The World of Online Book Clubs

A tried and tested method for reading frequently.

frog and books


In most English-speaking countries, it’s commonplace to know at least one person who is part of a book club. This could be an online space or a meeting people have once a month. Whatever the backdrop, book clubs have remained standard practice in the reading community. But this raises the question: How are these clubs still enduring?

Due to the pandemic, our reliance on online communities has grown. As reading becomes more and more digitized, online book clubs have gained popularity. In 2020, the usual meetups people would have to discuss their fiction of choice were replaced by Zoom, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram. Communities were said to have migrated to these online spaces in significant numbers. It is speculated that this is due to the importance of community and the positive mindset that comes with reading.

In this blog, we will explore all the ways that Bookclubs have continued to benefit readers. This will range from mental benefits to educational benefits. Keep reading for a full breakdown of modern-day book clubs, and why you should join one today.

What is a Bookclub?

A Book Club is a meeting where people discuss their opinions, likes, dislikes, and theories about books. The first gained popularity in the 19th century, as an intellectual outlet for people who were barred from education. This practice continued well into the 20th century as a method for women to read literary novels that weren’t available in their schooling. Book clubs acted as an equalizer for education – allowing readers to take education into their own hands.

Reading has been regarded for centuries as one of the best methods for improving the mind, body, and soul. Book clubs today are used as a method of promoting a better lifestyle full of accomplishment and mental activity. The social aspects of book clubs have also been linked to longer lifespans and a reduced risk of memory loss.

Thinking of starting your book club? Join the hoards of people today that enjoy this social and thought-provoking activity. Here’s what you will need:

  • Willing participants: this could range anywhere from family members, classmates, or people you meet online. Book clubs are most effective when everyone is interested in the material. Try creating a polling system to allow people a sense of choice and collaboration. You could also alternate between weeks allowing each person a chance to choose.
  • Sources: Each person has their method of sourcing their books. Pick whichever works best for you. This could be a combination of second-hand books, eBooks, or even borrowed reading material.
  • Schedule: Map out a time when you will all meet to discuss the book. This depends on everyone’s schedule and how long people agree to read. The general sweet spot for this is monthly. But if you find people are reading faster, it could be bi-weekly as well. This will make it easier for you to plan reading into your daily tasks.
  • Location: with many book clubs making their way into online spaces, this could be as simple as joining a video call. You could also plan for more formalized meetups in public parks or the homes of the participants. The location is flexible, with many book clubs using a mixture of video and in-person meetups.

What are the Benefits of Online Book Clubs?

  • Brain Health: Reading, in general, has been praised for its ability to prolong life well into our retirement years. But this is doubly effective when combined with the social aspects of book clubs.
  • Stress Relief: Our mental health is greatly benefited by evidence to suggest that reading is capable of lowering our blood pressure and overall stress levels.
  • Education: If you find yourself stuck in the same work environment and want to learn something new, reading in a book club can be an effective method. This is because you not only learn from the book but others and their interpretations.
  • Confidence: Many people suffer from a condition called imposter syndrome. This is when you believe all of your abilities are the result of dumb luck or circumstance. People with imposter syndrome greatly benefit from group learning environments because they can see the direct cause and effect of their learning. Readers gain their confidence back by openly discussing their ideas in a safe, welcoming environment.
  • Creativity: Book clubs can force the reader to ask themselves questions they had never thought of. It asks the reader to put themselves in the shoes of the characters. All of this questioning in such a collaborative environment can result in boosts of creativity. Book clubs are a breeding ground for thinking outside the box.
  • Networking: Have you recently moved? Are you looking for like-minded people to share your ideas with? Book clubs offer a unique and personable way to meet people. You’ll avoid the small talk and have something interesting to jump off from. If these are people you’ve just met, it’s also a great way to understand their world views and experiences.
  • Perspective: You will always be able to learn new perspectives with these clubs. You might find that your takeaways from a book are completely different from other people. Book clubs increase your sense of perspective, allowing you to be more open-minded to other ideas and points of view.
  • Insight: Sometimes solitary reading can feel like a one-sided experience. But having to share this experience with a group of people can force you to think more about what you’re reading. You can spend the week running up to your meeting thinking deeply about your reading material. Book clubs promote insight and reading between the lines.
  • Motivation: At the beginning of the year, many people set aside a pile of books they plan to read in the upcoming months. These resolutions often fall short because life gets in the way and it’s much easier to simply watch TV. With online book clubs, you are being held to your promise, and this can be excellent motivation. Knowing you have to read the book in exactly a month for other people can help jumpstart your reading, allowing you to keep your promises.
  • Accomplishment: The most beneficial part of all, is the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a book. Studies have showed that following through with something you promised you would do is one of the best ways to boost confidence. It also encourages your productivity in the future. The saying goes “If you want something done, ask the busiest person”.

