Celebrating Book Groups

Celebrating Book Groups

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There’s a celebration of book groups going on! Yesterday was National Reading Group Day in England and US book clubs are active in reading communities nationwide. Readers are gathering in local forums to discuss and sometimes debate chosen titles.

Book Groups Have History
Book groups have a long history as social events and intellectual gatherings. In the last century, book clubs supported the growth of the Book-of-the-Month-Club and the founding of Literary Guild. Books were distributed to club members by mail. Today books are accessed in brick and mortar stores, via audio, and online. Google search results for ‘book club’ total more than 40 million hits compared with 424,000 in 2003.

Book club membership is greatest among those 65 years and older, the majority of whom are retired and living on a lower income than during their working years. The majority of book club members are women although men are no less active when they are involved. One-third of book club members belong to more than one group.

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Figure 1. How books are chosen

How Are Books Chosen?
Books read by books clubs are most often chosen from email newsletters and websites/blogs. Personal recommendations of books by club members usually stem from another channel. Figure 1 shows how book clubs learn about books to read overall (source: Bookbrowse annual survey).  The most frequent referral sources for books ready by book clubs are email newsletters, websites and blogs, and personal recommendations.

Many online booksellers offer discounts to bulk purchases of books, including Editorial Rx Press; readers are invited to email us for discount rates of multi-copy orders (email: info@editorialrxpress.com).

How to Find or Start a Book Club?
There are many ways to find a book group or club to join. Suggestions include researching for local groups on Meetup, checking with your local library, and joining an online club such as Goodreads or Online Book Club.

If your preference is to start a group. RealSimple has a wonderful checklist you can follow. Steps include deciding on the group’s tone and theme, how to communicate the availability of your new club, determining the best time to meet, establishing the group’s ground rules, deciding how books and each meeting’s moderator will be chosen, and identifying whether you want your group to communicate between meetings.

Future blogs will explore how to facilitate a book group and offer sample discussion guide questions. For now, we wish you much fun and stimulation in your current or new book group!

Happiness is_v1

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One response to “Celebrating Book Groups”

  1. I love this Deb! I have been in two different book groups over the past 25+ years and can’t imagine my life without it. One of my favorite things about being in a book group, in addition to the friendships, is that it pushes me to read different genres of books, and books by authors I may have never considered if left to my own devices. Before I joined a book group, I tended to have favorite authors and genres (generally preferring fiction to non-fiction) and wasn’t as likely to branch out. I have been in my current book club, The Calusa Readers, for 15 years now. We meet once a month on the second Wednesday, and that date is set in stone, as far as I’m concerned. Of course there have circumstances when I’ve had to miss a meeting, but It always leaves a void in that month.

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