I often have mixed feelings about the sheer amount of stuff my daughter has acquired in just two short years, but there's one purchase I never, ever feel guilty about: books. Reading offers so many benefits to kids, from strengthening the parent/child bond to enhancing language development, that storybooks automatically justify the amount of money I spend on them and the space they take up in my tiny apartment. And adding to these shelves just got easier, as Amazon is launching a kids' book subscription service.
Currently available for Prime members, the Prime Book Box sends kids' titles to your door at one-, two-, or three-month intervals. Each box has either four board books for little ones under 2, or two hardcovers for readers age 3 to 12. And the cost is $23 per box; the site estimates that you're getting 35 percent off the list price that way. (Yet another reason to feel less guilty about my lazy online shopping habit.)
The site's editors decide which titles to send out, with customer reviews factoring into the mix, which is perfect if you want a set-it-and-forget-it book service to fill in the gaps between trips to your local library and bookstores. You just enter in your kids' ages and preferences, and they do the rest of the work, uncovering a mix of new titles and perennial favorites. (Surprises are the best!) You just have to open the box and start reaping the aforementioned benefits of reading to your kids. And for me, reading with my daughter is the easiest parenting advice to follow because it's actually fun! (This is why my kid loves words but isn't potty trained yet.)
If you want to be a bit more hands-on in the selection process, you can always sign on before the box ships out and make some swaps. It might be a smart idea: It's a good way to make sure that you're not going to get a book that Grandma and Grandpa already bought for you. The service is smart enough to know which titles you've purchased from them, and it won't repeat anything you already have in your order history, but it still might duplicate a book you've gotten elsewhere. If one slips through the cracks, though, you can return a book from your Prime Book Box within 30 days. Or, if you're going to be traveling or you're not yet sick of all the stories you have on-hand, you can also skip a box.