Last year, I wrote about spending $250 on the Five Books, Five Authors Subscription from 826National.
Here's what you get: a new book, every month for five months, starting in January, signed by the author.
It was such a joy for the first few months of the year to see that package from 826 in my mailbox--and then to read its contents--that I was legitimately bummed out when I realized in May that I wouldn't be getting any more.
Last year, I paid $250 for it. This year, the price has dropped to $200, but supply is very limited. I'm not sure how many they offered last year, but this year there are only ten available. I bought one immediately when I heard about it, and then there were nine. This was a couple of days ago, but as far as I can tell, at time of writing you can still get yours here.
A note on the price: remember that these books are signed. Some people would pay $50 for Judd Apatow's autograph on a napkin. Subscribe to Five Books, Five Authors, and you get the autograph with a great book behind it. More importantly, this goes to support this fantastic organization and all of its affiliates.
A note on 826 National: this is a wonderful organization doing wonderful work for students around the country. They have affiliates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ann Arbor, DC, New York City, Seattle, and Boston.
Ever since the time I first learned about 826 (when I saw Dave Eggers's excellent speech at the TED Conference about founding 826 Valencia), I've had a dream of opening one. In fact, I've seen storefronts in every city in which I've lived that I've thought would be perfect 826 locations. I've dreamed of 826Charlottesville, 826NOLA, and 826Richmond, so far; and the next time I move to another city, I'll probably dream of an 826 there, too.
Maybe someday I'll actually get to do it. In the meantime, I've got to find other ways to support this organization and the great work they do. Five Books, Five Authors is a great way to do it, but there are lots of other ways, too. You can find something else you like in their store, or just make a donation.
Email from 826 confirms:
"Yep, we still have a few more and would love to sell out during the holiday season."