Is Usborne Books A Pyramid Scheme? No!

I’ve seen lots of people talking about Usborne books of late, and I’m connected with a few people on social media who have asked if I wanted to buy books and get involved, and it got me thinking “What is Usborne books about, and why are friends inviting me to a virtual event to buy books?” So I started to look into it a bit.

Honestly it was more out of curiosity than anything, because we are already avid book readers here with a huge collection of books, including some great bookstores close by. In fact, when the kids were little, I would always tell them that I was happy to buy them as many books as they wanted, but toys not so. Toys were always more carefully considered, but books were totally fine to ask for. I always hoped that the kids would enjoy books as much as I do, including the feeling of walking into a bookstore and seeing shelf upon shelf of potentially amazing reads. Even the smell of a bookshop is wonderful to me. But I digress.

Based on what I was seeing on social media my question “Is Usborne books an MLM?” was answered very quickly – indeed it is an MLM. Another question I had seen relating to this MLM was “Is Usborne books a pyramid scheme?”, and the answer to that question is a straightforward no. I’ll talk more about that later.

There are many more questions you may have about Usborne Books, and I’m glad you’re here doing some research. It’s always best to educate yourself about what you’re getting into when it comes to business, even when those opportunities may not seem huge to you.

Let’s dive straight into this Usborne Books review, where we’ll find out whether being an Usborne Books consultant is worth your time and effort. We will also answer the question ‘is Usborne Books a scam or legit’?

Usborne Books Review

Usborne Publishing, also known as Usborne Books, is a publishing house as well as a multi level marketing (MLM) company. In most MLMs, there are two main ways you can earn money:

  1. By selling a product that is not sold in retail stores. In order to obtain the product you must order through a consultant, or on a consultant’s website, and
  2. By receiving commissions from the sales of your downline (i.e. people you recruit into your network)

What this means is you need to able to sell products to people. If you genuinely want to be successful in a MLM company, you want to be recruiting new distributors who are also selling a lot of products. In the latter scenario, as well as selling products, you need to be able to sell the ‘lifestyle opportunity’ as well.

Some basic information about Usborne Books:

  • Website:
  • Founded by: Peter Usborne
  • In operation since: 1973
  • Availability: The UK, several countries in Europe, USA and Canada
  • Price to join: Begins at $25 USD
  • Recommended: Yes, but only if you love books, and have experience with the MLM model; or if you want discounts on the books

The company was founded in 1973, but the MLM part of the company, known as Usborne Books At Home, was created in 1981. This review relates to the Usborne Books At Home component.

My Usborne Books review will take you through the following sections:

  • What is Usborne Books and how does Usborne Books work?
  • How do you get paid with Usborne Books?
  • Is Usborne Books legit?

What is Usborne Books and how does Usborne Books Work?

Their product line is children’s books, from babies up to young adults.

Usborne Books Age Ranges

It turns out we actually have a few Usborne titles in our house and it made me nostalgic checking out some of these categories. We used to love reading “that’s not my …” series. We had a few of those.

Usborne Books Catalogue
You can buy Usborne books in many stores around the globe, but of course the piece we are interested in is the Usborne Books At Home piece. The ‘how do you make money with Usborne books’ bit.

To become an Usborne books consultant, you need to purchase a kit. There are two to choose from:

1. The New Consultant Mini Kit: $25 plus tax

Usborne Books Consultant Mini Kit

This kit includes:

  • 5 promotional mini books from various series for use as incentive
  • $15 Book Credit
  • 1 UBAM Catalogue and 5 Mini Catalogues
  • 6 Month E-Business Package
  • Branded Box (where available)

2. The New Consultant Kit $99 plus tax

Usborne Books Consultant Kit

This kit includes:

  • 10 popular titles plus 5 promotional mini books from various series for use as incentive
  • $30 Book Credit
  • 1 UBAM Catalogue and 5 Mini Catalogues
  • 6 Month E-Business Package
  • Branded Box (where available)

Additional catalogues can be purchased with both kits for $12 plus tax for a set of 10 catalogues.

