Tips for Starting a Buddy Read

Buddy reads are incredibly popular in the book community. They allow you and a friend to share in the experience of reading the same book together and discussing it. Essentially, they’re mini-book clubs with the flexibility of being one-off occurrences or regular activities. Whether you’re a buddy reading pro or you’re looking to kick off your very first, these tips are sure to help make it a success.

Decide on who
A buddy read is only as good as your buddy. You’re looking for someone who is excited to participate and will follow through on reading and discussing the book. Once you’ve decided on the perfect person, send them a message to ask if they’d be interested. Alternatively, many buddy reads happen organically. If you know that a friend is starting a book you’re excited about, shoot them a message to see if they’d like to buddy read it!

Sometimes buddy reads can include more than one friend, but if this is your first time, I’d recommend starting off with a single reading partner.


Decide on what you’re reading
Once you know who you’re reading with, it’s time to decide on the book! There are a few ways to go about this: You can each share a list of books you’d like to read, look at each other’s TBR lists for inspiration, or pick an unread book from an author you both love. If you’re looking to boost your Feedback Ratio, you and your friend could even select a NetGalley book you’ve both been approved for or pick from the Read Now section!

Picking the perfect book for a buddy read is a lot like choosing your selection for a book club. You’re looking for something that will spark discussion and that both participants are excited about.


Create a schedule
Some readers choose to set an end date for the buddy read and allow both parties to read at their own pace, and then discuss the book once they’ve finished. However, I’ve found the most successful strategy is when the book is broken down into bite-sized sections. For my buddy reads, we typically read three chapters per day and then discuss our thoughts on each section as we go. This allows for detailed conversations and frequent opportunities to connect with your reading buddy. Find a schedule that works for you!


Decide on a platform
Consider where you want your discussions to take place. You can text, direct message on social media, video call, or more! The easiest method tends to be the one you and your reading buddy already use most frequently to communicate. 


Take notes
Even if you decide to chat every day with your reading buddy, notes are still a great way to remember the book’s details and your reactions. You can also take down any quotes that you enjoy, questions you have, and elements you want your reading buddy’s opinion on. If you’re saving all of your discussions for when you’ve both finished, notes will be your lifeline! 


Try not to read ahead
This is the trickiest part—especially if you’re loving the book! Try your best to stick to your schedule to ensure you’re remembering all of your discussion points and that you don’t accidentally spoil anything for your reading buddy, who may go at a slower pace. My advice is to have another book on hand you can easily dive into!


Be honest
The best part of reading with a friend is that they’re just as excited to be spending time with you as they are to be reading. If you’re struggling to keep up with the schedule, finding the time to read, or you simply dislike the book—tell them! A good friend will be ready to slow things down, take a break, or pivot to another book.


Have fun
For all this talk of planning, buddy reads should be fun and stress-free. Let yourself relax and enjoy the experience of sharing a book with a friend. Before you know it, you’ll be setting up another one!


What tips would you give to someone starting their first buddy read?

Living a Bookish Lifestyle

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. Thank you for sharing these valuable tips for a successful buddy read! I completely agree that choosing the right reading partner is crucial. Someone who shares your excitement and commitment to reading and discussing the book will make the experience more enjoyable.

    Deciding on what to read is another important step, and you’ve provided great suggestions. It’s essential to find a book that both participants are enthusiastic about and that will spark interesting conversations.

    Creating a schedule is a fantastic idea, whether it’s a set end date or a daily breakdown of chapters. Breaking the book into manageable sections allows for regular discussions and keeps the momentum going throughout the buddy read.

    Choosing the right platform for discussions is also important. Using a familiar and convenient communication method ensures smooth and easy interaction between buddies.

    Taking notes is an excellent tip to remember important details, jot down quotes, and capture your thoughts and questions. It serves as a handy reference for discussions and enhances the overall experience.

    Resisting the temptation to read ahead can be challenging, but it’s crucial to maintain the pace and not spoil the story for your buddy. Having another book on hand as a backup is a smart idea to avoid this predicament.

    Honesty is key in any buddy read. If challenges arise, whether it’s time constraints or not enjoying the book, open and honest communication is vital. A true reading buddy will understand and accommodate your needs.

    Lastly, it’s important to remember that buddy reads should be enjoyable and stress-free. The primary goal is to have fun while sharing the reading experience with a friend. The process should be relaxed and enjoyable, fostering a deeper connection through books.

    Thank you again for sharing these tips. They are incredibly helpful for anyone looking to embark on a successful buddy read!

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