It’s the start of a new year, so why not try something new? The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us doing things differently, so now is the time to take advantage. If you love books, try starting a virtual book club. Book Clubs are about more than books.
In this post, we will discuss:
If you’ve been considering starting a club from your home, here are some CanScribe tips for launching and running your virtual book club.
Decide on a digital space where you and your group can communicate, vote on book picks, and coordinate discussion dates. There are several options for doing this, such as a Facebook group, through dedicated book club organizational websites, or email.
Using a Facebook group allows participants to designate privacy settings, invite members to join, discuss all month long in the feed, and use voting to pick dates and titles for the group’s next read.
Many virtual book club organization websites offer similar functions and permit club invites via email. These sites help keep track of what titles you’ve read, allow future title suggestions, enable voting, and assist in meeting scheduling.
Once you’ve landed on where you will coordinate and communicate, it’s time to pick a name for your virtual book club. Get creative! You can be punny, straightforward, or thematic.
Think about your ideal virtual book club size before sending out the invites. Keep your book club small: it helps scheduling and rescheduling meetings more comfortable to manage. There is also a greater chance that everyone has read the book by meeting time.
Ask your fellow virtual book club members which platform they prefer to use for virtual meetings. A few popular ones include Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Facebook messenger. Each platform has its positives and limitations, so discuss which works best for everyone.
Now is the fun part, you get to pick a book! If you plan to alternate which member chooses, set up a rotation and let the first member make their pick. Announce it on your discussion forum and if you vote as a group, ask for a few recommendations before setting up the digital vote. Next, pick the discussion date and time you will all meet on your designated platform.
Stay connected with your virtual book club leading up to your discussion date. You can do this by posting your thoughts and questions. Ask your members throughout the month for their views and opinions. You can also post reminders about the discussion date, call for a “favourite character” vote mid-way through the book, or set up a “read along” schedule, so you stay roughly within the same section of the book throughout the month.
Many publishers pull together a reading group or discussion guides for their books. Made with clubs in mind, these are often available on the publishers’ websites. These are very helpful in sparking and guiding the conversation within your virtual book club and often help you find different ways of thinking about the book and its characters.
Mention the possible options for the next book and upcoming discussion dates before closing out your meeting. If it calls for a vote, remind members to cast their opinions before a specific date, or discuss who will be choosing the book. Choosing your next book this way will keep the book club at the front of everyone’s minds without interrupting the momentum.
If you’re looking for a few books to get started with, here are a few we highly recommend:
Virtual book clubs are just as rewarding as in-person clubs. Even though digital discussions, you build community and feel connected to other readers. Are you going to start your own virtual book club in 2021? Follow us on Instagram and share your thoughts!