How to Start a Book Club in 7 Easy Steps

Ready to start a book club? There’s not much better than getting lost in a good book. It’s an escape from reality, a journey to faraway places, and a taste of what life could be like if things were different — if you experienced a new adventure, were someone else altogether, or lived in another place or time.

When you start a book club, you not only get to experience all of these amazing things, you get to experience them with friends! And friends make everything better, don’t they? If you’d like to start a book club of your own, read on for a few tips on how to get going.

Learn How to Start a Book Club Today!

1. Start a Book Club with an Open Invitation

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

First things first. Decide who you are going to invite when you start a book club. We’d recommend keeping it as open-ended as possible!

When we were looking to start a book club, several of us had just moved to a new town and didn’t know many people, except each other. We made it a point to invite a new friend or neighbor to join us each month, both to create an open, inclusive environment and to get to know lots of other people. 

While only six or so attendees were at that very first meeting, each of us has invited other participants to join us at subsequent monthly meetings. As a result, the group has grown and grown over time to nearly 20 people, and many new friendships have been made. It’s important to note that no more than eight typically attend each month (and it’s always a different group), so it’s actually not an overwhelming crowd like it may sound! That’s the beauty of it – while the group is large for a book club, it is incredibly flexible, making it accessible to everyone!

Note: If a small intimate gathering is more your speed, definitely start a book club with that in mind instead!

Read More: 5 Great Reasons Why Moms Should Make Time To Read

2. Keep it Simple When you Start a Book Club

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

Our book club’s ground rules are pretty simple. Are you ready? Here we go… At each meeting, one person selects a book and proposes a meeting date and time. If the book and timing work for the majority in attendance at that particular meaning, then it’s basically set. Whoever wants to read the book is welcome to join. It’s also the planner’s job to select the location, send out a reminder or two to the entire group, and lead the meeting.

Don’t want to read that particular genre of book, or just don’t have time in the upcoming month? No problem – see you next month! Whether you read a hardcover, a paperback, listen to an Audible (or read part of it and life gets in the way, you don’t finish, and you just want a night out with the girls for dinner, wine, and great company anyway), you’re welcome to attend! No frills, no drama, and no judgment are necessary. Just easy peasy reading and fun – one of the many great reasons to start a book club!

Read More: Perfect Gifts For Readers From Pre-Teens To Adults

3. Add Variety When You Start a Book Club

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

Part of a great strategy when you start a book club is creating variety. Book clubs often read all sorts of books, from historical fiction to drama, to mystery, to nonfiction. In ours, since it’s the job of the person who plans the event to select the book, there’s always a nice selection of book choices because everyone has different preferences! 

Every now and then, the content gets too heavy for a book club member or even simply doesn’t interest them. They can simply opt out that month and join us again next month. Because we always have different people selecting our next read, there is a built-in variety that makes our club interesting and accessible to all. Plus, when it’s your turn to start a book club meeting the next month, the group gets to read what you are interested in, too!

4. Before you Start a Book Club, Come Up with a Good Book

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

Book clubs are very popular these days. There is certainly no shortage of books to read, but here are some great places to begin when you start a book club and are looking for reading ideas.

Reading List: Books to Start a Book Club Off Right

5. Start a Book Club Night with an Activity

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

When it’s your turn to plan and start a book club meeting, it’s a good idea to have a few activities in mind. Here are some ideas to get the group talking: 

Favorite things — Everyone reads a book with their own unique perspective and each person takes something different away. A nice, easy way to kick off the conversation when you start a book club meeting is simply asking for each member’s favorite part of the book. This also makes a great jumping-off point for questions, like, “Really, why?” “What did you find most surprising?” and “How did it make you feel when…”

Character insights — No matter what book you’re reading, before you start a book club meeting, write each character’s name on a piece of paper, then put them all in a paper bag. Pass the bag around the table, and each book club member has to choose a character and say something they liked or didn’t like about the character from the book.

Discussion questions — You will find many websites with ideas for book club discussion questions. Check out this one, from Book Riot, when it’s time to start a book club event plan. Some books even have reading guides with key points and very specific questions directly outlined. (Google is your friend when you start a book club and plan your meetings, people!)

Read More: Early Literacy And The Importance Of Reading To Young Children

6. Start a Book Club and Put Yourself in the Scene

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

Our most fun meetings have been the ones where the hostess adds a little extra creative flair. Reading a book set in Italy? Start a book club meeting at a new Italian restaurant in town that everyone has been wanting to try. Is the book based on a movie? Why not hold an outdoor screening poolside, with snacks, wine, and cozy blankets? Enjoying a book with Hollywood flapper era themes? Host it at a fun wine bar or martini bar.

A book’s setting is so important — take your event up a notch when you start a book club by making the scene a match! What other ideas can you think of to start a book club at the best location possible?

Read More: 8 Engaging Middle Grade Books For Advanced Readers In Need Of A New Series

7. Use Technology to Help Keep Your Club on Track

How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

When you want to start a book club, coordination is key. Consider using technology to help you track books the group is interested in reading, meeting dates, and book reviews. Here are a couple of options: 

Book Movement: “Since 2004, BookMovement has been the premier online destination for book clubs. Our Top Club Picks List tracks the books 48,000 book clubs are talking about.”

Goodreads: “Find and read more books you’ll love, and keep track of the books you want to read. Be part of the world’s largest community of book lovers on Goodreads.”

Facebook Groups: If everyone in your group is active on Facebook, this may be an option for you. You can form a private group when you start a book club, use it to create events, post polls about reading or locations, etc.

Text Message: This is certainly the least sophisticated option, but our group finds it works great! Simply create a text group with everyone in the club when you start a book club, and share updates that way. No need to complicate things too much, just send out notifications of the next book, meeting info, and reminders leading up to the event. Some of our members also chime in between meetings with photos from the last event or comments about the book as they are reading. (That may help those who haven’t picked up the book yet to get inspired!)

What do you think? Is it time to start a book club?

Now you’re ready to go start a book club of your very own! Just remember, the goal of this is really just to enjoy a good book with friends (and maybe a meal and glass of wine). Keep it organized, simple, and low pressure, and when you start a book club, you’ll enjoy some new friendships and great reading for many months and years to come. 

Maybe your little ones want to start a book club and get in on the fun! Before they start a book club too, check out 3 Essential Tips On How To Make Reading Fun For Kids.

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How To Start A Book Club In 7 Easy Steps

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Michelle K
Michelle K
Michelle is a Florida girl who loves the ocean, sunshine and nature. She enjoys cooking, gardening and boating with her husband and children. A full-time working mama, Michelle works in marketing and has been writing for her entire career. She de-stresses with snuggles from her kids, Pilates, essential oils, a good book or a smooth Cab. Her happy places are the beach, live music events and UCF football games. (Go Knights!)

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