We at BCB thought Books Forward post about virtual book clubs was definitely worth sharing. We hope you feel the same!
We know things are stressful right now––many of us are anxiously scrolling through news updates, rationing supplies, wondering how we’ll fill our time, newly unemployed or working from home.
Social distancing does not mean you have to be lonely or isolated. Thanks to the internet, we have more ways than ever to connect, engage and share with each other in real-time–and now is an opportunity to join a virtual book club and bond with friends online over a good read!
Virtual book clubs are seeing a big surge right now, and we can see why. Books help you relax, stimulate your brain and make the hours pass quickly–plus, they’re perfect for sparking conversations and dialogue online. Here are some tips for joining–or creating!–an awesome online book club during this unpredictable time and unprecedented health crisis.
How do I find a virtual book club to join?
There are so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. Check out this list of virtual book clubs to find one that may be right for you:
- Book Riot’s list of “15 Best Virtual Book Clubs” has a club for all reading preferences, from a feminist reading club created by Emma Watson to groups for history lovers, New Adult fiction and more.
- The Quarantine Book Club is hosting daily discussions with authors on a range of diverse, interesting topics (tickets are $5).
- Goodreads has a dedicated community of online groups for any of your favorite genres, as well as LibraryThing which has dropped membership fees for the time being.
- Want more recommendations? Despite some overlap, Bustle and Celedon have also compiled lists of online clubs!
I’m already part of an in-person book club. How do we “go virtual” and meet online?
If you want to meet virtually with your already-established book club, Refinery29 has some excellent tips for moving your club online, including:
- Keep to a set schedule and theme just as you would if you were meeting in person. It can also help to create an online calendar to share with the group.
- Make sure everyone has access to the selected book. Check out the Books Forward step-by-step instruction guides for how to download ebooks / audiobooks from independent bookstores and libraries from home. Still have questions? Call our #BooksForwardHelpline and we’ll walk you through it!
- Choose an online platform to host your meeting. You can host group video calls for anywhere between 10 and 32 people using Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger Group Calls.
- Consider creating a group account for your club on Goodreads, where you can a). Open the club to new members who are seeking to bond with other booklovers right now, and/or b). Have access to an easy built-in forum for members to chat and share their thoughts in real-time.
I’d love for my book club to connect with authors directly. How do I arrange for authors to “visit” my online book club?
With the cancellation of book signings and literary talks, authors are being hit hard by the quarantine like everyone else. Writers love to connect with readers, and you can invite an author to join your virtual book club for a video call! At Books Forward we have many authors available to join book clubs for online discussions, including:
- USA Today bestselling suspense novelist Jenny Milchman, a celebrated national speaker who can also keynote (virtually for now!) with writers groups
- The Nina Daughter author Tori Eldridge, who provides a special book club kit on her website for her “Best Mystery Books of the Year”-heralded thriller
- Award-winning DNA of Democracy author Richard C. Lyons, who looks back at the historically distinctive DNA that has shaped our democracy today
- Celebrated author Roy Freirich, with a debut that could be paired with a viewing of its major motion picture adaptation, and a brand new psychological thriller release
- Wall Street Journal bestselling thriller author Emily Bleeker, who offers engaging discussion questions on her website for each of her lauded releases
- Positive Aging advocate Stephanie Raffelock, whose accompanying podcast offers more opportunity for engaging as she inspires readers to celebrate each moment
- Historical Fiction mastermind Michelle Cameron, who schedules Skype visits to celebrate the two courageous women of different faiths in her newest coming-of-age story
- Dark comedy novelist Brandy Ferner, a brave mind who shows there is no topic she’s too afraid to explore around the relentlessness of motherhood
- Debut talent Alice Early, who takes readers to the magical Caribbean Island of Nevis in her cross-genre literary tale
- Cozy mystery favorite Debra H. Goldstein, who will share book-themed recipes and have your book club members laughing through the meeting
- Divorce lawyer and family therapist David and Julie Bulitt, who bring a unique perspective and especially helpful expertise on the extra “togetherness” families will experience in the coming months
And there’s more. If you prefer a certain genre, email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out via our Instagram (instagram.com/booksforwardpr). We’ll help connect you with your next great read – and a virtual author visit!
I’m not sure what to read next–what would you recommend?