After 6 months, you can retain your website for $8 per month.

The Usborne Books Compensation Plan

The business is designed to be run from your home. There is no inventory required. You earn commission (discounts) on every product you sell at retail or buy for personal use and sample.

Consultants earn a 25% commission on all retail sales. If you reach $1,000 in sales in a month, you’ll earn a 4% bonus on all your retail sales for that month. Here is the commission structure:

  • Home Shows, eShows and Facebook Parties: 25% commission
  • Web Sales: 25% commission
  • Book Fairs/Fundraisers: 17% or more commission
  • School and Library Sales: 17-20% commission

You can earn monthly cash sales bonuses according to your total sales each month for home party sales, web sales, direct sales, and sales to schools and libraries. Book fair sales are not eligible.

In addition to your commission and sales bonuses, if you become a Team Leader you receive 8.5% more on your personal sales and the sales of your team.

There are no sales quotas required. As far as MLMs go, that is a good sign. Most I am aware of require a certain number of sales or points to remain ‘active’ and therefore be paid.

Commissions are paid weekly by Direct Deposit every Wednesday.

Is Usborne Books A Scam or Legit? It’s LEGIT! But…

MLM is a legitimate business model and Usborne Books is no different. Whilst it isn’t for everyone, you can earn money. There is no income disclosure statement available on the website, and I have to say, that’s not a great sign.

However, Usborne Books has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at the time of writing and there were only 4 complaints on the site, that had all been responded to and closed out with the customers concerned.

There are quite a few pros with Usborne Books:

  • The start up cost is relatively low
  • The books are delightful and of high quality, and in my view are relatively easy to sell in comparison to other MLM products
  • Repeat customers are likely given the nature of the books and so many age groups catered for
  • 6 months free website hosting, and only small monthly fees after that
  • No minimum monthly requirements

The cons I can think of include:

  • Usborne books are available from stores
  • Books can easily be bought online (think Amazon and eBay) and in many stores, so the demand may not be there
  • Selling to family and friends is never a great look, and it can be hard to find people who want to host parties

It’s important to know a few statistics about MLMs. 

Jon Taylor PhD, in “The Case For (and Against) Multi-level Marketing” published by the FTC, researched MLMs and his research found:

  • In the first year of operation, a minimum of 50% of representatives drop-out.
  • After five years of operation, a minimum of 90% of representatives have left the company.
  • By year 10, only those at or near the top have not dropped out – approximately 95% of representatives have dropped out by then.

It is really important to note that whilst most people don’t make much money with MLMs, Usborne Books is not a scam, and it is definitely not a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme typically does not have a tangible products, and relies on the recruitment of others to make money. With Usborne Books, the emphasis is on selling books to retail customers.

If you love books, this might be something for you. As far as MLMs go, I reckon this one might be one that resonates with me most. Books are wonderful, and reading with my kids is such a special thing. I think there are many families who feel the same. And if you can earn a bit of extra income as a result without being out-of-pocket, then why not?!

Don’t want to sell to your friends and family?

I know that for many people, MLMs just don’t work because you don’t want to hassle your family and friends with products even if you think the products are great. It makes you uncomfortable – for good reason!

My preferred way to make money from home is via the affiliate marketing model. The basic premise with affiliate marketing Affiliate marketing - the best way to make money from homeis that you:

  1. Choose an interest
  2. Build a website
  3. Attract visitors to your website
  4. Earn revenue when they make purchases from your site (via affiliate links)

Once you have built your own niche website and learnt how to attract visitors (using free methods), you can repeat this with as many of your own websites as you like, with whatever products you like. Think of the potential right there.

One of the best things about it – you don’t need to sell anything to your friends and family!

You can easily build your own website that is uniquely yours that will grow with you. Your website could sell any books you like. In fact, you don’t even need to stick with just books. You could consider other educational toys for children, craft activities for children – anything you can think of.

Have you had any experience with Usborne Books or with other MLMs? What did you think?

If you have any comments or questions please leave them below, and I’m always happy to help you out.

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