Why and How to Start a Virtual Book Club
Reading a book is a safe activity you can do while you're stuck at home and avoiding COVID-19. With the widespread of digital technology, starting and participating in a virtual book club has never been easier! While it might look a little different from your typical coffee shop meet-up or packed sofa with a snack, it still has the potential to be an intimate and rewarding meet-up to get excited for!
Plus, people from all around the world can join your virtual book club because it's not location-dependent. If you've been considering creating a virtual book club, check out our top tips to start your own today.
Choose Your Place to Meet Up
Technology provides countless ways to connect, with multiple digital platforms available to facilitate book club discussion. Before anything, you need to decide which will work best for your group size and the length of meetings you plan to have. A few of the most popular applications you can choose may include:
Skype: Skype is a free and accessible platform that anyone can download on their phone or desktop. There is no limitation to the length of the video chat. However, you are limited to a total of 50 people joining the free meeting version at one time.
Zoom: Zoom has become one of the most popular choices for virtual meetings and hangouts. This platform allows up to 100 people to join your gathering at one time. You can even break out into separate meeting rooms to have smaller discussions. However, if you're using the free version of the platform, you're limited to one hour of chatting, which might not be long enough for your meeting.
Google Hangouts: This is especially popular if you already have a Google account. There is no limit on meeting time, and it's easy to open on your phone or desktop. However, there is a limitation of ten people per meeting.
Name Your Book Club
The next thing you need to do is name your book club. There is no rule on how you should name your club. It's entirely up to your own personal preference. Try to choose a name that tells a story, is creative but simple, and easy to understand. You can choose to be as funny, straightforward, or dramatic as you want.
Some ideas of fun names you might consider for your book club may include Social Law Library, Wise Words, Double Booked, Words of Wisdom, Breakfast Book Club, Great Beginnings, Hooked on Books, or Tea Time Book Club.
Consider Keeping It Small
Consider the ideal club size before sending out the invites to your club. Start by inviting between 10-15 people to your book club. Most likely, only half of those people will end up joining, and even less reading the book in time for the meeting.
Having a handful of engaged, active participants is more than enough to have a great time. Plus, keeping it small makes it easy to schedule or reschedule meetings and lets each participant have time to talk during your meetings.
Choose Your Reading Material
Choosing your book club's reading material can be the most challenging and essential part of your book club. First, get an idea of what your book club would be interested in reading. Do you want thrillers, classics, non-fiction, fiction? The options are endless.
You want to choose a book that allows for meaningful discussions, such as stories with plot-twist endings or social issues. Creating discussion questions is a great way to get your members prepared and excited to get together and discuss the book. Not sure where to start? Owl Corner shop will handle everything from recommending a book choice to organizing discussion questions so that you can simply enjoy running your book club.
Host The Meeting
As the leader of your book club, you're going to be the one to lead the session, ask questions, and guide the overall discussion. As everyone enters your virtual meeting, welcome them and allow small talk/mingling. It's normal to chat about what everyone is eating or drinking and check-in on everyone's life.
Once everyone has had time to say hello, shift the conversation to the book. Make sure to highlight or take notes when you read the book to create additional reading points or parts that resonate with you to be discussed more in your meeting.
Ensure that everyone has a turn to talk, either by raising their hand or going around the meeting room. Try to direct conversation and keep it flowing, so there is a consistent discussion. Make sure to have an ideal meeting end time and wrap the book discussion up on time. If others want to stay on and keep chatting, that's fine, but it will allow anyone with other commitments to move on with their evening.
Be Mindful of Background Noise
Your book club is not the time to listen to background conversations or crying children. It's essential to be aware of the background noise in your home, and always wear headphones or find a private area for your meeting. Make sure to let your group know to do the same as well. If there is background noise or a sudden interruption, users should mute themselves not to disturb the flow of the conversation.
Discuss Next Book Options
Make sure to carve out time at the end of the meeting to talk about the next book your group plans to read or the next date of your book club meeting. Talk about the books you're choosing between or who will be choosing the next book so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure to include this in your book club discussion to keep the excitement moving forward while allowing everyone to make arrangements on their calendars to be available during that time.
Start A Book Club Today
Books clubs can be so rewarding, whether they are in-person or virtual. Building a virtual book club helps to create connections and community with other readers. If you're excited to jump into starting a book club but not too confident about the details, contact us at Owl Corner Shop. We'll help curate book choices, ship out the books, and organize the discussion questions. We make it simple to create and maintain a thriving book club with books you won't want to put down!