Celebrating Book Groups
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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!