Book clubs are easy to find in today’s digital era but finding the one right for you is the hard part. Perhaps you only want to read a certain type of book or discuss it with a certain type of person. Maybe, you’re not a huge fan of people and don’t want to have that face-to-face interaction but want to take part in a lively discussion.
What is the difference between an online book club and a more traditional book club, and which is right for you?
Online Book Clubs
Online book clubs are increasingly popular with celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson starting up hugely popular online book clubs that allow members to converse and discuss the monthly book in forums or on social media. Even Kim Kardashian attempted her own online book club with Chrissy Teigen through their social media channels.
The use of social media has opened up the way celebrities are able to interact with their fans on a more personal level. Celebrities like Watson, Witherspoon and Kardashian are able to share their interests and exert their influence on a whole host of people who follow their lives intimately. Even Oprah Winfrey has embraced social media, re-launching Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 in 2012, one year after her 15-year book club ended when her show finished its run.
Given the majority of people in book clubs are women – despite the majority of authors being male – it is no surprise that it is female celebrities with large followings that are taking the lead in online and social media book clubs. Social media sites are an ideal avenue for those in the public eye to share their ideas and books with their followers, some of whom may not have ever thought about joining a book club before.
The most popular platform for online book groups is Goodreads: a social site that allows avid readers to share their reviews and reading accomplishments with friends and the public. There are also a plethora of Goodreads groups to choose from and you can find a group for every reading taste that not only suggests books you might like but have specific discussion threads for the monthly book.
Traditional Book Clubs
The traditional book club is the where a group of people meet monthly and discuss the book (or books) that they have spent the last month reading. Most groups read the same book to discuss the themes, merits and plot, while some groups read different books to share with the rest of the group.
If you prefer the intimacy of face-to-face interactions and lively round-table discussions then a traditional book club might be the ideal choice for you. Traditional book groups can start with a shared love of reading and over time turns into an unbreakable bond of friendship as the years roll by.
Traditional book clubs are often started up by common interests: there are mothers’ book clubs, reading groups for those with English as an additional language, genre-specific book clubs, writers’ book clubs or location-specific book groups.
One of the traditional book clubs is run through the CAE. CAE Book Groups is Australia’s largest literary book club with just under 1000 titles for members to choose from. They were established in 1947 to give greater access to literature for people in Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Membership to CAE Book Groups is a yearly fee with your introductory meeting free. The cost includes books and reading guides delivered and picked up from your door, as well as access to its eBook library. The members of each group choose their list of books for the year, increasing your chances of reading a book that interests you. So if you want a hassle-free book group experience, then this one might be for you.
Which one will you choose?
Do you really have to choose just one?
The short answer is no. Why not play around with some online book clubs and maybe join a local group? If you don’t like the book or the people, there are plenty of options out there. Join that feminist book group, romance book club or the science fiction online group. Whatever you fancy there is a book club just for you.