Frequently Asked Questions
Q: HOW MUCH IS A SUBSCRIPTION?
A: Month-to-Month subscription, where you are charged on the first of every month, is $39.99 USD plus shipping & handling. A 3-month prepay subscription is $116.97 USD plus shipping & handling. A 6-month subscription is $227.94 USD plus shipping & handling.
Q: WHEN DO SUBSCRIPTIONS RENEW?
A: Subscriptions renew on the 1st of every month. You will receive an email 2 days before renewal as a reminder. If for some reason you need this date changed for personal reasons please email email@example.com.
Q: WILL THERE BE A SINGLE PURCHASE OFFER?
A: There will be a limited number of single purchase boxes available each month if subscriptions don’t use up our entire quota. We recommend signing up for a subscription instead in order to get a better rate, though! You are able to skip months where you are not interested in a particular theme. While logged in, please visit your subscription management page to get set up! Month-to-month subscribers can do this themselves while logged in, and 3 or 6 month subscribers can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will change it manually for you.
Q: CAN WE GET OUR CRATE SHIPPED IN A PLAIN BOX?
A: We've got you covered! If you would rather have a plain white box for discretion, please select "discreet" on the subscription page.
Q: CAN I SKIP A BOX?
A: Yes, you can skip any box except your first one. If you are month to month you can log into your account and skip at any time before the 1st of the month you want to skip. If you have a milti-month subscription and want to skip a month please email email@example.com with the name on your account, your email, and the month you’d like to skip.
Q: CAN WE RESTART A CANCELED SUBSCRIPTION?
A: Absolutely! You can do this from your account preferences after you log in. Note that if you re-start a canceled subscription after we are already sold out for a specific month, your subscription will be moved to the next month. If you’re not sure whether this has happened, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to restart a sub for a specific box, you can email us ahead of time, or you can do it as soon as a new box goes on sale. We recommend that, instead of canceling a subscription, you just skip boxes you’re not interested in or unable to afford the charge for. This can be done any time from your account. While this does mean you have to remember to skip every month if you can’t receive boxes for a long time, it does always save a box for you, and you’ll automatically get boxes that you don’t manually skip. There’s no chance of missing out on any particular box if your situation changes.
Note: We do not process refunds if you forget to skip or cancel your subscription on time. You have a month between when we announce the theme and renewals process for each box, and we also send reminder emails a few days before renewals process. We know that things happen, but we cannot afford to process refunds as this actually costs us a fee from the payment processors, which is why we give you so much time and also send reminder emails. Please understand our position on this, and note that it is a standard practice for subscription boxes. There are many aftermarket places such as ebay, Mercari, Depop, and Bookish B/S/T Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook where you can likely easily sell or trade your accidental box.
Q: IS THIS SUBSCRIPTION IN US CURRENCY?
A: Yes, the price is in US currency.
Q: WHAT IS THE SHIPPING COST TO…?
Our shipping rates are changing beginning with the May 2022 crates! This is effective for all May crate subscription renewals and any subscriptions that begin with the May 2022 crates:
USA: dropping from $11 to $10
FRANCE: dropping from $26 to $16
CANADA: dropping from $19 to $17
GERMANY, ISRAEL, SWEDEN, CHILE: dropping from $26 to $20
THE UK (VAT included): dropping from $30 to $22
SWITZERLAND: dropping from $26 to $22
ITALY: dropping from $26 to $25
BRAZIL: increasing from $26 to $30
EVERYONE ELSE: staying the same at $26
Customers are responsible for any customs fees imposed on import.
Here are our Shipping & Handling rates for any subscription boxes shipping through April 30, 2022:
US – $11
Canada – $19 (customer is responsible for any customs fees imposed on import)
UK- $30 (VAT is included in cost, customer is responsible for any additional customs fees imposed on import)
EU – $26 (customer is responsible for any customs and VAT fees imposed on import)
All other – $26 (customer is responsible for any customs fees imposed on import)
Q: WILL THERE BE CUSTOMS CHARGES AND/OR DUTIES?
