How to Start a Virtual Book Club

A virtual book club is a fantastic way to connect with fellow readers no matter where they are in the world. Starting your own might seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. Here are tips on how to get started.


Consider members
All successful book clubs have members who are passionate about reading and sharing their thoughts on books. Think about the people in your life who fit that description—like friends, family, and coworkers—and reach out to see who might be interested in joining.

If you’re a reader with a strong social media presence (such as a blog, Bookstagram, BookTok, or Booktube channel), consider creating a club that’s open to any followers who want to join. For larger groups like this, having a partner who can help you run and organize the club is a strong asset.

You can also start small with a buddy read, and decide from there if you want to invite more readers.


Find the right platform
If you’re a fan of video, then Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet are all great options. We have tips here for how to prepare for the technical aspects of a video book club meeting.

Social media platforms also offer easy options, from group chats on Instagram to starting a Facebook group. Discord offers the ability to create separate channels to help focus discussions and is ideal for larger groups since you can have a channel for selecting future book club picks, one for general chatter, and one for each book you’re reading.

Consider how many people will be in your club and ask your members what they prefer before deciding on which platform to use.


Create a structure
Next you’ll want to consider the club’s structure. This includes how much time members are given to read the book and how the discussion will take place.

For groups meeting by video, it’s easiest to have members read the full book and then schedule a meeting to discuss it. You’ll want to find out if there’s a specific day and time of the month that works best for your members. Be sure to take into consideration any differing time zones. 

Clubs that meet online have a bit more flexibility and can choose to divide books into sections, which are then discussed during a specific timeframe.

This is a good time to also think about whether you want to use a discussion guide or book club kit to help steer the conversation, if you want members to come prepared with questions, if you want a group moderator to lead, or if you want to let things flow naturally. 


Decide what to read
Will your books be connected by a theme? Will you have members take turns selecting what the group reads? Will there be a rotating ‘host’ who helps to guide discussions?

Talking about reading goals and preferences with your group is an excellent way to start narrowing down what you’ll read—such as a favorite genre or author. Here are 20 unique book club ideas to help further inspire you, and tips on how to select a book and what to do if you’re struggling to find one. If someone takes a hard pass on a book, let them skip that month or be open to changing the selection.

When selecting titles, pick books that are easily accessible to all of your readers and let them dive into the story in the format of their choice whenever possible. 


Start reading
Now for the fun part! Dive into the book, jot down notes, and prepare for an exciting discussion with your book buddies.


What advice do you have for starting a virtual book club?

Let's Go (Book) Clubbin'

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.

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