How to Have a Great Book Group: Tips for a Book Club You’ll Love

It’s never just a game when you’re winning.

If you are thinking of starting up a book group in your area, then welcome to the club! The popularity of book groups has grown massively in recent years. Despite the explosion of online and social media, books remain as popular and beloved as always. In fact, online media can help to promote books…

A book club is a great way to connect with other people and share a love of books – and it’s free – or at least, cheap! It’s also really easy to set up. So if you want to start a local book club/group, these tips are for you. They’re by no means the be all and end all, but they’re born of experience.

Top Three Tips for Starting a Book Club/Group

  1. Throw it open to everyone – You can do this by putting up posters around where you live or perhaps you can get a free advert in the local magazine. Ask for initial interest, and give your phone number and those of any friends setting the club up with you. All you need is a phone call or two back, and you’re ready to roll. By all means, also spread the news of the club by word of mouth, but open advertising will make sure it remains a club – not a clique.
  2. Make sure everyone is included – Some book groups like to set discussion questions, others simply listen to each other’s views on the book and the discussion flows from that. Whichever you choose, it is a good idea to make sure that everybody gets the chance to speak at some point. Some people are shy and won’t speak until they’re asked to. Going round the circle letting everyone speak in turn is one good way to include everybody.
  3. Choose books to review that are new to the whole group – If someone nominates a childhood favourite as a set discussion book, it can potentially make the discussion afterwards a bit awkward. Particularly if someone else thought it was terrible.

Four More Tips for a Great Book Club

  1. Hold it at member’s houses in rotation – It’s cheaper and comfier and you get to see the insides of each other’s houses – and nose people’s book collections! Plus the hostess or host gets the chance to provide drinks and snacks for the group.
  2. Do other things besides discussing the set book – Bring and talk about old favourites and new discoveries, swap books, quote from blogs and share favourite poems. This way it won’t be a big deal if someone didn’t get to read or finish the main book.
  3. Cap the numbers – Once the group gets to a reasonable size, you’ll have to stop letting new members join. It’s an obvious point, but many more than about 10 or 12 and there won’t be time for a full discussion. Plus you won’t all fit in the living room.
  4. Go online – A book group is really easy to set up on Facebook and it helps the group to organise and communicate. You can also continue discussions online – and invite as many extra members as you like.

A Few Further Hints

  1. Read book reviews online or browse bookshops and read their in-house reviews to help choose a book that will go down well. But don’t worry if you don’t think you’ll like the chosen book. Differences of opinion make for better discussions.
  2. Books cost money. But the internet has made ordering books cheaply much easier. Some libraries lend out sets of books for clubs, but the choice is likely to be more limited. A book club is a journey. Hopefully, these tips will help steer it towards an enjoyable and rewarding book sharing experience.

More: Tips for Book Club Organizers: How to Make a Book Group Run More Smoothly

Leave a Reply