Growing popularity digital book club platforms, it’s easier than ever to interact with other readers and discuss plot twists in your favorite book, learn about trends or social issues with peers, or create a new book club of like-minded readers.
Digital book platforms offer readers the opportunity to connect with other readers about books, connect with authors and influencers, find new book collections and guides to discuss, and make new friends. According to Padmasri Warrior, Founder, President and CEO Fable. Warrior, former CEO of smart car maker NIO USAbrought her technical expertise to Fable, which launched in Spring 2021.
These digital book clubs such as book clubs (formerly Bookclubsz), Book Club by BookMovement, and Fable offer various social media reading services. Readers benefit from services such as traditional in-person book clubs, virtual live club meetings and social media-like platforms, Warrior says. Here are a few ways to find the book club services that are best for you.
For users who want to connect with other readers through a book club, Anna Ford, co-founder of Bookclubs, suggests having a clear goal. “Think about what you hope to get out of a book club. Are you hoping to make new friends in your area? Then look for a personal book club near you. Are you interested in learning more about a specific topic? We have clubs dedicated to history, environmentalism, anti-racism, personal growth and development, and more. Looking to spruce up your bookshelf? Check out our clubs dedicated to the work of women or underrepresented authors,” she says.
The key is to determine how you want to interact with your club as a reader. “We have public clubs with hundreds or thousands of people where the meetings are less interactive but may include interviews with the author. Or we have much smaller clubs where you can actively participate in the discussion via zoom (or in person). And in between, there are clubs that are active on club message boards or planning virtual chats, Ford explains.
With your goal in mind, find a club that you like. Pauline Hubert, founder and president of BookMovement, encourages readers to visit the site and browse the clubs before signing up. “Look at what they read – how they describe the club, a mixture of social and book talk. Ask what they’ve been reading lately – see if you can contact them about the book you and the whole club have read,” she says.
The Book Club Forum has been recently redesigned to help people find relevant discussions. “This is a new forum, open to all, that invites readers to follow their interests and find their book lovers,” explains Ford. The service makes it easy to browse book clubs and join them for free with just one click. “It’s a bustling hub for everything imaginable: ADHD support groups, Islamic art enthusiasts, clubs run by authors like E. L. Jackson, and countless others. Some clubs meet in person, others online. Diverse choice means members can actively participate in a focused club or just be a passive follower in a larger club organized by a popular influencer,” she adds.
Find the format and connection that interests you the most. Blogger Melissa Austin-Wicks hosts his virtual “Mrs. Twist Reads This Book” using the pages of the private book club BookMovement and its 200 members. Meetings are recorded and a link to the video is posted on the member’s page for viewing. “I opened my book club in 2017 with the intention of spending more time reading and creating a community for women to come together, connect and grow. I achieved that goal and then some others,” says Wicks, who promotes the club on social media and on her website. Authors have practically come to her club over the years, including Frances Mays, Rebecca Searle, and Sue Monk.
Hubert of BookMovement adds: “You can have great technology with lots of features, but you still won’t find what you’re looking for: connectivity. We don’t need another algorithm. The challenge for technology now is to help people communicate in a way that makes us less, not more, lonely.” BookMovement, according to Hubert, is focused on the personal. “The priority is to communicate with participants in a human way through books. “Technology” (website/app) is not an end in itself, but a means.”
All of these platforms have ways to find new books to read, so you should definitely look for one that is full of recommendations that suit you. Fable, for example, has book clubs with individual readers and many book clubs including families, institutions, and universities. It offers recommended reading lists, or “Folios”, created by authors and “curators” such as LeVar Burton, David Sedaris, Anthony Dorr, Malinda Lo, Adam Grantand Jasmine Guillory.
BookClub, on the other hand, is membership-based and allows members to create a shared bookshelf with meeting details, Q&A, discussion questions, book information, and book club ratings. It also features the week’s top club picks, recently viewed books, new releases, book giveaways, and videos of virtual book launch parties.
If you want to talk about books with influencers or celebrities, you can visit Fable’s free and tiered premium clubs, which cost $1.99, $4.99, and $9.99 per month. There is an annual plan for premium clubs, priced at $69.99. “If you’re a fan of BookTok, the TikTok readership, there’s a good chance your favorite BookTokker has a club on Fable,” says Warrior.
She points out that fans of LeVar Burton can join his club to meet thoughtful, like-minded people and get information and support directly from LeVar. fans Lord of the Rings The trilogy can be read with Sean Astin and discussed with him.
If you can’t find a club you associate with or are interested in starting your own book club, most platforms make it easy to create your own space with step-by-step instructions.
Ford explains: “Creating a club is easy, both on the app and on our website. All you have to do is create an account (with just your name and email or using your Google account) and then enter your club name to get started. From there, the next step is to invite members – you can enter email addresses, mobile phone numbers (for text invites), or we’ll provide a unique invite link that you can copy and paste. Then it’s time to pick a book (we have lots of inspiration and a simple poll feature if members want to vote) and set up your first meeting (we also have scheduled polls built into the platform). When it comes to real meetings, we have hundreds of popular book discussion guides to help you get started.”
So, spend some time on each platform to find the one you like best, join a club or create your own, and then start reading.
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