How to Start a Book Club?

Book clubs are a great way to get people together who share a common love for reading. A book club is not only a good way to share a common interest, but it is also a fun way to socialize in general! During a book club meeting, the chosen book of the month is discussed. Book clubs take some effort to organize, but it will all be worth it when your members gather for the first meeting.

How to Start a Book Club

Part 1. Deciding on the Type of Book Club

Decide how academic or social your book club will be. Some book clubs are mainly meant to be fun and relaxed. The book is discussed, but the literary discussion may not be very serious and in-depth. Other books clubs are more serious and highly academic. Choose what type of book club you’d like to have.
An academic book club would be more focused on aspects of the book such as meaning, plot, and character.
A social book club would talk about the story and feelings about the story, but it wouldn’t be a problem if conversation got carried away from the book.

Choose what type of books you’d like to read. You can focus on one literary genre, such as adult fiction, romance, or horror. Or, you can choose to read books from a variety of genres. Typically, however, it is a good idea to not mix genres too much so that the members will join knowing that they will be reading books they enjoy.

Choose a location for your club. Book clubs are typically held at meeting points, like homes, bookstores, or the local library. The meetings can change location every so often, but it is usually easier to keep them at one or a few regular locations. Contact the location to inquire about holding your book club there, or ask potential members if they could commit to hosting a club every so often.
Go for an online club if you don’t have a location to meet. If a physical meeting point isn’t an option, you can also have an online book club. An online book club can be held on a chat room, social media application, or even through group video chats. An online meeting point is also a good option because it allows people from all over the world to join the club.
Decide how large you’d like your book club to be. If the meeting will be held at a physical location, consider how large or small you’d want your club to be. 8 to 16 members is a good number because it is not overwhelmingly large, but there will still be enough people for a meeting if a few members don’t show up.

Part 2. Setting up the Book Club

Find a core group of people with a passion for reading. They could be friends, family, or acquaintances you know through various activities, but they should all love to read. Also, make sure that this core group of members can commit to meetings on a regular basis. You can mention your club to them in person, through email, text, or however the best way to contact them would be.
If you plan to have your book club at a physical location, recruit people who live close to you.
You can invite anyone to a virtual book club, as long as the people who want to join have reliable internet access.

Decide where to meet. When you first begin, especially if the members are friends or you plan to serve alcohol, meeting in your own home is a great idea. Later, different members could host meetings. If there are members that you are not quite as familiar with, or don’t want to meet at your house, ask your local library about using some of their space for a book club.
You can also ask a local café if they would be willing to let you have your book club at their place.

Choose a virtual meeting point. If your book club will be virtual, choose how you will hold it. One option is to create a Facebook group where everyone can comment on aspects of the book. Or, you can create a website where anyone can join and comment on the chosen book. If you want a more personal approach, have a video chat with a few other people.
Set a meeting time length. An hour is a good start. Eventually, two hours or an hour and a half may work better if you add more members to your group. Don’t exceed two hours, because people may not be as willing or able to show up to longer meetings.
Poll members of your club. Send out an email to your members or potential members. Ask them what books they have been reading, and what times and dates work best for them to meet. Request that they respond back to you by a certain date so that you can begin to make concrete plans.
Choose the first book. When you’ve gathered information about what the members have been reading, choose a book. Look for a book that falls under the members’ preferences and is fairly well-known. It is best to choose a short book for the first meeting so that you can get an idea of how fast the members read.
Read online reviews about the book. Make sure that the book has mostly positive reviews.

Announce your first meeting. After you’ve gathered information from the poll, set a time, date, and location for your first club meeting. Set the date at least two weeks in advance in order to allow for people to have time to read the book. Three weeks is even better. Send out e-mails a week before the meeting to give people a written reminder.

Part 3. Holding Club Meetings

Play an icebreaker game to start the meeting. Unless all of the members are already familiar with each other, it is helpful to start the meeting with a game. An icebreaker game will make everyone feel more relaxed, which will create an atmosphere that is better for open discussion.
You could go around the room and have everyone name 3 books that they love the most.
You can partner people up and have them ask questions about their literary preferences.

Make a list of about five books and bring them to the meeting. Get ideas for books from the internet or library recommendations. Let everyone discuss and vote upon what book to read for the next meeting. After deciding, let everyone get to know each other and discuss their reading tastes.
Serve snacks and refreshments. If you’re having the meeting in a home, it is a good idea to put out snacks and drinks. Your refreshments don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Cookies, breads, nuts, and popcorn are all good ideas. As far as drinks, you can put out coffee, tea, water, soft, drinks, or alcohol if everyone is above the legal age.
You can also ask everyone to bring one snack or refreshment.
Be mindful of members on vegan, vegetarian, or other restricted diets as well as members watching their weight. Consider asking before hand if anyone has dieting restrictions.

Discuss the book. This is why you started the club in the first place! Begin to discuss the book that (hopefully) everyone in the group has read. You can open the discussion with a question, or come up with questions before the meeting begins. Some books will have a reading group guide in the back of the book.
It’s also an option to designate a discussion leader for each meeting.

Make a list of five potential books for future meetings. Bring this list to the first club meeting. Get ideas for books from the internet or library recommendations. Let everyone discuss and vote upon what book to read for the next meeting. After deciding, let everyone get to know each other and discuss their reading tastes.
Ask members to invite new members. Request every member to bring in their book-loving friends to the club. Leave scope for prospective members to participate in meetings so that they can get a feel before actually joining. If you already feel that you have enough members, you don’t have to do this.
Vote for a cabinet. For instance, vote for president, vice president, secretary, and get a few people to volunteer for a club newsletter. This step is optional for smaller groups, but it is very handy for very large groups of over ten or fifteen people. You can do this during the first meeting, or you can wait until the club has become more established.
Be open to suggestions and constructive criticisms. Actively invite suggestions from members at every meeting on how to improve the functioning of the club. An open, friendly environment that cares about the opinions of every member is important for the survival of the book club.



1.Does it have to be a series of books and can it be the Bible?
Ans:No. You do not have to read a series of books in a book club and yes, you can read the Bible, but this would be considered a Bible study and not a book club.

2.What if there is already a book club at my school, but it is not open to my grade, even though I’m an advanced reader?
Ans:You can join book clubs at your local public library, or get special permission to join the book club at your school.

3.What are ways to get books for a book club if a library does not have one?
Ans:You could ask your parents to get the books from a nearby bookshop or you may ask your members if they have the specific book.

Table of contents