Letters Bookshop Sidecar Book Subscription Review

While I love my local public library, the combination of a local bookstore + monthly book subscription + surprise book picks won me over and I recently signed up for Sidecar Book Subscription by Letters Bookshop. Now after three months of having the subscription, I’m sitting down to write this review post! Spoiler alert–I love it and renewed my subscription already.

If you’re not local to the Triangle or not yet familiar, Letters Bookshop is an independent bookstore located in downtown Durham that sells both new and used books. Since their relocation to Main Street, they have launched a monthly book subscription called Sidecar.


With the Sidecar Subscription, you get two books each month for $30 plus tax (comes out to be $32.25) which includes free domestic shipping (though I think they might do local drop-offs as well close to downtown Durham?!). One of the two books will be new and the other will be a used book.

You sign up for the Sidecar Subscription by filling out a Google form where you can share your reading preferences in terms of genres/authors as well as your favorite books. You also get to pick if you want just fiction, just nonfiction, or a mix of both. Based on the information you fill out, Letters will select two books for you each month! How fun is that?!?!?

When you sign up, you have a choice between 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. I initially signed up for the 3 month subscription to see how I like the book picks before committing to a longer term subscription. The shorter terms also allow you to take a breather between subscriptions so you don’t get overwhelmed with too many new books being added to your TBR list.


  • Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada
    • Genre: Dystopian Fiction
    • Goodreads Rating: 3.59 stars
    • My Rating: 3.5 stars. Read my review here.
    • New paperback
  • Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhta
    • Genre: Memoir-esque Fiction
    • Goodreads Rating: 4.17 stars
    • My Rating: 4.25 stars. Read my review here.
    • Gently used hardcover
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
    • Genre: YA Fantasy
    • Goodreads Rating: 3.82 stars
    • My Rating: 3.75 stars. Read my review here.
    • Gently used hardcover
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
    • Genre: Historical Fiction
    • Goodreads Rating: 4.14 stars
    • My Rating: TBR
    • New paperback
  • These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
    • Genre: Historical/Contemporary Fiction
    • Goodreads Rating: 3.69 stars
    • My Rating: 4.25 stars. Read my review here.
    • New paperback
  • Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
    • Genre: YA Fantasy
    • Goodreads Rating: 4.12 stars
    • My Rating: TBR
    • Gently used hardcover


Long story short, I am loving the Sidecar Book Subscription! Of course, I always love shopping small and local but Letters has done a superb job with Sidecar. The personalized selection of books customized based on your preferences is so thoughtful and not something you see a lot with larger book subscription companies. Two of my subscription boxes came with a handwritten note which made me SO happy (and I obviously kept them).

As an indecisive person, I really appreciate the books being picked out for me! The element of surprise with each shipment has been something to look forward to, and I’ve been having fun opening the package each month. So far, the books I’ve gotten (and have actually read) have been solid 4 stars on average, which I think is pretty good. The used books I’ve received so far have been in almost perfect condition with very minor flaws. None of them have been super old either (almost all of them released within the last two, three years) so if that’s a concern you have, I wouldn’t worry too much!

If you have been wanting to try a book subscription service for a while, I definitely recommend trying Sidecar with Letters Bookshop! You can also gift Sidecar subscription, and I can’t think of a better gift idea than a book subscription for book lovers.

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