Large print books, for obvious reasons, can get rather expensive, which is not a small problem for book enthusiasts with impaired vision. More often than not, even online book stores do not offer their customary 30-40% discount on large print titles - usually it's 10% off or not even that much. Fortunately, not everything is as black as it seems: by joining a book club it is still possible to save substantial amounts even on large print books. The only question is: which book club to choose?
Basically, you have two choices: Doubleday Large Print and BOMC2.
Doubleday Large Print has been established to cater exclusively to people with less than stellar eyesight. The club relies on a tried and trusted operational procedure for book clubs: an enticing introductory offer is combined with an obligation to buy a certain amount of books within a certain amount of time at a discounted price, and spiced with an attractive catalog that helps the members wade through the myriad of reading choices. In this particular case you are offered 5 books for 50¢ each at the enrollment, but you need to agree to buy 4 more books at the club's discounted prices within the next two years. If this seems too good to be true, it's because it is. Well, sort of. Shipping charges need to be added to the equation and that deflates the magnificence of the deal to an extent. Still, you get first 5 large print books for just over $3 apiece, total, and that's hardly an offer you will find elsewhere.
Doubleday Large Print, for the most part, prints their own books, and this has several advantages. First, all books are printed in 16-point typeface, plus the spacing between words and lines, and the ink, have been deliberately chosen with reading comfort in mind.
The second advantage is selection of books. The majority of latest bestsellers are available at DLP as hardbound large print editions as soon as they've been published. The same, however, cannot be said for either brick-and-mortar or online book stores; they will have regular editions, this is never a problem, but: retailers depend on publishers to provide large print editions, and publishers don't always seem to find it in their interest to produce such an edition at all, while sometimes they print the softcover version only. So, this is a big advantage of Doubleday Large Print: they always have the latest stuff in large print, and you are sure to always get 30% discount on publisher's price - again, something you can't count on even with the largest online retailers.
Of course, latest bestsellers are not all you can find at Doubleday Large Print. There is plenty of older titles as well, mostly by major authors such as Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham etc. This is actually an additional perk of DLP membership; many of these books are often difficult to find elsewhere (the hardcover versions, anyway), and, what's more, they are often offered at bargain prices.
The other excellent source for large print books is BOMC2.
BOMC2 (or Book-of-the-Month Club 2, formerly known as Zooba Book Club) is a novel, subscription-based book service. It works like this: you compile a list of books you'd like to read (your Reading List), and the club sends you the top book from that list each month and charges you a $9.95 monthly fee, which includes shipping and handling costs. Additional books you buy are also $9.95 in most cases (some select titles are $12.95) and are also shipped to you free of charge.
$9.95 for a hardbound large print book, with free shipping, you will agree that this sounds like a great deal. But what about selection? Do they have as many large print books as DLP has? The answer is yes. They do, actually. BOMC2 and Doubleday Large Print are part of the same parent company, which in practice means that everything DLP has to offer is also available at BOMC2. For $9.95 per book. And with free shipping. Always.
So, which of these two book clubs should you choose? That, of course, depends on your preferences. If you're not into long-term relationships, then Doubleday Large Print might be a better choice. You can join the club, take care of the obligation immediately, and cancel. You'll wind up with nine books (5 introductory and 4 obligation books) for a total cost of about $80-100, depending on which books you choose and whether or not you take advantage of some money-saving concessions DLP offers. The procedure is repeatable, and many people do actually take advantage of it.
The cost of nine books at BOMC2 is in the same ballpark, so, savings-wise, for the first nine books, neither of the clubs holds a real advantage. However, if you don't like the join-swoop-up-the-books-cancel approach mentioned above (some people are not comfortable with it), and would prefer a more solid, long-term association, then BOMC2 might prove to be more to your liking. At Doubleday Large Print, most of the savings you'll make are due to the incredible introductory offer. Afterwards, you get 30% off on new titles, which is still better than what online stores usually offer, but not even close to BOMC2's fixed low price. Admittedly, DLP does carry plenty of older books at much lower prices, and they do often feature special offers, sales and discounts to encourage loyal members to stay loyal, but still - $9.95 per book, with freedom to order your books at a whim granted by the free shipping policy - just sounds better.
More information about the clubs introduced in this article can be found here:
- BOMC2 Book Club
- Doubleday Large Print