has made a name for herself with a host of bestselling romances and murder mysteries. In her Book Club, The Beach & Beyond, she introduces readers to intelligent but grippingly dramatic stories that give escapism a good name, such as Georgia Clark’s It Had to Be You, Ellie Eaton’s The Divines, and Sloane Tanen’s There’s a Word for That.
So unroll that towel, slip on your shades, and settle in for an engrossing read.
Literati Book Club: Private Collection Susan Orlean Review
It’s not every author that gets to be played onscreen by Meryl Streep, but Susan Orlean can cross that one off her bucket list. A contributor to Vogue, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker, Orlean is also the author of the bestselling book The Orchid Thief, which was the basis for the Spike Jonze film Adaptation in which La Streep received an Oscar nom for her performance as Orlean.
In Orlean’s Private Collection Book Club, subscribers can encounter the kinds of stories that helped shape Susan’s lifelong love of language. Selected from the author’s personal library, the titles in the series include such acclaimed works as Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, News of the World by Paulette Jiles, and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.
So if you really love reading—like really, really love it—this is definitely the club to sign up for.
Literati Book Club: Audacious Book Club Roxane Gay Review
It’s all too easy to stay put within a certain kind of literature, endlessly reinforcing our own narrow tastes and avoiding anything that could really shake us up. But if you’re looking to discover new experiences and explore lives far different from anything you’ve known, then Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club is where you want to be.
Roxane’s an author, editor, and critic whose work has appeared in publications like McSweeney’s and Harper’s Bazaar, and she has even worked on Black Panther content for Marvel. In her club you’ll encounter bold, risk-taking authors who represent people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and other diverse groups.
Some of Roxane’s past curations include titles like The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade, Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia, and Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford.
Literati Book Club Reading With Richard Branson Review
What inspired the world’s leading entrepreneurs to build their globe-spanning corporate empires and change the way we live? With the Reading With Richard Book Club, you can discover some of the real-life stories and advice books that continue to influence billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
The books that Branson curates for his club spotlight bold personalities who fought against all odds to achieve their goals, as well as sharp thinkers who seek to cut through the malarkey of corporate groupthink and present clean, clear, simple rules for leadership and business success.
Previous selections for the club include Start With Why by Simon Sinek, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Originals by Adam Grant, and A Promised Land by some fellow named Barack Obama.
Literati Book Club The Call In Megan Rapinoe Review
They say “the pen is mightier than the sword,” but have you ever wanted to experience firsthand the kinds of books that can launch a thousand or more people into action? Books that confront readers with the injustices of the world and make them say, “Hey, I’m going to stop complaining and actually do something about this?”
Well, then The Call In Book Club is the place to be. This group is captained by soccer star Megan Rapinoe, captain of Team USA and an unflagging activist for women and LBGTQ+ rights. The stories she curates for her squad at Literati are about people that ask the tough questions and inspire action to create a more just and tolerant society.
Some of the previous reads she’s shared include Unbound by Tarana Burke, Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong, and Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. So if you’re looking to march down the field of oppression and kick that ball of prejudice right through the goalposts of injustice, then this is the team to join.
Who Is Literati For?
Literati is a fantastic resource for people who are looking to expand their reading horizons and encounter fictional and non-fictional stories that present different perspectives on the world. Many of the Book Clubs place a great emphasis on progressive and diverse viewpoints and inspirational stories of overcoming oppression, prejudice, and other forms of hardship.
That said, there are also plenty of lighter options on offer, including well-crafted page-turners, informative general-interest reading about hidden histories and fascinating subjects from around the world, and self-improvement texts that can provide readers with a different angle on their lives.
Literati Reviews: What Do Customers Think?
You would think that a company with so many Instagram followers would have reviews coming out its ears, but despite it having been around for five years now, this Literati review couldn’t find much customer feedback outside of the company website, where a total of 257 reviews produce an impressive score of 4.8/5 stars.
Those who have gone deep into the Book Clubs and left reviews on the site seem to really enjoy the experience of reading and sharing their insights with others. One said, “The packaging and the conversations about the books make you feel special. Just the way reading a good book should make you feel.”
Beyond the brand’s site, though, some customers have a different story to tell. The 45 reviews of Literati on the Better Business Bureau site result in a surprisingly low average of 1.62/5 stars. The complaints here all seem to stem from difficulties with understanding the pricing for subscriptions and the cancellation process.
