When will my subscription begin?

With the next month's book. If you would like your subscription to begin with the current month or with a later month's book (to coincide with a birthday, for instance), please let us know.

Which months will my every-other-month subscription (e.g. the SIX Plan) cover?

That's up to you. We'll assume that you'd like your subscription to start the following month (for example, all subscriptions during December would start in January, followed by books in March, May, July, September, and November), but if you have another preference, let us know. We could probably even accommodate spacing the books in your subscription differently than every other month (say, for a family that was going to be away all summer), but that'd be pretty complicated so we're not going to go out of our way to encourage it.

If I make a gift subscription, how will the recipient be notified?

If you mark your subscription as a gift in the order process, we will contact you to ask how you would like to present the gift. Each subscriber receives a welcome card and letter explaining the program, and you can choose to have us mail the card to the recipient or mail it to you to present to them yourself. (The recipient won't by notified by us until they have received the welcome card.) Of course, if you subscribe in person at Phinney Books, we'll just sort it out right there.

Can I include more than one child in a single subscription?

Sure, as long as they share the same address. Just put all of their first names in the "First Name" field in the subscription form. If they don't share a last name, or if the names just don't fit in our form for some other reason, just let us know and we'll happily sort it out.

What happens if you send a book the subscriber already has, or is pretty sure they won't like?

Up to three times a year, for TWELVE Plan subscribers, subscribers can let us know that they'd like to return that month's book. We'll send a postage-paid sticker to return the book to us, and we'll extend their subscription a month. SIX Plan subscribers may return one book a year.

What if a subscriber changes his or her address?

Please let us know at in time for the next month's delivery. If you know ahead of time that a subscriber will have a different address for part of the year, let us know in advance and we'll make a note of it.

Can I cancel my subscription?

You can cancel your subscription at any time, and we'll refund the balance for the books that haven't been sent yet.

Will subscriptions be automatically renewed?

No, they won't. Towards the end of a subscription we'll ask the person who purchased it if they'd like to renew. We might ask more than once, but we'll try not to be a pain.

Can I subscribe for more than a year?

Thanks for your faith in us! (Will the world as we know it even exist a year from now?) At this point, we only offer one-year subscriptions.

Can I subscribe from anywhere in the world?

Standard Phinney by Post Kids subscriptions can only be sent to domestic US and APO/FPO/DPO addresses, but we have added an option for Canadian subscribers that includes a $5 shipping surcharge per book. (Choose "Shipping to Canada" as the shipping option when ordering your plan.) If you would like to have a subscription mailed somewhere else in the world, contact us at and we'll look into the feasibility and surcharges required.

How will the books be shipped?

US subscribers will receive their books via USPS Media Mail. Delivery times won't be guaranteed, but will likely be in the first week of each month.

Can subscribers pick up the books at Phinney Books instead of having them shipped?

Certainly. If you choose "In-store Pickup" as the shipping option during checkout, you'll save $40/year for the TWELVE Plan and $20/year for the SIX Plan. The books will be available for pickup in the store on the first day of each month.

Will the subscribers receive anything else?

We include a short card along with each book has a little bit to say about the book, the authors, or the time of year.

How do I know if the kids will like the books you choose?

We don't know. It's impossible to say! You can get some idea of the sorts of books we like from the description on the main Phinney by Post Kids page, and from the Phinney Books weekly newsletter as well. We try to choose books with a broad appeal, but it's inevitable that the books we love won't always be loved by everyone who gets them. If a subscriber is very dissatisfied with a selection, they can return it to us and have an extra month added to their subscription—just email us at for further details.

I'd like to get a subscription for a child who is only interested in books about trucks [or princesses, dinosaurs, puppies, Abraham Lincoln, rockets, Watergate, or other common obsessions]. Can you tailor the books you send for the interests of each child?

We don't provide custom subscriptions: every Kids subscriber will receive the same book as all the others each month. If a child has no interest in other subjects this may not be the right gift for him or her, but we also know that kids change quite a bit at this age and might respond differently (and more openly) to a book that arrives by surprise rather than one that they have chosen themselves or that has been chosen for them by a horrible person such as their parent.

Similarly, we don't provide separate subscriptions for "boy" or "girl" interests. Some of our individual choices might fall more into one traditional category or the other, but we'll aim for a variety during the year, and for books that upend such categories. One nice thing about discovering books with kids at this age is that their interests and identifications are often surprising and ever-changing.

What's the best age for a Phinney by Post Kids subscription?

Our subscribers are mostly between zero and five years old. (We know enough adult fans of great picture books that we won't be surprised if we get a few grown-ups too.) We aim for books that might appeal across that range, and we try not to choose books that would only appeal to the youngest members of that set. Those younger subscribers might too young to fully appreciate some of the books they'll receive, but they'll be building a library they'll soon grow into.

Why do all the materials related to Phinney by Post and Phinney by Post Kids look so good?

That's because they have been designed, and in some cases printed, by Elinor Nissley at Krank Press in Los Angeles. Thank you, Elinor!

Can we get in touch with you with questions or suggestions or comments?

Please do: we're at and 206-297-2665 (the main store number). Although we take advantage of some of the efficiencies of the internet (and of the still-marvelous U.S. Postal Service), we are not a fully, or even mostly, automated service. We'll be happy to respond to any question you have, both before you subscribe and after. We'll also love to hear what you think about the service, and about the books we choose.