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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

This Irish book subscription box will help you sort your next great summer read


By Sarah Finnan
23rd Jul 2023

@reesewitherspoon

This Irish book subscription box will help you sort your next great summer read

A Waterford-based subscription box that delivers a new book to your door every month, The Book Resort is a great way to beat the boredom.

Set up by Waterford woman Aisling Finn, the idea came to her after realising that the Irish market was sadly lacking such a service. 

Combining two of her greatest loves – literature and chocolate – into one neat little package, each box also includes a variety of products by local artisans/traders/craftsmen. 

I spoke to Aisling about how she finds new products to include, what genres she caters to and who her own favourite authors are.

Tell me a bit about you/your background
I was born in Waterford and I worked in a number of roles including sales/customer service before studying IT.  I then moved into the e-commerce side of IT which I loved as this was a fast-growing area and I knew there was massive potential there. People were slowly starting to accept the idea of buying online – it was very much the “new normal” for the younger generation especially. I really enjoy working in e-commerce! I find it fascinating and I’m so happy to be in the middle of it.

How did you come up with the idea?
I had subscribed to subscription boxes in the UK previously but the shipping costs were extortionate and I couldn’t find anything similar in Ireland. I had one of those lightbulb moments where I thought, ‘Why don’t I do it?’. It was as simple as that. I was looking for something that wasn’t there and I wondered if maybe other people in Ireland would like it too.

How does the subscription work?
A customer signs up on the website and chooses whatever genre they like most. Their subscription box is then shipped directly to them on the first of every month. Our standard subscription box has a new book, a big bar of chocolate and a little surprise. If it’s a gift, we’ll also pop a card into the box with a handwritten message from the customer sending it. All of our suppliers are Irish – even our boxes are made in Ireland – and we use DPD couriers, so the majority of our customers will receive their subscription boxes the next working day.

How do you find new Irish suppliers to showcase?
At the start, I visited markets and trade shows. During lockdown, I did a lot of online searching and utilised social media – I spent hours and hours on Instagram! Now, we’re back to trade shows and getting out and meeting people again, which is brilliant. I still search social media frequently enough though as not everyone is at a trade show or can be found on Google.  It can take time to find suppliers, so you do need patience. Even when I was sourcing boxes, there were samples coming to the house for six months before I found one I was happy with.

Would you brand yourselves as a “self-care” service?
We’re a little bit of magic in a box, so we’re definitely a treat from you, to you. Customers also frequently send our boxes to friends/family to let them know they are thinking of them if they need a little bit of love or self-care.

Did you notice an uptake in interest at the onset of the pandemic?
Absolutely, our growth accelerated during the pandemic. I remember at first it was stable, if a bit wobbly, and then as people started shopping online, it took off. It was during Covid that I began renovating our premises and taking on staff. I spent a huge amount of time on social media too, talking to people and engaging and interacting to build our online community.

It’s the people that make the business what it is though. I have so many people to be thankful for. I’ve learned that community, support and collaboration are so important to be successful – a team can achieve so much more than an individual can.

What kind of genres do you stock?
We accommodate all fiction genres, including Bestsellers, Literary, Thriller, Fantasy, Irish Author, Action, Horror, Romance/Chick Lit. Our most popular genres would be Bestsellers and Romance.

Who are some of your own favourite Irish authors?
Megan Nolan who wrote Acts of Desperation is an excellent author – I can’t wait to read her latest book, Ordinary Human Failings and see what else she brings out in the coming years. C.S. Lewis, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, is another author I love – I read and re-read his books so many times growing up. Patricia Scanlan is also a longtime favourite of mine, I used to borrow her books from the school library.

Standard monthly subscriptions for The Book Resort start at €34.95. Feature image via @reesewitherspoon.