How to Start a Virtual Book ClubBook clubs are a great way for you to get together with friends on a regular basis. But if you are social distancing, enjoying your monthly meetings with your friends has probably been put on hold. Luckily, the internet makes virtual meetings easy enough that you can start your book club up again without the need to meet in person. Starting a virtual book club is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter how close or far away they are.

How to Start a Virtual Book Club

Decide on a Meeting Platform

The first step to organizing your virtual book club is to pick a platform for everyone to meet on. When it comes to virtual meetups there are a few different ways your friends can get together online. One great way to decide on the platform is to discuss the options with the members of your group. Ask which platforms your friends are most familiar with to help narrow down your choices.

Another simple way to pick the best virtual meeting platform is to check out the features available on the most popular platforms to see which one would suit your needs.

Google Hangouts

Using this platform is a great option if all your book club members are Google users. Hangouts are part of the Google suite of products and is easy to use. But if your book club consists of more than 10 members, you will need to pick a different platform because that is the maximum number of people that can be on a hangout call at one time.


Zoom

Another user-friendly option to consider is Zoom, which allows multiple users to chat at once and see each other using a tiled screen. The platform is free for up to 40 minutes, so it is a good idea to keep the time limit in mind during your meeting.

 


Skype

For large groups or longer meetings, Skype is a great choice for your virtual book club. The free platform is easy to use and allows up to 50 people to meet at once.

 


Glose

If hosting a meeting time online is proving hard for your group, Glose is the perfect solution. Glose is a social reading platform where you can read, discover, learn, scribble, and highlight in thousands of digital books. At Glose, you can interact with other readers through comments. So, it is the perfect online venue for a virtual book club. You’ll find Glose works especially well for book clubs where members want a bit more freedom in the way they meet. With Glose, book club members can take notes and write comments AS they read the book. Other members of the club can see the notes and comment back. It is a virtual talking dialog!


Invite Your Friends

If you already have a group of friends that used to meet in person for book club, most of your work is already done for you. Simply set up a monthly meeting time, then send the invitation link so everyone can log in to discuss your book.

But if you are starting a book club from scratch, you will need to reach out to friends and family members you would like to join. You can give your friends a call to see if they are interested, send out emails to find out if anyone wants to join or create a Facebook group to invite members to your book club.

After you have a membership list, make sure to get everyone’s email addresses so you can invite them to your virtual meeting where everyone can discuss the book of the month.

Pick a Book to Read

After you have the logistics of your virtual book club set up, it is time to have some fun! While picking a book to read may be the point of a book club, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what book to read each month.

When coming up with books for your virtual book club, consider these simple rules:

1. Allow everyone to have a chance to pick.

To make sure everyone’s tastes are accommodated, it is a good idea to give each person in the book club a chance to pick your book for the month. Create a list of book club members, then assign each member a month to give them a turn picking a book.

2. Create an online poll.

Another simple way to allow members to have input on the books you read is to create an online poll each month to pick the next month’s books. Use a platform like Facebook to create a poll, allowing members to vote on the book for the month.

3. Set parameters to limit selection.

With millions of books to choose from each month, deciding on one book to read can be difficult for book lovers. Setting some rules in advance can help your club’s members narrow down their choices. You could decide to only ready newly published books, stick to classics, or read from a certain genre. The choice is totally up to you and the rest of your book club members!

Set a Meeting Date

Now that you have decided on a book to read, it is time to set a date for your book club discussion. To keep things consistent each month and ensure everyone can attend, try setting the same date for your book club each month. This could mean you will meet on the last Tuesday of the month or on the 20th of each month. Whatever works for you. Just make sure that everyone in the group approves of the day before it is set-in stone.

Now that all the details for your virtual book club are outline, you can begin meeting. You can help ease the transition for those members who might be concerned about having tech issues by offering a short tech run through a few days prior to the first meeting. Doing so will give those not familiar with the online platform a chance to test their video and audio. And give them the chance to figure out the settings for the online room before the book club meeting.

Starting a virtual book club is a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends. Online meeting spaces and eBooks make launching a book club online as easy is hosting one in person. I honestly think this is my new favorite online event!

Have you hosted or participated in a virtual book club? If so, what tips or suggestions do you have for those looking to host an online book club?

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