“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”
—George R. R. Martin
There are a lot of reasons to create a club. Maybe you just want to socialize more and make new friends. Or maybe you have some reading goals to reach this year. The reason for creating your book club will determine the club’s purpose which then might determine how it’s run.
Step 1: Decide the Purpose of Your Book Club and its Name
For instance, if you are making a book club for purely social reasons, then you might decide on fun books and a meeting place that facilitates chatting and hanging out. But if the purpose of the club is more academic, then you’ll choose heavier books and put more time and effort into creating a group discussion plan.
It is also helpful to put a name to your book club so that you can easily refer to the club using a name. It doesn’t have to be anything too clever. You could simply call it Jane’s Book Club if your name is Jane. Or you could have a brainstorming session with the group and then vote on the most popular name idea.
Step 2: Decide Who You’re Inviting
The ideal number of members in a book club ranges between 8 and 16 members. You want enough people to create interesting group discussions, but not so many people that the group gets out of hand.
If you are unsure about who to invite, then you can simply invite 2 to 3 people and have them each invite their own 2 to 3 people. That way you’ll have a diverse group.
You can also post flyers around your community with the details of your first meeting if you want to gather a completely new group. This can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Then you can hold your meetings in public places where everyone can easily meet together regardless of their schedules.
Step 3: Decide on a Meeting Place
When scheduling your book club meet-ups you’ll need to decide on where and when. There are several options available to you for where you and your fellow group members could meet. Where and when you decide will mostly depend on the availability and preferences of your group members.
You could meet online
- Google Hangouts
- Facebook Video Calls
- Online forums
- Group Messenger
You could meet in person
- a coffee shop
- a restaurant where you can eat together and discuss
- someone’s house
- the local library
Step 4: Create a Reading List
One of the hard parts of creating a book club is getting everyone to agree on what books to read. It helps if you decide on how reading lists will be determined as soon as possible.
Maybe you, as the leader of the book club, will make all reading list decisions. Or maybe everyone will vote on which books to read at the first meeting. You could also take turns in the group for who gets to pick the next book.
Download a Free PDF Printable for a Yearly Reading List
Your book club might also have a specific purpose, like to read all the books by Dave Ramsey. If that’s the case then your book club’s reading list is already decided!
You could also just read a book about a book club! The Jane Austen Book Club is a New York Times Bestseller written by Karen Joy Fowler and has since become a major motion picture.
Step 5: Make the Schedule
Once you have a reading list it’s time to schedule out your reading assignments and group discussions. Generally, scheduling to read a chapter a week isn’t too difficult of a reading assignment, but this might depend on the book you’re all reading.
Take into account how quickly you want to go through each book, the number of pages in each chapter, and how often you want your group to meet.
It might also help to create a calendar for your group so that everyone is on the same page. You can create a group calendar on google calendars, or you can print one to pass out to everyone.
Download a Free PDF Printable of a Book Club Calendar Template
Step 6: Decide How Everyone is Getting their Books
Will everyone just buy them or will you all use kindle unlimited or used copies? Depending on your group size there may be enough copies at the local library, but this isn’t likely. Most book clubs let everyone be in charge of getting their own books.
You could also do a traveling book idea where you share one copy of the book. Then you can alternate on who buys the book and who the book ends up with at the end. This would be a more inexpensive way to run a book club, but your group discussions would be farther apart.
If you decide to go in together on book costs, you can use a Check City Prepaid Debit Card to consolidate your group’s funds on one card to buy the books. You can also use prepaid debit cards to help your group pay for things like refreshments.
Step 7: Format the Discussions
Whether you’re meeting online or in person, you’ll need to format your group discussions. If you come to group discussions unprepared, or without someone to help lead the discussion, you might end up with lots of awkward silences.
To avoid long silences in your group discussion, come with a list of interesting questions about the section you all just read. You can also send a question or two from this list to everyone before you meet, and have everyone prepare their own answers beforehand. That way everyone has already thought of some things to say.
Another part of formatting the discussions that you don’t want to forget is to create discussion rules or guidelines. If disagreements arise you want to have clear outlines in place dictating what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in group discussions. These outlines can help keep discussions civil and productive.
Resources for Book Clubs
Need some extra help getting started? You can find all kinds of resources online to help create your book club. Here are just a few book club resources you can use:
Book Club Apps
- Book Club by book movement
- Our Own Book Club
- Google Hangouts
- Facebook Messenger and Facebook Groups
Book Club Websites
- BookClubz.com is an online platform that allows you to create and organize your book club.
- Reddit has subreddits for almost any book, full of great discussion topics you can use in your own group.
- TapaTalk allows you to create an online community forum.
- Wikipedia has a long list of book genres that can help you brainstorm reading list ideas.
- Bookstr can help you find book lists and news all about books.
Book Clubs You Can Join
Scholastic Book Club
Scholastic book clubs can be created by teachers or parents for their kids! They’re easy to set up. You can even follow their how-to videos to help get you started.
All you have to do is create an account, let your kids choose their books, and the Book Box arrives in class! Scholastic books will even help teachers build a classroom library. Scholastic Books is a corporation all about helping kids get excited about reading.
Reese Witherspoon Book Club
Reese’s Book Club reads a new book each month, hand-picked by Reese Witherspoon herself. She picks books with great female protagonists, that a gigantic following of people can read together and talk about!
Oprah’s Book Club
Oprah’s book club is one of the biggest, most long-standing book clubs to date. Oprah started her book club in 1996 as part of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah’s Book Club eventually launched what she called, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 that now uses social media and e-readers to keep the famous book club going. She also handpicks a new book each month for her book club followers to read.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of starting a book club then just join a book club that already exists! You might even find a preexisting book club in your local neighborhood.
You have so much to gain from creating a book club. You can make new friends, schedule in some much needed socializing, and read some great literature. Book clubs are also a really easy club to put together but will offer you and your fellow members years of fun to come.
written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter