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Powell’s Books Indiespensable Subscription Review – Vol. 58

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Powell’s Books Indiespensable is a book subscription box that ships every 6 weeks. So many readers recommended this box that I had to sign up!

FYI – this subscription is currently sold out, but they open it up every month or so. (If you want an email alert when the waitlist opens, you can sign up for the news alerts at the bottom of this post!)

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).


The Subscription Box: Powell’s Books Indiespensable

The Cost: $39.95 a shipment (every 6 weeks)

The Products: Exclusive books and extras

Ships to: Worldwide

Check out all of my Powell’s Indiespensable reviews and all of our Book Subscription Box reviews!


The box comes with a little booklet that details the items in the box, why they were chosen, and includes additional exclusives, like an interview with author:



Now time for the actual book:




A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin – Retail Value for just the hardcover (not the case) is $28

Book Summary from Amazon:

Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there—and the rival he meets alongside her—will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.

Spanning seven decades as it moves from California to Princeton to the Midwest to New York,A Doubter’s Almanac tells the story of a family as it explores the way ambition lives alongside destructiveness, obsession alongside torment, love alongside grief. It is a story of how the flame of genius both lights and scorches every generation it touches. Graced by stunning prose and brilliant storytelling, A Doubter’s Almanac is a surprising, suspenseful, and deeply moving novel, a major work by a writer who has been hailed as “the most mature and accomplished novelist of his generation.”

The value for the hardcover I listed is based on the hardcover copy alone, not including the exclusive slipcase. It also doesn’t factor in that this is a signed first edition:



And every Indiespensable box also comes with an extra – sometimes it is food, sometimes it is Powell’s related. This month it is:


Powells Mathematics Nalgene Bottle – Value $12


I have someone in mind who will love this – it should be a perfect gift!

Verdict: I’m always a little disappointed when this subscription only sends one book – it makes the box feel a little light in value. And it seems like Powell’s no longer does the exclusive book printing with the exclusive book cover, but now it is just the cover plus a signed first edition. Still awesome – but I preferred the original way. I think A Doubter’s Almanac sounds interesting, and I’m excited to read it, so no real complaints here – I’m not cancelling this subscription anytime soon!

What do you think of Powell’s Books Indiespensable Vol. 58?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. This box box doesn’t tempt me to sign up as past ones have (thought I’ve always missed the boat at sign up time). However, the book sounds good and I have requested it from my library. Thanks for the review.

  2. I actually really like that they don’t seem to be doing more exclusive printings. As far as value goes, a true signed first edition is more exciting than a book club edition, if I’m not mistaken?

    I was excited about the Nalgene bottle at first but oh boy am I not a math person, so the joke falls flat with me. I maybe sound super dumb right now, but I don’t get any part of it! Haha.

    I’m excited to read the book, though! I love supporting a great bookstore so even if every month isn’t a win for me, I am happy to subscribe. I also sub to Book of the Month, so between the two I think I get a good balance.

  3. Pretty disappointed this month. The book isn’t worth a $40 price tag, even signed and a $12 water bottle doesn’t make up for it. I’ve been disappointed with the last 2 out of 3 boxes. They need to step up their game or cancelling. The Strand in NY has a similar box, signed editions with same price point and curious if its better than Powells?

    • Oh, I didn’t know The Strand had a box. I like how they have a genre choice. I’m not yet subscribed to Powell’s. There have been a few times I really liked the box and a few I wasn’t that enthusiastic about, like this one. I already subscribe to BOTM and Muse Monthly. I’m keeping my eye on Cozy Reader, Powell’s, and now The Strand. I like how Powell’s and the Strand have signed first editions. I was unhappy to find BOTM now has some of their books with BOTM logo. These editions are smaller and cheaply printed.

      • Work in a rare book store and BOTM books are collected & can be worth some money. When they were the original BOTM some of their books are collected by rare dealers & collectors. They only print so many and if it becomes a popular book, and its a select printing solely for BOTM, collectors want them. What makes a book “important” for future collection, is its difference than the mass market options.

  4. I think I need this water bottle for my daughter – she’d love the math references

    • The one we got had famous philosophers on it, not math – it’s still red in color though. So there is at least one variation of this item. Did anyone get something else (a third variation)?

      • Who were they, if you don’t mind my asking?

  5. This was shipped to me on the 22nd…no update on tracking since the 25th…does everyone else deal with loooooooooooooong shipping times with Indiespensable? So frustrating.

    • They do ship slow. Live in Oregon, not far from Portland, and it takes about a week for it to arrive.

    • It’s not just you, unfortunately. They use UPS Mail Innovations, which is like…the slowest shipping service I’ve ever found. My heart always sinks when I get a tracking number from any company and see they’ve used UPSMI to send, ’cause then I know it’ll take at least a week, if not longer. I guess with this service UPS hands off the packages to USPS for mailing, but even if you shipped basic first class with USPS you’d get your package faster! So it seems having the middle man is what make things soooooo slooooow.

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