Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a book boyfriend. I knew it. You’ve all had one (or 10) at one time or another. A book boyfriend is a character that you wish you could be in a relationship with. Sometimes it’s the good guy and sometimes it’s the dark and broody complicated one. Either way, a book boyfriend gives comfort when the reality of your current dating scene is a little too depressing. We all know a book boyfriend never lets his girl down (at least once you know his whole storyline), and doesn’t change. He has the perfect hair swoosh, abs that don’t quit, and always knows the right thing to say. Now you can get a little bit of your favorite book boyfriends delivered to your door.
Anyone who knows me at all will have noticed by now my obsession with subscription boxes. It’s like a little present to yourself every month or every other month. There are a lot of different subscription boxes dedicated to showcasing our love of books and book things, but Bailey McGinnis had another idea.
“I get incredibly attached to characters that I connect with. There’s subscription boxes that focus on genres or on specific fandoms, but I hadn’t found one that fit my fangirl need to express my love for all the awesome characters out there!”
Bailey decided to start the Book Boyfriend box, a subscription box sent every other month, with her husband. It’s about the love we have for our favorite characters. The Boyfriend Box includes a recently released YA hardcover book with a book boyfriend along with a few other bookish goodies. The Book Boyfriend box is for all ages. “The only requirements are loving YA books and being a fangirl,” she said.
I had the opportunity to talk to Bailey about her inspiration and her favorite book boyfriends.
Who was your first book boyfriend? And who is your current obsession?
Peter Pan. My 6-year-old self was pretty certain that he going to come whisk me away to Neverland. Other memorable ones would be Peeta and Draco Malfoy, who introduced me into the worlds of fandom and shipping. I spent way too many hours watching Draco/Hermione ship fanvids on Youtube.
Current obsession is tough! Do I only have to pick one? I’m always obsessed with Peeta because I tell my husband that he is the Peeta to my Katniss. I also am crazy over Rhysand. I mean, who isn’t after A Court of Mist and Fury?
Who do you see as being your ideal customers? Is your box for all ages and people?
The only requirements are loving YA books and being a fangirl! While I’d say most of our subscribers are 18-30, I don’t think there is an age cap on enjoying a good YA book and bookish goodies. My husband and I regularly attend Comic Con, and I just love seeing the old ladies there, especially cosplaying! I think that’s awesome.
Timeless stories are just that. Timeless and ageless. It’s amazing how so many YA books, such as Harry Potter and Hunger Games, have fans of all shapes and sizes. I also love that the literary merit of YA has grown, and it’s being incorporated in classrooms and universities.
While our boxes are definitely female-oriented, we are interested in options for men as well. We’re thinking of doing one-time boxes for Valentine’s Day that you could give to your boyfriend or girlfriend. If there’s enough interest, we’d look more into a permanent option.
How do you choose which books to feature? What kind of stories are you looking for?
I personally read every book before they are featured. We receive ARCS of books soon to be released from the publishers, and I’m pretty picky about which books get chosen. What really wins me over is a good, strong character-driven story. Since the purpose of the book is not only to introduce readers to new books but also new characters, I want a book with interesting personalities!
Since I have a background in writing though, my opinion of a book tends to come not only from a reader’s perspective, but a writer’s one as well. I want to see good technical writing skills, awesome world building, and unique ideas.
Of course, since we’re the Book Boyfriend Box, we want all the books to have a swoon-worthy romantic subplot, a couple you can root for.
Basically, I just want to give our subscribers a book that is the full package!
What do you define as a fangirl?
A fangirl to me is any girl or woman who is enthusiastic over any character, story, or really any aspect of pop culture. And we need more of them! It wasn’t that long ago that you were immediately labeled as the strange or weird girl for liking books, comics, or video games. It’s awesome that it’s becoming more and more socially acceptable for people, especially women, to love those things and be loud and proud about it! It’s a great form of expression. Fangirls are fangirls because something resonates with them. You can tell a lot about a person from what characters and stories they connect to.
There are a ton of subscription boxes out there. What makes yours different from others?
A big difference is how character driven the boxes are. We truly want our subscribers to find new characters that they can connect to and love! For that reason, we pick items that we think anyone can enjoy, whether they are familiar with a certain book or not. A good example would be our debut box which was almost completely focused on Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. We know that not everyone who subscribes may have read those books so we included a candle, bookmark, and lip balm. All items that you could still love and enjoy!
Our hope is that even if you’re not familiar with the books and fandoms we include, we can still give you a product you enjoy and that will inspire you to start your journey into that particular fandom.
I also think our bi-monthly schedule is more cost friendly, which is always a plus! It’s not so often that you’re breaking the bank or that you have tons of books going unread, which was my experience with other subscription boxes. But it’s still often enough to get excited about it!
Do you guys theme your boxes or items each month?
We definitely do! The theme is announced on our social media pages and each box includes a sneak peek. The book being featured decides what our theme is going to be. Some months it might focus on a particular character/fandom while other months it’ll be more broad to include multiple characters from different books.
The December box theme is “Love Letters,” which Jane Austen fans are going to enjoy. The book is also super cool in how it’s written, super fun and witty, and reads like a Rainbow Rowell novel.
On the website, you talk about your entrance into the bookish side of the internet and your blog and Instagram. Do you still run them? What about them lead you to want to start a bookish business?
I do still run them, though I admit they’ve taken a back burner. You can find me at fictionalfox.com and on Instagram @fictionalfox.
So, a little background, I’ve always been an overachiever and on the entrepreneur side even as a little kid, putting on shows and setting up lemonade stands. Starting a business has always interested me, but even though I had ideas, nothing excited me enough to really go for it. As it happens, my husband has always wanted to run a small business as well.
After we had our first baby, I suffered from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. I love my baby of course, but I also was having such a hard time being at home all day and not having anywhere else to put my creative energy. That’s when I started book blogging/reviewing and getting into subscription boxes as a subscriber.
It was awesome to enter into this community where people loved the same things as I did. From there I saw other artists, writers, and entrepreneurs not only being successful, but doing it by sharing the things they loved! I saw it and went well I could do that. I still wasn’t sure what exactly what I’d do, but I knew that I could, which was huge for me at the time with everything else going on.
I cannot wait until my box arrives. As Bailey said December’s theme is Love Letters and should be full of things your Jane Austen fangirl heart desires. They feature a number of different payment plans to keep cost low for you and give yourself a little present. December boxes went on sale and you don’t want to miss out. You can subscribe online at BookBoyfriendBox.com
Literally, Darling readers get 10% off with the coupon code LITERALLY10.