An initiative of the American Library Association

Organize Your Book Club

By Anna Ford

Why Online Organizational Tools are Effective for Book Clubs

Have you ever hosted a book club event that was poorly attended? You read the book, cooked a meal, prepared discussion questions - and no one showed up? Have months gone by with no book club meeting because of calendaring difficulties? Have you read a book that your entire club found terrible? If you can relate to these maddening scenarios, you are not alone. Organizational snafus can take the fun out of book club. Poor organization can cause a book club meeting to flop or a club to fizzle.

Fear not, there are ways to overcome the challenges of book club planning. Online tools to the rescue! There are websites to help with organizational tasks such as inviting new members, scheduling meetings, and choosing books. These tools can take the stress out of running or belonging to a book club.

Book clubs come in all shapes and sizes: library-based, neighborhood-focused, city-wide, amongst friends, genre-specific, social, literary, intellectual, in-person, virtual, etc. It doesn’t matter what type of book club you are in; all book clubs have organizational needs. Management will be key to your club’s success.

The Benefits of a Well-Organized Book Club

When your club utilizes an online management tool or website you’ll spend less time dealing with unruly email chains, coordinating events, herding members, and tracking books. Meeting attendance will improve and communication will be smoother. Since sound organization can take the strain out of managing a book club, it affords members more time to focus on reading, which in turn enhances book club discussions. Using an online tool can also help also you start a book club, especially if the logistics of forming a book club seem daunting.

Online organizational tools provide a platform not just for basic planning but also for the sharing of ideas, perspectives, reviews, book recommendations, photos, and even recipes. The reason we joined book club in the first place!

Book Club, Meet Bookclubz

Bookclubz is an easy-to-use online tool that can help you organize your book club. Unlike facebook groups or meet-ups, Bookclubz was designed specifically by and for book clubs. The site helps you manage your book club members, schedule meetings, track RSVPs, send messages, rate books, keep a library of books your club has read, and create a list of books your club would like to read. You can also see what’s trending across other book clubs as inspiration for your next book club read.

The mission of Bookclubz is simple, help book clubs get organized so that they can stay together.

How Bookclubz Can Make Club Management a Breeze

The first step is creating your book club page on Bookclubz.com. You will then be given a unique invitation link to send to your members, inviting them to join your club’s private page.

When a meeting is scheduled, members will receive an email notification, making it easier to get on everyone’s calendar. When a club member creates an upcoming meeting, they also have the option to designate a host to take responsibility for coordinating event details or leading the discussion. As meetings are edited (things come up!) or messages are posted, members will automatically receive reminder notifications via email. After a meeting, each member is prompted to rate the book. (Rating the book is also great fodder for discussion!)

Through your club’s page you can see your member’s contact list and use the meeting scheduling feature to share notes on your current read and reviews for past book club books. Bookclubz allows each club to keep a library of “books we’ve read.” There, you can see every book your club has ever read together, and how you rated it.

Take the Stress Out of Choosing a Book and Scheduling Meetings

The most difficult aspects of book club organization are often scheduling meetings and choosing what books to read. Members are busy. Tastes vary. Through Bookclubz, you can poll your book club to choose dates and vote on books for future meetings!

Each member has their own profile where they can keep a list of books they’ve read and books they want to read. All members can automatically share book recommendations with their club.
When your you club needs more inspiration, Bookclubz displays the most popular and highest rated books across all clubs using the site and provides discussion questions for popular books as a guide.

More Organizational Tools

There are additional tools out there to help your book club with reading recommendations, online promotions, and book tracking:

Book Movement
The Book Club Cookbook
Girly Book Club
BookBrowse

Also, many publishers have created book club resources, blogs, and newsletters. Below is a sample:

Book Club Girl (Harper Collins)
BookClubbish (Harlequin)
PRH Book Clubs eNewsletter and Book Club Brochures (Penguin Random House)
Random House Reader’s Circle (Random House)
Penguin Reading Group Guides (Penguin)
Knopf Reading Group Center (Knopf Doubleday)
Crown Discussion Guides (Crown Publishing Group)

Anna Ford is the Co-Founder of Bookclubz.com. An avid reader and book club enthusiast, she joined her first book club in 2005. Since then, she’s formed, led, and actively participated in seven book clubs across multiple cities. Anna co-created Bookclubz to better manage her own club and free it from never ending emails chains. Now, the site serves thousands of book clubs all over the world. Bookclubz is an online organizational tool with a simple mission: help book clubs stay organized, so that they can stay together.

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