A: We can’t say for sure, and this is up to the laws of the country you live in. Customers are responsible for paying any duties or customs fees for their packages. If you are unsure, please check with your country’s policies on assessing duties or fees. While we desperately wish that the world was one big country as far as shipping is concerned, sadly we don’t have any control over the policies set by governments. We are but two people doing our best to help everyone love queer books a little more. Your boxes will be shipped from the US. If your package is returned to us for unpaid customs or duties fees, it is not our responsibility and we cannot issue refunds for that. We can reship the package to you, however it will be at your own expense. We thank you for your understanding.
Q: WHEN DO BOXES SHIP?
A: Boxes ship by the end of each month unless there are shipping delays. Shipping delays will be communicated as they occur.
Q: MY BOX GOT RETURNED TO SENDER, CAN YOU RESEND IT?
A: That depends on the reason it was returned to sender. If it was an error on our end (we mistyped the address, forgot the apt number etc) we will reship the box to you at no cost.
If it was returned to sender because you forgot to update your address or input your address wrong you will need to pay for the shipping in order for it to be sent again.
Q: WHEN IS THE TRACKING SENT OUT VS WHEN THEY ACTUALLY SHIP?
A: Labels are generally pulled up to a week before we ship. We do this because it is easier to already have the labels pulled beforehand so they can just be slapped on the boxes as they are packed and dropped at the post office.
Q: MY TRACKING HASN’T UPDATED IN X AMOUNT OF TIME. WHAT IS WRONG?
A: There are a few reasons tracking might not have been updated. The first being that we do pull labels a little earlier than we ship. This goes for boxes and shop orders. Logistically it is easier to have the labels on hand when packing. Since Danielle isn’t at the packing center she has to pull the labels and send them over to the shipping center before the orders can be packed. The shipping labels alerts our packer that they have an order to fulfil and they do it as soon as they are able. Sometimes there is a few days delay from pulling the label and it being packed and dropped at the post office.
We do work out of a very small town, and therefore a small postal office. When we do huge drops, like the monthly boxes, sometimes it takes a few days for them to scan through all of them. Sometimes they don’t get scanned at that particular post office and get scanned a few days later at another post office. Sometimes they don’t get scanned at all and just show up at your door. Sadly, once they’re handed over to the post office we don’t have control how often or when they are scanned.
International packages can go long periods of time without being scanned. This is usually due to customs taking longer than normal. Sometimes the company handling the delivery in your country isn’t required to scan the package once they receive it.
Q: I THINK MY PACKAGE GOT LOST IN THE MAIL, CAN YOU SEND ME ANOTHER?
A: If we have extras we will gladly send a replacement. If we do not we will issue a refund. However, there are a few steps that need to be taken before we will send a replacement. If you think your package has been lost you need to contact USPS and file a claim with USPS first. They are liable for any packages lost. We always ship with packages insured by USPS.
With delays due to COVID-19 we ask that you be patient. Sometimes a package hasn’t been scanned for a week or two because of worker shortages and other delays in USPS. More times than not, the package finds its way to you. We know it is hard waiting for a package when you are anxiously awaiting it, but please be patient.
If you have contacted USPS and they have told you the package is lost then please contact us. We will send a replacement and help you with the claim as needed.
DAMAGES TO ITEMS AND BOOKS, REFUNDS, ETC
Q: CAN I GET A REFUND IF…?
A: All Sales are Final. We do not process refunds if you accidentally purchase a box, decide you do not want a box after purchasing, orforget to skip or cancel your subscription on time, or the box is returned to sender. You have a month between when we announce the theme and renewals process for each box, and we also send reminder emails a few days before renewals process. We know that things happen, but we cannot afford to process refunds as this actually costs us a fee from the payment processors, which is why we give you so much time and also send reminder emails. Please understand our position on this, and note that it is a standard practice for subscription boxes. There are many aftermarket places such as ebay, Mercari, Depop, and Bookish B/S/T Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook where you can likely easily sell or trade your box.
Q: MY BOOK AND/OR ITEM ARRIVED DAMAGED, CAN I GET A REPLACEMENT?
