You don’t have to be Oprah to start a book club. But, how to get one off the ground may be the question plaguing you. Never fear, it isn’t hard at all, and we’re going to tell you how to launch your very own club in six simple, easy steps.
- Choose your style. What type of group do you want? Highly social? Seriously academic? Somewhere in between? Will you be the leader? Will you share the responsibility with another member or will you rotate who leads meetings?
- Decide on a theme or genre of book. What will you read? Will you stick to one genre, like romance or finance? Fiction or nonfiction? Poetry only? Or will you read a variety of genres? Does anything go?
- Set limits. How big or small do you want your book club to be? The size of your group may be determined by location; if you want to meet in members’ homes, it’s probably best to keep the number of members to 15 or less. If you plan to meet in a public place like a library meeting room, apartment complex clubhouse, or local coffee house, you can increase the size of the group according to what the venue can comfortably handle.
- Make a schedule. How often will you meet? Once a month? Once a quarter? Map out a schedule that you can email to your members once it is set.
- Choose your first book or series of books. Based on #2 above, choose what your club’s first read will be. If you want to keep a list or notes on which books the club has read, you can ask if anyone would like to act as club secretary, and keep a journal.
- Gather member emails and communicate date, time, location, book choice, and any other pertinent details such as any refreshments that will be served, and who is responsible for them. When meeting in a member’s home, will that member be providing the food and drinks, or will you have a potluck? Who will be in charge of the menu? How will you handle refreshments if meeting in a coffeehouse or restaurant? Will members take turns picking up the tab, or is everyone responsible for their own bill?
A final tip from Oprah (after all, she is the queen of book clubs!), if you cannot decide on a theme or genre of book for your club to read, you can start by asking members to bring two or three suggestions to the first meeting for the group to vote on, and see what develops from there. And if you’re loaning or sharing any books with your friends, check out our helpful bookplates to help you keep track of which books go where. Most important of all, have fun!