A Shipment

A physical subscription service that mails out items selected by influential contributors of their choosing.

Just about everybody loves receiving physical mail that isn't junk mail. Even better is when it's an unexpected gift or a true surprise. That's the point behind the subscription service. They select influential bloggers/people that have agreed to partner with them to select and curate four packages to be mailed to subscribers a year. You can select multiple people to subscribe to, but each package costs $25 and you must already be subscribed to that person in order to receive the package. You will have no idea what'll be coming in the mail, but since the people all specialize in something or other (as per their blogs or thematic focus) - one can have a pretty good idea of the theme of the packages.

I've been a fan of Maria Popova's Brain Pickings, so I jumped at the chance to subscribe to her on Quarterly for a couple of shipments. I was able to document the two shipments that I received prior to ceasing my subscription, as I found that I far preferred being able to select my own ephemeral items. Popova is quite good at crafting packages, although what interests her may not always interest the subscriber. That's the inherent risk you run in these subscription-style mailings.

And here's the first package I received - #BPK02:

It came in a sturdy paper manila envelope, with ink rubberstamping on it - reminiscient of a Field Notes Brand package.

Radness, indeed.:

This was a piece of paper in a glassine envelope:

After slipping it out of the envelope, it turns out that it was an amazing folding postcard - seriously, this is just ludcriously well-designed (and impossible for my small brain to comphrend how exactly this works without taking it apart, which I definitely don't want to do) - look at how you can fold it and it zooms out, just like the flipbook and movie:

The final item in the package is a letter from Maria Popova explaining the package itself and why she chose what she did, and who made the items. A quick check on Amazon when I received the package showed the flipbook to be out of print, published in 1998. Quarterly must have bought up most of the remaining supply - it still doesn't appear to have returned to being in-print yet. If interested - you can track down a copy yourself by using its ISBN number (978-0716734413, link is to Amazon).

(Originally written 6-Jun-2013)