A: If you receive a product that is damaged please contact us at email@example.com with a detailed description of the damage and photo(s) of the damage.
If an item has slight cosmetic damage that does not impede the use, the item will not be refunded or exchanged.
If a book has slight damage, such scuffs, slight bending of the edges, slightly crinkled dust jackets or anything that can be considered normal wear and tear, the book will not be refunded or exchanged.
However, if a book or item arrives damaged to a degree that we deem truly damaged we will send you a new copy/item free of shipping & handling charges. Rainbow Crate is still not liable for any fees accumulated due to customs, duties, or VAT, etc.
ITEMS AND BOOKS IN THE BOX
Q: DO YOU SUPPORT PROBLEMATIC AUTHORS? / WILL YOU MAKE ITEMS INSPIRED BY THEIR BOOKS?
A: We do our best to stay aware of what is going on in the book community, and want Rainbow Crate to remain a safe space. We plan our boxes up to six months ahead of time, so there may be times when something happens too late for us to cancel an item, but we absolutely do our very very best to keep abreast in a fast-changing climate. We believe in learning and allowing room for growth when authors make mistakes, but there are some authors we have come to the conclusion Rainbow Crate will never support. That list, as of August 2021 includes: JK Rowling, Cassandra Clare, André Aciman, Meredith Russo, Jay Kristoff, Emily Duncan, Rory Powers, Christine Lynn Herman, Claire Wenze, and Bridget Collins.
If you are worried about a particular author because of something that has happened please feel free to send us the information at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will review and make a decision.
Q: WILL YOU BE DOING ANY EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL EDITIONS? WHY CAN’T YOU DO SPECIAL EDITIONS YET?
A: The short answer: yes, eventually.
The long answer: Most publishers require a certain amount of copies to be purchased in order for any customizations to be done by the publisher. We aren’t quite there, but are getting closer. We are working with some publishers for exclusive editions to potentially be featured in 2022.
Q: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BOOKS?
A: We have a small team of volunteers who help read through every book each month. They help us narrow down the large amount of books coming out each month to the best ones. Then Jamie and Danielle read the remaining books and pick the one we feel works best that month after a lot of discussion and consideration.
Q: PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER?
A: Most included books will be hardcover. If they’re being released in hardcover, then we will have it in hardcover. Sometimes, queer books (like Red, White, & Royal Blue), are only released in paperback, and we might include them in the box, but more than likely as a second book (most likely this would mean less items in that particular box, though, as books are very expensive). If we fall in love with a book and it is paperback we may include a paperback as the book of the month but we will make sure we announce it as a paperback.
Q: WHY DO YOU ONLY DO HARDCOVER AND/OR NEW RELEASES?
A: We only do new releases because it is less likely that someone already owns that book. If we include an older book there is a chance that a large amount of people will already own a copy.
We tend to only do hardcover because most new releases are released in hardcover. Outside of that, paperback books cost as much as hardcover books. So unless we just fall in love with a paperback release only book, we prefer to choose hardcover books because they are more sturdy.
The main, physical book in Rainbow Crate will almost always be a new release published in the US within 90 days of delivery (either direction), and it will not be a sequel. In most cases, it will be from the month our box ships in.
Q: HOW DO WE PREVENT GETTING DOUBLE COPIES OF A BOOK WE ALREADY HAVE?
A: We always announce our book(s) along with our theme reveal, so you’ll know which book you are getting! However, if you somehow do end up with a second copy, queer books make great gifts! Your money directly supports authors writing inclusive queer books, and a small business run by queer people, so it’s still a win-win!
Q: WILL YOU ANNOUNCE WHAT THE BOOK’S REPRESENTATION IS BEFOREHAND?
A: Yes! We are also including content warnings, if applicable, for most common objectionable content. We want you to know what you’re getting into so that you can decide for yourself whether this book might be something you would want to read. If you have further questions, ask us! We have read all of the books in our box, including the fandoms as well, so we can answer any questions you have.
Q: WHAT TYPES OF ITEMS ARE YOU PLANNING TO FEATURE?
