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Tips For Running a Great Book Club

August 31, 2018

Why starting a book club is a great idea:

A story is always better if you have someone to share it with – and that’s why book clubs are so wonderful. They are a chance to meet up with like-minded bibliophiles for some good old-fashioned book banter (and bubbly). You’re likely already a member of a book club (and if you aren’t, we highly recommend you jump on board the bandwagon), but have you ever thought of starting your own book club? If you have, here are some tips to get you started and guide you along the way.

Establish the intention of your book club:

Why do you want to start a book club, and what do you expect to get out of it? A good book club is one that has an intention and purpose – for example, you may want to create a book club that encourages people to branch out and read things they otherwise would never touch. Maybe you want your book club to be more serious, to talk about important issues and ideas. Or, maybe you want to just get the girls together over a glass of bubbly and see where it all goes from there? Whatever your vision, make sure it’s clear from the start, so your book club remains consistent and attracts the right kind of people.

Who will you invite to your book club?

Do your friends already love to read? Great! You can start a book club with people you already know and love. Or maybe you’re looking to branch out and meet some new people. Also great! Book clubs are a fantastic opportunity to make new friends and connect with other book-lovers. Do a call-out online, or make some flyers to scatter around your neighbourhood, your local library included, see who expresses interest then go from there.

Establish a meeting space:

When most people think of a book club, they typically picture a living-room setting, comfortable and intimate, with a delicious spread of snacks and nibbles within arm’s reach. Whilst this sounds delightful, it’s not the only book club setting. Your book club can be held literally anywhere – in a café, park, house, or even online! If you’re looking to start a book club with people you’ve never met before, an online book club is a good (and safe) option to get you started. You can set up a Facebook group chat, or schedule a shared call to discuss your book club title.

Decide on a book club date and time:

Book clubs work well when there is a consistent schedule that all members follow. Decide on how regularly you would like your book club meet-ups to occur – maybe once a fortnight, or once a month – and then lock in the same date and time for each book club! For example – the last Friday of every month at 8pm. This way your members know to clear their schedule and make time for book club.

Decide on what type of books you will be discussing:

Ah, the question on every book lover’s lips – how do you decide on just one book to discuss!? It’s certainly a tough decision – which is why we suggest you break down the criteria. Maybe you only want to discuss books from a certain genre – crime, romance, or historical fiction. Or maybe you want to discuss titles by the same author each week. Whatever the criteria for choosing your book club title, just make sure it suits the tone and intention of your club.

Decide how you will pick titles:

It’s never easy to make a choice, especially when a whole group of people have to agree with the final decision. If you’re going to start a book club, you have to decide how you are going to select your book club title each week/month. Are you going to be in charge of deciding each time? Or do you want it to be a group decision? Maybe a voting system? A suggestion pool? A lucky dip? Or, everyone takes a turn deciding which title to read? Whatever it is, make sure everyone agrees and is happy – no one likes a sad book club!

Always be prepared:

Book clubs thrive on structure. Discussion will often flow naturally, but always be sure to prepare some key notes or discussion points that can be elaborated on. This way, there will always be something to talk about – quiet book clubs are the worst!

Follow the leader:

Book clubs work best when there is a leader – someone to mitigate and monitor the discussion. This person is usually the one preparing the questions and making sure the discussion stays on track. If it’s your book club, you’ll probably want to be the leader, but don’t be afraid to pass on the baton! You can have a different leader for each book club session, just to mix things up and make everyone feel involved. This also takes the pressure off you to come up with questions for every book.

Utilise available resources:

A lot of publishers have book club notes available on their websites. Use them! They are a great resource and take the work out of coming up with interesting discussion points.

Most importantly…have fun!

Book clubs are super fun and social – try not to get too serious with it! Remember that people will probably have different opinions of certain books, and that’s fine. Just be sure to keep the discussion respectful, and remember to enjoy yourself!

Happy reading!


  1. Debra

    Is there a good number of paticipants to have in a book club group? How many is too many?

  2. Yvonne

    I’m in a Book Club, made up of ladies from the Ocer 50’s Village I live in. The group has been going for about 15 years and I’ve been a member for about 7 years now and I love it. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know each of the 10 members of our group.

    We meet at each other’s homes and the owner of that home has chosen the book which is handed out the month before, and they lead the discussion.

    I’ve been introduced to books I would never have read, some I have enjoyed and some not. We get our books from local library and each member gets a book and has about a month to read.

    Discussions are always interesting and lively. Great way to meet new friends and new books 📚

  3. Sandra Robinson

    Hi Debra, We have 12 members – too many if we all turn up to the meetings, but we usually have 6-8 members come to meetings and that is a good number. Too few is as bad as too many for having a good conversation, especially if you are trying to talk as ‘one group’ – We meet in a Book Cafe so 6-8 can sit comfortably around the one table and chat comfortably.

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