I have an addiction to books - I love books, all kinds of books - and I have a massive collection. many of these Folio editions, which are some of my most prized possessions!
The Folio Society is a publisher which produces beautiful editions of some of the worlds best loved books. Their editions are beautifully bound and illustrated and highly collectable. They have been publishing books since it was founded in 1947 by Charles Ede and they are still going strong today, producing high quality, beautiful and suberbly illustrated books.
Purchasing books from the Folio Society requires a membership, which requires you to purchase a certain amount of books within a year. I normally shy away from these sorts of book clubs, the Folio Society however is an exception for me. I have only been a member for a year, but it was well worth it. I would advise you however to make sure you can afford and are able to adhere to the subscription policies before you are tempted to sign up and take advantage of their fantastic offers and beautiful books.
Which brings me to the special offers - the Folio Society nearly always have an amazing deal on through which you can get half price or even completely free books. How is it free I hear you say if you have to buy so many books a year? Well if like me you collect books anyway and spend a considerable of your annual income on books - then yes - these things are indeed free. For example, if you join Folio Society at the minute, you can purchase The Complete Pictoral Guides by A. Wainwright for the bargain price of £19.95 rather than £159.90 - and yes it does really cost that much usually! AND you also get the beautiful leatherbound Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus for free (usually £59.95 to buy)! This is just one of a range of new member offers you can choose from - so you can certainly see why this is so tempting.
But dont fret - although the books in the offer are highly priced normally, not all Folio Society books are so expensive. They're books start from around £11 all the way up to the hundreds, depending on what your purchasing. So it wont cost you hundreds of pounds to be a member for a year. These special offers arent just available for new members either - there are always freebies and offers for existing members.
Their service is absolutely brilliant and I am always excited to recieve my orders from them. I would highly recommend them to any book collector, or anyone who just enjoys to have nice editions of their favourite books! Without a doubt one of the best publishers out there - especially today where so many books are printed cheaply and look horrible!
My most recent 'home' purchase has been a massive bookcase where my squashed and boxed books can now reside in comfort and ease. Many of these are Folio books, which i purchased during approximately three years of Folio membership. My interests, apart from reading and collecting, are History and art, so the Folio society was an ideal way to collect beautiful works on both topics. I am also very keen on something for nothing and the Folio Society provided me with some fantastic free books and even sets , some for joining and others just for expressing an interest. I would agree that you should hold out for the best of these enticements to join, as the offers do often get more generous the longer you delay. I think it is also important to check that you can fulfill the order quota for the year before joining and not end up picking anything in order to make up numbers. One way of doing this , however, can kill two birds with one stone, as many of the books will make lovely(and quite personal if you choose carefully) christmas or birthday presents for family or friends. Another idea is to split the order with a like-minded book enthusiast and then you only have half the number of choices and half the expense. The only drawback that i have experienced is that the books can seem too nice to spoil by the rough treatment of reading! I certainly wouldn't lend them to people who like to read in the bath... There is also a limited issuing of new editions so don't expect to see hundreds of different titles in each new prospectus. Some titles, eg. 'Goodbye to All That', 'Chronicles of Narnia' have been on the list for years and probably will be for ever! This also makes the likelihood of many of the titles being rare collectors items in the future seem rather small. I would not advise anyone to buy Folio books as an investment - buy them because you want a lovely copy of your favourite book. Despite this predominantl
y positive feedback i have to admit that i am not currently a member of Folio, due to rather straightened financial circumstances. They did continue to send me information when my membership lapsed but this was not intrusive and i am still interested to know what new editions have been produced. Free books are tempting, but this society is not for people on a tight budget or those looking for an easy read for the train or the latest in new fiction. The books are unusual, beautiful but a lot more expensive than your 'buy any five for a pound' bookclubs - but Penny Vincenzi and Joanna Trollope paperbacks won't last as long or look as good in your front room!
I don't disagree with the comments in this section about the quality of the Folio Societies book, but consider the following. 1 Book clubs are in the business of making money by targetted marketing. Folio does it by small volume with high margin. The postage is always outrageous. Don't forget that book clubs will get a postal discount because of the way they despatch so much material, so there is a double profit for them. 2.The offers are great, but you usually end up paying at least £80 to buy the minimum quantity for a year's membership. Most book are over £20. 3.Before you get involved, ask the question 'do they really supply books that I want?' Many of their books are classics rather than contemporary, and some of them are definitely on the obscure side. If this is what you want then great. 4.Am I actually going to find enough to complete my contracted minimum purchase? Look at the prospectus really carefully. I found myself scratching around for something to buy, and some of the things I wanted were out of stock. 5.Am I going to be able to get rid of them at the end? They are persistent, and three years after leaving I am still on their mailing list, and have not been tempted again. 6. Are they really an investment? Yes, they are beautiful books well put together with wonderful slip cases. But they are not antiques or collectors items, and they are mass produced for collectors of books. In second hand shops they sell at a premium price, but I don't know what the market for selling is like. 7. Quite frankly the best way to aquire cheap books is at boot sales. Many people do not love their books, and will sell them in boot sales for a few pennies. Much more fun.
I have been a member of several book clubs and joined Folio purely on the grounds of their 'special offer, introduction' I should warn you that their books are not cheap. The average price is around £20. But it is not quite as bad, or expensive as you may imagine. Firstly the books are really good quality. When you open them they lay flat, the spine is stitched correctly, the paper quality is good and so are the bindings. Secondly, from November to January you get colourful 'blurb' describing the next seasons offers. As long as you resist the first few brochures that land on your doorstep, the offers get better and better. So that in the end you commit to buying four books in the year, but get at least six free. This brings the price down to about £10 per book, which is manageable given the quality. The other advantage is, that if you ever want to sell your books, they actually go UP! in value. Unlike any other books that you buy, you can actually make a profit! The downside is that this club concentrates its efforts on non-fiction, historical and 'traditional authors'. But, if you like these type of books, the quality iss so good that you should at least try it once. You can even get a book for free and send the rest back, without having to pay anything but the postage.