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How to Host a Virtual Book Club During Quarantine

If you’ve ever been invited to a book club or tried to organize one yourself, you know it can be hard to commit. With work, commuting, finding a babysitter, by the end of the day, you may find it hard to leave the comfort of your living room. Even if the book and company are amazing!

Fortunately, we have been forced to find other ways to socialize in recent months. With self-isolation and quarantine measures in place, social-distancing parties are on the rise. Book clubs are another get-together that are benefiting from a virtual make-over. 

Virtual book clubs are expanding the possibilities of hosting a successful event. Imagine hosting a virtual book club with friends and family from around the country or world. There are even global book clubs that you can join if you don't feel like hosting.

Before you jump into organizing your next event, here are some tips on how to run a virtual book club:

Find the right platform. With all the video conferencing platforms out there, you may be wondering which is the best for your virtual book club. When researching the options, consider these things:

  • Is it free or will I need to pay?
  • Is there a time or occupancy limit?
  • Is it easy-to-access or will my guests need to create an account or download an application?

Our favorite? Skype. It’s free, easy to set-up on your PC, Mac or phone, and accommodates up to 50 guests.

Limit the number of guests. You may be tempted to invite everyone on your friend's list but keep in mind that it’s not as easy to have a fluid conversation over video conferencing. Internet problems can cause delays, buffering and other problems that can lead to members inadvertently interrupting each other. Which leads us into the next tip…

Create a structure. Virtual book clubs may need to have more structure than in-person book clubs. The goal is to give everyone a chance to participate. Consider assigning a moderator who can ask questions, guide the conversation, and keep members in check. It may seem counter-intuitive at first but once you get into the flow, you'll find that an organized book club discussion can still be fun.

Pick a great book. The challenge of any successful book club is, of course, choosing a great book that will have guests debating and discussing for hours. You can rotate and allow each member to choose a different book every month. Or you can create a poll where everyone can vote.

Need help choosing your next big read? Osusume makes personalized recommendations based on what type of books you love reading.

Bonus: make it a themed social-distancing party! Are you reading a Japanese novel this month? Encourage members to order in some delicious Japanese take-out or share a recipe for matcha-flavored treats. Creating a common theme for your virtual book club can help members bond and feel closer together, no matter how far apart they are.

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