How to Perfect Your Book Club Selection Process

Person in wheelchair reaching for a book on a bookshelf

Reading books with your friends and sharing your thoughts is the best part of book club. But before you can get to the fun meeting, you first need to decide how to pick the book your group will read and discuss. Below are five suggestions (and a few bonus tips!) for making your book club selection process easier than ever before.

Cast your vote
Take the democratic approach that we use for our office book club: Let a vote decide! Each member suggests a book (or two!) they think we should read, and then we each vote on our favorite of those choices. This method allows everyone’s voice to be heard and offers everyone the opportunity to suggest books they’re excited about.


Take turns
If you want to ensure everyone will feel the thrill of choosing the group read, let your members take turns making picks! You can establish the order by how long members have been in the group, alphabetically by name, or ask everyone for their favorite book and whoever’s was published first gets the first pick.


Rotate and vote
With this method, a different member still gets to choose what the group reads each meeting, but they offer the club three options and the group votes between those books. This is a nice way to get members pumped about sharing their personal picks, while still allowing everyone to have a say in what’s selected.


Grab bag
Ask your members to write down titles they’re excited about. When you’re ready to select a book for your next meeting, pick a title at random from the list. This adds an element of surprise to the selection process. As members hear about new books throughout the year, invite them to add more titles to the mix!


Follow along
Does your book club want to read through all of the National Book Award winners? What about tackling Rory Gilmore’s library? Picking a set list of books to read through allows you to jump right into deciding what to read next, rather than agonizing over what books should be considered. From there, you can use the steps above (like voting or taking turns selecting) to make your final choice!


A Few Final Tips

Follow the rules
When making a new selection for your book club, take a moment to remind everyone of the established rules or guidelines that your group created (such as page limit, genre preferences, format, and more).


Solicit feedback
If you’re testing out a new selection method, make sure to check in with your members to see if it’s working for them. A few meetings may be all it takes to get into a new groove, or that may be the perfect time to adjust if the group decides a different style would work better.


Utilize excerpts
An excerpt can tell you a lot about a book. Encourage your members to read excerpts on sites like NetGalley and BookishFirst (where you can also enter to win a copy!). You’ll get a sense of the writing, plot, and characters—making it easier to determine if the book is a good fit for your club.


Pick the right book
Now that you have your selection process finalized, it’s time to think about what to read. We’ve rounded up some tips here on what genres and plots make for the best group reads, and our must-reads page is packed with recommendations! On the flip side, here’s our advice for how to handle an indecisive group or what happens when someone picks a book your group didn’t enjoy.


Use a book club kit
A book club kit comes packed with all of the essentials for a great meeting: an author interview, discussion questions, recipes, and more! It takes the stress off of planning a meeting, ensuring that you and your members can relax and focus on the best part: talking about what you read. Check out these book club kits for inspiration for your next meeting.

Book Club Tips

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

1 Comment
  1. Our group reads the Goodreads Best of Fiction. Voted by Goodreads readers.
    We start in January , with the #1 book, this year was Midnight Library. We have the best group,, we know what we are reading for the year. Some use the library , others purchase. We meet the last Tuesday of each month at 7 pm. We facetime and meet in person. Easy, if someone isn’t inter in a book they can opt out. No one has and we are 9 happy readers.

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