That said, judging from Literati’s very patient responses to each of these complaints, it seems like the problem may lie less with the service and more with the customers’ comprehension. Some satisfied subscribers rallied to Literati’s defense:
“I came here out of curiosity and am SHOCKED to see so many negative reviews. I am a VERY HAPPY Literati customer. I don’t understand how they can afford to ship you books and give you a pre-paid shipping label to ship them back plus give you an adorable poster and other fun items every single month for only $9.99. This is an extremely impressive service.
“We’ve chosen to keep / buy many of the books they’ve sent and have also chosen to send many back. They have an extremely customer friendly and intuitive customer login section that tells you all the detail about your subscription and even lets you extend your delivery date by 2-3 days… And they’ve been flexible with me when I missed my return window once or twice.
“We’ve been happy customers for a year or so and don’t intend to cancel anytime soon. Great company and service!”
At Trustpilot, Literati pulls in 3.2/5 stars based on 12 reviews. Once again, there were some commenters who didn’t seem to understand how the service operates, but they were outweighed by parents who attest to how great Literati has been in helping spark their kids’ love of reading, as per below:
“Literati has been such a fun addition to our home! Even my reluctant reader (9 years old) is excited to read when the box arrives each month! It has been an awesome way to build our home library with some titles that this homeschool mama might not have naturally reached for! Totally recommend!”
There are some other reviewers who aren’t happy with the fact that you have to buy the books you like on top of the monthly subscription, but one must keep in mind that not only is this company taking the time and effort to help you find new books, they’re also providing books to kids who have difficulty accessing quality reading material.
Is Literati Worth It?
The Literati business model is good in theory, and has definitely proven itself in practice with the Kids Clubs. The curated collections allow readers to explore titles that they would normally miss, and the convenience of the subscription is hard to beat.
Additionally, the brand’s donation system is commendable. For all of these reasons and more, this Literati review believes that this company is one for devoted bookworms to check out.
Literati Promotions & Discounts
The only thing this Literati review found that can be considered a promotion is that you’ll get expedited shipping on your very first box. This means that you’ll receive your order in 2-3 business days, instead of 5-7 business days.
Where to Buy Literati
Being as it’s a subscription service, you can only sign up for Literati through the company itself. This can be done via either the brand website, or its mobile app.
Who owns Literati?
Literati is still owned and operated by its founder, Jessica Ewing. The service grew out of an earlier platform she had designed that was intended to connect aspiring authors with publishers and literary agents.
How many books come in a Literati box?
Kids Club members receive five themed books every month, while subscribers to the adult Book Clubs will receive one book per month. Both subscriptions also send extra goodies like artwork and small toys for the kids, while the adults get extra content related to their monthly read.
What is Literati’s Shipping Policy?
Literati currently ships exclusively to the US. Delivery times to the continental US typically take 5-7 business days, while customers in Hawaii and Alaska can expect their boxes to arrive in a month.
New subscribers will receive expedited shipping on their first order, with a delivery window of 2-3 business days.
If you miss the delivery of your box by a couple days, you can get in touch with customer service to ask for an extension on your return deadline. If your box doesn’t show up within three days after the appointed delivery period, you can contact customer service for help.
What is Literati’s Return Policy?
You can return any books you do not wish to keep from your subscription and not be charged for them, so long as you return them before the one-week deadline has passed. You can request extensions for your return, but if you have still not returned the books after that deadline you will be charged the purchase price for those titles.
That said, Literati does offer store credit for books you didn’t mean to keep, so long as they were delivered within 30 days of your request.
The return process is very simple:
- Pack just the book(s) (there’s no obligation to return any additional items) inside the box they came in
- If your box was damaged in initial transit, you can use your own box or envelope to send the book(s) back
- Secure the package with the tape provided in your Literati subscription box and slap on the pre-paid return label
- Send it on its way
How to Contact Literati
Got more questions after reading this Literati review? You can get in touch with the company’s customer service team via a few different methods:
- Phone: (833) 548-5683 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm CST)
- Email form on brand website
- Live chat through subscriber account on brand website
- Snail mail:
4509 Freidrich Lane, Suite 402
For other book subscription services, check out our 11 Best Book Subscription Box Brands review.
Or check one of our more recent articles: