GROLIER book club; I Learned my lesson.......

Jun 13, 2000 (Updated Nov 1, 2002)

The Bottom Line Some people have had bad experiences being billed for books they don't wish to keep. There are obligations to joining a club. Weigh out the benefits carefully before you decide.

When my first son was born, I tore those little things out of books in doctor's offices to start buying books from Grolier book clubs. I started with the Dr. Seuss club. I felt that EVERY good Mom should have Seuss books in their home. Well, now I have a whole collection; probably $250 worth at least, and we never read them. We read the majority of them one time as we opened the box every month, and that was it. Know what I realized? I don't LIKE Seuss books, and they did NOT seem to be "just the thing" to help my youngster learn to read as I thought they might. Most of them seemed nonsensical. There are very few of them that I really liked. The one that was our favorite was the one that most folks get free in the mail; The Foot Book. That one was really cute. My first son had that one completely memorized well before his 3rd birthday. I'd read it a certain way every time, with certain voice inflections, and if anyone else read it to him he'd tell them they were not in the right tune..... lol.

Next came the Disney series, again from the Grolier club. I thought these would definitely be better, because EVERYone loves Disney, right? Well, I found that we really didn't read those much either. And, they had a way of changing the stories and covers just as you get almost a full collection! That bugged me. They'd publish a new version of some of the stories. I don't just mean things like 101 Dalmations that has a standard then a movie version; I mean the original story! I canceled both these series, but not before spending a fortune on each one. *I am considering, however, contacting them for the newer titles that have been added since my club. What's really unusual is that children today don't really seem to get to know the older Disney stories. My last two children have hardly ever even watched the classic Disney films. But, they know Monster's Inc. and Lilo and Stitch, etc. so I am considering adding these titles.

Grolier books called me frequently with new offers. The original series I got from magazine offers. They advertise something like 8 books for $1.99 plus shipping and handling. Of course, that's a pretty good deal. After that, they are about the same price as you could get at Walmart, but you have to pay shipping and handling which is another five dollars or so.

The offers I got after that by phone call included a Steps to Reading and a Steps to Math series, and of course, being a good Mom, I bought both. ha ha

They are very redundant and not worth the money in my opinion. I don't think I've gotten past the K book yet, and my oldest is now almost eight years old. I don't even recall what the math books were. *UPDATE: Ok, I had to come back and update in order to be fair. My second child is in kindergarten this year and I have to say we're using the heck out of the Steps to Reading books. They ARE very redundant and pretty unrealistic story lines: Little A has a box {and so does little B-Z} and she/he walks around putting things that begin with that letter into his/her box. The children love the familiarity of the stories, and don't seem to realize that it's pretty strange that little A found an alligator and an astronaut and put them in her box. And just because she found it it's hers? lol--anyway.... ha. I have sent the books one at a time to the classroom and the teacher is using them with the whole class. They are fantastic books for pulling together different words that begin with each letter. So, I have to completely withdraw the previous comment on that series. The Steps to Math, however, I haven't hardly used yet but it's probably good to begin that series with a young child perhaps around age 3. I have one baby left so maybe I'll use that series after all. I noticed in the public library that there is ANOTHER series which covers vowel sounds, by the same author. I'll need to check into that.

I have gotten many other series offers, and they always come with some freebie "just for trying it out", after which I canceled. They can be quite persuasive on the phone. I finally got to where I'd just flat out decline, because I am not interested in the freebie just to have to cancel later on. And if you FORGET to cancel... oh goodness!

If you happen to misunderstand what is free and what is not, you'll be forever dunned and threatened by their company and their affiliates too. They suckered me into trying a Winnie the Pooh series, and I THOUGHT what I got was my free trial books, and I don't even remember the circumstances now, but I am STILL getting threat mail from them. I finally paid the $12 or whatever it was just to get them off my back.

Perhaps now they won't bother me anymore with new offers? lol

One thing to watch out for is the large sets like I mentioned above. What they do, which is nice if you like the set, is they will send you the entire package of books at one time and you make payments on it. This way you can be using the whole set and not be waiting on monthly shipments, and conserve shipping costs too. They probably allow you to preview the set for a certain length of time and if you decide you don't care for it you can return the entire box. Complete sets cost a lot of money so you have to consider carefully if you will get much use of them.

It is wonderful to have books in your home, but what I found was wonderful is Scholastic Book Clubs. They are the little order blanks you get from your child's day care or school. They are always age appropriate, and they have selections that will interest your child because they are very up to date on popular television and movie characters. They also have educational selections and themed packages. These books are generally lower priced than in stores, you do NOT pay shipping OR tax, and there is no minimum to buy. You simply look at an order blank each month and decide if you want anything or not. The only draw back to that is getting your hands on an order blank if your child is not IN daycare or school, but you can inquire with a school. *Or you can actually order online or begin to get the forms sent to your home if you might like to do that as a home schooler or group of some kind.

I think I'll do a separate Epinion on Scholastic and my experience with them. Stay tuned for that information! (please click on my profile to read more on that subject).

Thanks for reading! I hope this may have helped you make a purchasing decision, or not! lol

*This epinion has received a lot of recent attention so I wanted to take a moment to update it today. One thing that a recent Grolier customer pointed out is that you CAN find them online at surprisingly enough they have become partners with Scholastic books so when you go to the website you'll find it's actually scholastic. This bit of information was worth repeating : )

Thanks again for reading and for your comments! They are always appreciated!

*updated and embellished Nov. 1, 2002


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