How To Start A Book Club: Some Recommendations

Starting a Book Club: Some Recommendations

By Sarah Eiden

Are you a bibliophile? Do you devour a book when you first get it, refusing to put it down until

you’ve read the last word? Do you have problems finding people to share the love of books with? You can learn how to start a book club, and that might be just the thing for you.

Consider starting a book club if you can’t find one. What type of book will the club focus on? Christian, men’s, women’, children’s, science fiction, classics – the choices are as endless as the number of new books that hit the market each year.

Find participants by making and hanging flyers at local businesses, colleges, or the public library. Announce the time and place of the first meeting (restroom facilities are a must). Include your contact information and whether refreshments will be served. Ask attendees to bring a list of books for consideration. Waiting for the first meeting will be more difficult than letting others know that you’re beginning the club.

The day of the first meeting, arrive early so people won’t enter an empty room. Have some lists available – the list of suggested books and who recommended them, a sign-up for refreshments if you’re going to have them, and contact information for attendees. Use these lists each week.

Make sure the room is clean, set up the chairs in a

circle, and have the refreshments set out. Introduce yourself as people arrive. Hand out nametags, at least for the first couple of meetings, until people get familiar with one another. Let them know you’re glad they’ve joined you.

Have an agenda for the first meeting; let the others help to decide how often and how long each meeting will be, and where to meet. Let everyone have a say. Even though it was your idea, if you play dictator with it, the book club won’t last for long.

During the first meeting you’ll want to:

• Set rules about the books you will read – limit prices so everyone can participate.

• Decide how to ensure everyone has a copy of the book to read.

• Discuss what they expect fr-om the group? What are their responsibilities?

• Decide if there should be restrictions concerning pets, smoking, cell phone calls during the meeting?

• Discuss whether members will be allowed to bring guests?

• Choose if there will be a size limit to the book club, or will people be able to join as they learn about it? (Smaller groups generally work better to give everyone a chance to participate)

At the first meeting, suggest a current bestseller as the first book to discuss, one that has universal appeal, or let the group decide. You may also choose to accept a current “book of the month” club selection, depending on the type of book club you’re starting. Then break up into small groups to get to know each other and enjoy some refreshments if they were planned. Try to speak with each person to make them feel comfortable and a part of the group.

At subsequent meetings, allow the person who suggested the book start the discussion. Give everyone a chance to talk, possibly going around the room, giving a specific time frame in which to share. Be ready to change the course of the meeting if one person gets too long winded. Choose the next book to discuss before you leave for the evening.

Don’t stress over the organizational issues or you will lose sight of why you started the book club. Remember to enjoy the opportunity to read and discuss new books with other bibliophiles. That is why you learned how to start a book club in the first place, wasn’t it?

Sarah enjoys sharing gourmet candles in her community and teaching others how to start their own candle business fr-om home. Learn more at