How to Start a Book Club

Interested in joining a book club? You can check out existing books clubs at your local library, neighborhood/community group, or area book stores. Or you may start your own.

The basics include:

1) Recruiting members. Ask two friends to each invite two people and grow from there. Or post flyers/ads in community/church bulletins, book stores, libraries, or coffee shops.

2) Deciding on the size of the group. Attendance is never 100%. You may want to have enough members so that the group can still hold a lively discussion if people are absent.

3) Choosing a meeting place. Take turns hosting in every members’ homes each month. Or meet at a local restaurant or library meeting room.

4) Setting guidelines for how the book is chosen. The person who hosts that month can make the choice. Members can also suggest books and take a vote. Local bookstores have reading suggestions on-line and may offer a group discount. (Paperbacks are less expensive than hardcovers.) Librarians are well-read and can make suggestions as well.

5) Deciding who leads the discussion by designating a moderator or taking turns with this responsibility. The most important aspect is that everyone has a chance to participate. Set rules to guide you such as not talking over each other, not monopolizing the conversation, limit getting off topic by too many “related personal experiences.”  Some book clubs have a gavel that is passed so each person can “have the floor.” Others utilize a much less formal “joining in” format.

6) Discussion questions. Some books come with discussion questions. Ask each member to come with two questions or points to share. The host could research a bit of information on the author/time period to share. A good way to begin is to ask people to rate the book from 1 -10 or ask who liked/didn’t care for the book and why.

7) Provide beverages and snacks. The hostess can provide everything or each person may bring something to share. (Remember it’s a book club, not a cook club! Keep it simple.)

There is a plethora of information available on-line. Just Google “How to Start a Book Club” and you will be well on your way. Books such as The Reading Group Handbook by Rachel W. Jacobson are an excellent resource.