A: A whole array of items! We are big fans of usable items, and this includes anything, really, from kitchen stuff to wearables to decor. We aren’t creating a box full of paper items, and unless it’s something really interesting, you can expect the fandoms we announce to be major pieces. We aren’t ever including any edibles aside from coffee or tea, and those would be something extra, not one of the fandom items we announce with the theme. Same with candles. We loooooooooooove candles, but we plan for the main items to be permanent collectibles, and any included candles would be considered “extra items.”
Q: WHY CAN’T YOU DO CERTAIN ITEMS YET?
A: Sometimes it depends on the cost. We have a budget we have to stick to every month in order to keep the box profitable to grow. We pride ourselves on funding the box solely on sales and not on loans or credit cards. Sometimes an item is just too expensive and we have to find something similar or just as good. Occasionally one or two items are under budget and we reroute that money into a more expensive item (booksleeves, tumblers, etc).
Sometimes we can’t meet the minimum order requirement (MOQ) set by the vendor. Similar to the special editions books, sometimes a vendor requires a certain amount of items to be ordered in order to have them customized for us.
Sometimes it’s shipping restrictions. Some things just simply can’t be shipped internationally. If we can’t ship it internationally, we can’t include it in the box.
Some items we personally don’t want to include for different reasons. We won’t do any edibles because we don’t know every subscriber’s allergies and it isn’t fair to send something that someone can’t eat. Same with scented items. Some people are sensitive to scents so we don’t like to include an item someone can’t enjoy because of that reason. We also tend to avoid one time use or disposable items. We want our product to be lasting so we try to make items that will stick around. Sometimes we will include items that will eventually run out over time (notebooks, pencil, etc) but it’s usually rare.
Q: DO YOU OFFER BOOK-ONLY SUBSCRIPTIONS?
A: Right now, we are only offering the full crate, which comes with a book and items. We do not have any plans for having a book-only box in the forseeable future.
Q: WILL YOU SOMETIMES DO BOXES THAT FOCUS SOLELY ON DIFFERENT GROUPS WITHIN THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY?
A: We try to include as many different kinds of representation as we are able in each box, however we have done boxes that focus more on one representation than another (the Ace box in February 2021 being the first). We plan to include others in the future as well, particularly for less commonly-featured identities!
Q: I SAW XXX ITEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA, DO YOU HAVE EXTRAS I CAN PURCHASE?
We do not remake items, so once they are sold out, they’re out for good. However, some things are too recent to be posted. Monthly box extra items/full boxes are usually posted in the shop about 1.5-2 months after the boxes ship.
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BOX
Q: WHAT WAS THE PROCESS BEHIND RAINBOW CRATE’S CREATION?
A: A looooooooooot of bouncing ideas back and forth and back and forth! We started by reading all of the queer books releasing in June that we could get our hands on. This was a lot of books (not that we’re complaining! But we probably will not have the time to read everything every month going forward). We actually had three books that we thought would be good possibilities, and we talked about it a lot. We bounced around theme ideas until one just sort of clicked, and BOOM! We had a theme and a book, and it was time to pick fandoms that matched! We ended up going with some pretty mainstream fandoms because this is our first box and we wanted as wide appeal as we could get, but we’ve been secretly keeping a list of every time someone mentions a fandom they’d like to see on our social media. We hope to have a mix of big and more obscure fandoms in each box from July onward.
The design was actually pretty hard! The budget is really, really tight to make a book box. $39.99 might sound like a lot, but it isn’t. We have had to swap out a few of the items we wanted for something else, and it was hard. We wanted custom boxes printed, but they cost A LOT, and we decided that we would rather put that money toward items, and we hope you agree! In the future, with enough subscribers, we hope to be able to order boxes in huge quantities though, and that will make the cost do-able. Anyways, the design for most of the items was done in-house by us. They’re pretty, though. Really, really nice. It was a penny-pinching game to see how many big items we could get, and we did pretty well if we say so ourselves (umm, hope you like them!).
Q: WILL THERE BE A PHOTO CHALLENGE FOR EVERY BOX?
A: Yes! There will be a photo challenge for every box. It will be included in the box and on social media!