Looking for something new to read? Charlotte Harding may have found the subscription service for you.
Molly Masters describes receiving a subscription box in the most perfect way.
“I think there’s something really special about receiving one every month,” she smiles.
“It’s like a physical gift to yourself, and a lovely surprise as to what book and treats you’ll receive.”
Molly is the founder and director of Books That Matter a book subscription box service which sends out empowering and inspiring reads to women and girls.
Inside each beautifully designed box is a ‘book that matters’, and at least two gifts from independent creatives to support and provide a platform for the crafts of other women (or trans and non-binary persons) in business.
“This intersectional and supportive ethos is at the heart of what we do; and we also go further than other subscription boxes by providing an interactive blog post platform to guide readers through each month’s read, its themes and its authorship; and we are also working on a podcast which will feature exclusive author interviews,” she adds.
The business was started when Molly was in her second year at the University of Sussex, Brighton in 2017. She entered a start-up competition for young entrepreneurs ran by the Sussex Innovation Centre and won the first prize of £10,000, all while juggling two jobs, the business and writing her dissertation.
“This meant so very much to me as a working class student; I wouldn’t have had the means to begin the business otherwise,” she recalls.
“The company was born out of a love of literature and a faith in its ability to change the way we think and act.”
Molly’s interests at university, she says, were firmly rooted in female authors and their progress from the 18th century to the present day.
“But I was frustrated by the lack of female representation in publishing and research showed me just how difficult it is for women to be published, especially women of colour or women from minority backgrounds,” she explains.
“Additionally, when I talked to friends and family about the content of my seminars and about these fabulous women writers of inspiring backgrounds and stories, it shocked me to learn that people outside of higher education and the publishing/bookish sphere were not aware of them,
which was unfair.
“From this, the seeds of Books That Matter were sewn, as I wanted to create something to raise up the voices and work of literary women, and also help to provide an exciting way to access these books.”
But with many people using devices like Kindles to read e-books does Molly think there is still a place for hard copy books?
“I have a personal bias towards the physical book form, but that’s only a small percentage of the reason why I chose actual books over ebooks,” she reveals.
“According to studies done by places like Mintel, ebook sales are declining, and the physical book form is increasingly popular, and people tend to hold onto a physical book which has a sentimental value attached to it - say, if it helped them through a difficult time, or perhaps they learnt a lot from it and want to come back to their favourite quotations. “This is why I hold onto the many hundreds of books I have at home.”
Something that is very important to Molly and is integral to the make-up of the brand’s ethos is that it is about women supporting women.
“We work directly not only with female authors but also with creatives, too, so that the gifts provided in each box are not merely wholesale, manufactured goods, they are hand-crafted and hand-designed by an independent creative who we feature on our monthly ‘menu’ in the box to help support and provide a platform for their work,” she adds.
“Collaborating with female creatives is a key aspect of the company, and something we are really proud of.”
Looking ahead to future boxes Molly says people can expect not only books written by women but those by trans authors, non-binary persons, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Books that will expand your mind, make you think, make you questions, make you curious,” she reveals.
“Books that will discuss race, gender, politics, mental health, sexuliaty, idenity, world culture, relationship, history and much more.”
So to try something new and add to your ever increasing list of books to read why not make it a ‘book that matters’.
You can subscribe from one month, three months, six or 12 months. The boxes are £12 each and include one book and at least two gifts.
Once ordered, your box will arrive with you for the coming month that you’ve subscribed for. As a subscriber, you also have access to weekly blog posts and podcasts to help guide you through the reading of each book and to explore the reason why it was chosen as a ‘book that matters’.
For more information, visit www.booksthatmatter.org.uk