Shelf Improvement FAQs

Shelf Improvement - what you need to know

What is Shelf Improvement?

Shelf Improvement is a monthly books subscription service from the Guardian Bookshop. Available for three to six months, with a choice of fiction, non-fiction or mixed packages, Shelf Improvement will breathe new life into your bookshelves and is the perfect Christmas gift for the bibliophile in your life.

What do I get?

Subscribers will receive a beautifully gift wrapped hardback book in the post each month. Our team of in-house experts will select newly published books, from the hottest debut fiction to must-read popular science depending on the type of package you choose. The first package will include a personalised message, along with some goodies, including a bookmark and a badge.

How does it work?

• Step 1: Select your package
• Step 2: Add to your basket and complete your order, using your own address
• Step 3: Fill in the details of the recipient following the link in your order confirmation
• Step 4: Download (and print) the gift certificate
• Step 5: Sit back and wait for your first book to be delivered

Can I buy a subscription as a gift?

Absolutely. Once you have completed your order, you will see a link on the order confirmation page and in your order confirmation email which will allow you to fill in the details of the intended recipient. You, the purchaser, will then be sent a gift card in the post and you will also be able to download and print a gift certificate (ideal for those last minute gift purchases!).

Can you send books abroad?

Yes. However, there will be an additional postage charge for international deliveries.

Can I order over the phone?

Yes, just call 0330 333 6846. Lines are open 9am - 5.30pm Monday-Saturday except for Public Holidays.

Can I cancel my subscription?

Like most subscriptions, cancellation partway through is not permitted. However, you will have 14 days after receipt of your gift card to cancel and receive a full refund. Any other cancellations will be discretionary, so please do get in touch with us if you need to cancel and we can make an assessment based on your individual circumstances.

When will you send my books?

All books will be sent out on the 15th of each month. They are sent using a priority service and should be expected to arrive within 2-4 working days. Orders placed before the 7th of each month will receive their first book in the same month. Those orders placed after the 8th of the month will receive their first package in the following calendar month.

Can I change the delivery address for my subscription?

Yes. Just get in touch with us and we can update the details on your subscription to reflect your new address.

What happens if I don't like one of the books I receive, or have already read it?

We hope you will love all of the books you receive and we will endeavour to send out recent releases to reduce the likelihood of you already having read one of our choices. However, you might receive something you've read before or feel is of no interest to you. To help with this, we offer one 'no quibble' return per subscription. Simply email us at or call us on 0330 333 6846 to arrange to return your book to us and have an alternative sent out.

Can I pay monthly?

No. Your initial payment covers the complete cost of your package for the duration of your subscription.

Is there an additional charge for postage?

UK mainland postage is included in the cost of your subscription package. There will be an additional charge for international delivery, which will be added at the checkout stage.

What happens if I don't receive my books?

If you haven't received your book by the 22nd day of the month, please contact us and we will arrange for a replacement to be sent as soon as possible.

Can I choose when my subscription starts?

Not at the moment. All orders placed on or before the 7th day of the month will receive their first book in the same month. Any orders placed on or after the 8th day of the month will see their subscriptions activated the following month.

Will my books be personalised/can I choose them myself?

No. The Shelf Improvement team will choose your book each month, based on our industry knowledge. Each book will be recently published and in hardback format.

I have a query. How do I get in touch?

Simply contact us or call us on 0330 333 6846 (lines are open 9am - 5.30pm Monday-Saturday except for Public Holidays).