At the beginning of the pandemic, people realized that if they wanted to continue their book clubs, they would need to create a virtual book club / online book club in order to stay socially distanced.
Now that this is no longer a necessity, you may be wondering if your zoom book club is a thing of the past or if you should start a new book club that is in person.
There are many advantages to having online book clubs. You can still meet with your friends virtually AND make it a special evening without ever having to leave the house. We will give you step-by-step instructions to host a virtual book club that will rival any in-person meet-up!
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Steps to Creating an Online Book Club
How to Start an Online Book Club: Quick Guide
- Decide what kind of virtual book club you want to start
- Figure out who you want to invite
- Decide how and when to meet
- Pick a book
- Determine how you will run the book club discussion
Decide What Kind of Online Book Club You Want
It is important for you to decide what the purpose is for your online book club.
- Is the purpose to socialize, make friends, read more, etc.?
- Is the purpose a more academic and serious book talk?
- Do you want to read specific genres, best-sellers, new releases, etc.?
- Are you trying to connect with old friends or family that are not local?
2. Figure Out Who You Want to Invite
The best part of online book clubs is the fact that you are not limited by proximity. Whether you want to invite friends or family, how close you live will not be an issue with online book clubs. We encourage you to invite people you do not see on a regular basis.
Your family in Canada or your best friend in California are ideal choices for a Zoom book club. Maybe you want to reconnect with your best friends from childhood or high school or maybe you have some social media friends who live across the country. Creating an online book club is an ideal way to meet up and socialize.
3. Decide How and When to Meet
The most complicated part of starting an online book club is deciding how and when to meet. Which platform will you use?
In order to properly utilize screen sharing, which you will need to do for some of the activities, we recommend creating a free Zoom account. The difference between free and paid is the 40-minute time limit. Zoom will close the meeting automatically at the 40-minute mark. If everyone understands that it happens, it’s easy enough to wait for a new meeting request and get started again.
There are other platforms that you can use as well like Google Meets, Google Hangout, Facetime, Skype, and Adobe Connect.
Personally, I have only used Zoom and Google Meets.
Choosing when to meet might be the most complicated part. However, if you choose a set time and date each month, it makes it a lot easier to schedule (i.e. third Tuesday of the month)
4. Pick a Book
If you want a fun and easy way to pick a book each month, we recommend you use our reading challenge as a guide
For more reading challenge fun, check out our 2023 Reading Challenge.
To go along with the reading challenge each month, we release a large post with tons of book suggestions on a given topic. This takes the guesswork out of choosing a book and you can be assured that we have read and loved each one of the books on our lists.
If you subscribe to our email, you will receive a quarterly magazine that highlights the reading challenge as well as the new books we cannot wait to read.
The magazine is designed to help you choose your next book and begin preparations for your book club. This way, if you want to jump around, skip topics, or rush ahead, you’ll have access to 8 great book recommendations and tons of creative ideas to get you started.
5. Determine How You Will Have the Discussion
We recommend asking everyone to gather the same supplies – foods, drinks, items you need for a group activity, – in advance of your meeting. Have one person print out discussion questions and activity instructions and be the designated leader of the group.
You can create activities or play games based on the theme of your chosen book. The options are endless. The only constraint is your imagination.
We hope this comprehensive guide for how to host a virtual book club is helpful.
If you love this post on how to start a virtual book club, you will love our list of the best books for book clubs to read.