How to start an online book club, and the top Instagram accounts to inspire you

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Hollie Richardson
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As many of us turn to reading during self-isolation, here are tips on how to start an online book club. And, if you need a little inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of the best ones already out there.

Social distancing means that we’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors for at least the next few weeks. This isn’t what anybody wants to be doing but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the responsible and right thing to do. 

However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. We finally have plenty of free time to get through all those books that we’ve been relentlessly buying over the last year. Reading also a good way of relieving stress and anxiety, which a lot of us are experiencing right now. 

But one of the biggest joys about reading books is talking about them afterwards. That’s why there is so much love for book clubs. As we can’t meet up with our friends to dissect our reads over a glass of wine, it’s time to turn to the internet for online and Instagram book clubs.

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How to start an online book club

According to Penguin, you need to ask some questions before setting up a book club.

  • What kind of book club do I want to start?
  • What is the purpose of my book club?
  • How will the books be selected?

Also, you need to decide on that all-important name. Once you know what kind of reading community you’re looking to create, it’s time to get the plan in motion by selecting a platform.

Bookstr is a space where you can both host and find an existing book club. You could also set up a Facebook Group, Tapatalk or Instagram page. Make sure you take some time to learn how your chosen platform works so that you can hit the ground running on your first meeting.

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It’s then time to invite people. Penguin says an ideal book club size is between eight and 16 members. Mix it up a bit by asking three or four friends or colleagues to invite their own friend. You can then decide on and share dates for your discussions, along with details on how each book is chosen – doing a digital poll is one idea that gives everyone a chance to have their say.

Then all that’s left to do is… read and enjoy book club.

woman bed book
Online book clubs might just get you through self-isolation.

Best online book clubs

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, or would rather just join an existing one, here is a selection of popular online book clubs.

Reese’s Book Club

Actor Reese Witherspoon loves reading, so she set up Reese’s Book Club on Instagram. Each month she selects a book and people discuss it in the comments section. Easy!

Current book:  The Jetsetters by  Amanda Eyre Ward

Beth’s Book Club

Beth Sandland runs Beth’s Book Club, a Facebook group that holds scheduled monthly meetings to discuss each chosen book. You can also follow the club on Instagram.

Current read: The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

Oprah’s Book Club

What would this list be without Oprah’s Book Club? Oprah talks to her fans about the books by sharing videos on her website, and you can chat about these reads on her Instagram page.

Current book: Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

How can I access books during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Amazon has announced it will suspend non-essential shipments to UK and US warehouses. Unfortunately, this means books. Going to the library or the local book shop isn’t advised either, and it’s likely we won’t actually be able to soon. If you’ve got a Kindle, great! If not, there arestill ways to access books. 

  • Download the audiobook of your chosen read.
  • Borrow an e-book from your library (find information on your local library website). 
  • Download an app onto your phone (Apple Books, Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books).

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And that should be everything you need to set up an online book club. Good luck and remember: the main aim is to just enjoy it.

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Images: Getty