Finally, an online book club is only as good as the morale of its readers. It’s important to be enthusiastic about reading to enjoy the process. Don’t be afraid to test the water with book clubs until you find the right collection of people with similar interests to you. A lot of book clubs fail or fizzle out because the people involved don’t have compatible tastes or personalities. Take time to find the right book club with the right people.

frog holds books

The 18 Best Online Bookclubs to Join Today:

1. Reese’s Book Club

Reese Witherspoon’s online book club has been a huge success. The club, which is open to everyone, meets online once a month to discuss a different book. Reese as the book club leader guides the discussion and invites guest experts to join in. The club has been so successful that Reese has even started her own publishing company, which produces books for the club. If you’re looking for an online book club that is both fun and informative, be sure to check out Reese Witherspoon’s club.

2. Belletrist

Belletrist’s online book club is the perfect way to connect with other book-lovers and discuss your latest reads. Each month, Belletrist selects a new book to read and discuss, and members can log in to the online forum to chat about the book, share their thoughts, and ask questions. The club is also a great way to discover new favorite authors and titles, as members can share recommendations with each other.

3. Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club

The Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club is a great way to share your love of reading with like-minded individuals from all over the world. Not only will you be able to discover new books and authors, but you’ll also be able to connect with other members on a deeper level. In addition, this book club service offers a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest literary news and trends.

4. New York Public Library & WNYC’s Virtual Book Club

The New York Public Library and WNYC Radio have teamed up to launch a virtual book club. The online book club will meet once a month to discuss a selected title. Each meeting will feature a different guest host, who will lead the discussion and provide insights into the book. To join the book club, simply read the selected title and come prepared to discuss it. This current book club is open to everyone, and new members are always welcome. To find out more, visit the New York Public Library website or the WNYC website.

5. Our Shared Shelf

Founded in 2015 by British actress and activist Emma Watson, Our Shared Shelf is a digital book club with a feminist twist. Open to all genders, the club encourages its members to read and discuss works by diverse authors (ie. Queer Women, BIPOC authors, nonbinary people) with the goal of promoting gender equality. With over 200,000 members worldwide, Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf has had a profound impact on the landscape of online book clubs for dedicated bookworms.

6. Oprah’s Book Club

Oprah’s Book Club is an online book club founded by Oprah Winfrey in 1996. The club is a community of book lovers running reading groups and literary discussion groups. The club’s website includes a directory of books for review, reading guides, and discussion questions. The site also features a blog, which offers advice on starting and running a book club. Oprah’s Book Club has been credited with sparking a resurgence in interest in reading groups and literary discussion.

7. Netflix Book Club

Netflix Book Club is an online book club that was created to help promote reading and discussion of excellent titles. The club is open to anyone who wishes to join, and membership is free. The book club meeting time is online once a month, and members take turns choosing and leading the discussion for a book that they have read. Any genre of book is welcome, and the club strives to maintain a balance of book club recommendations ranging from fiction and non-fiction selections.

8. Now Read This

Now Read This is an online book club that is co-sponsored by The New York Times and PBS. Every week, a different short story or essay is discussed on the Now Read This website, and readers are invited to post their thoughts and commentary. There is also a dedicated Now Read This Facebook group, where members can continue the conversation about the week’s selections. In addition to promoting literary discussion, Now Read also aims to introduce readers to new authors and genres.

9. The Reddit Book Club

The Reddit Book Club is an online book club that meets once a month to discuss a pre-selected book. Participation is open to everyone, and members can suggest books for future discussion. The club typically reads fiction, but non-fiction and other genres are also occasionally discussed. The discussions are moderated by a member of the club, and all members are encouraged to participate.

10. Addicted to YA Goodreads Book Club

The Addicted to YA Goodreads Book Club is an age-appropriate book club for young adults who love to read and discuss Young Adult literature. The club was founded in 2013 by four friends who were passionate about reading and discussing books. Since then, the club has grown to include over 500 members from all over the world. The club meets online every month to discuss a different Young Adult book. Members of the club are also encouraged to post reviews of the books they read, and to participate in online discussion forums.

11. Between Two Books

Between Two Books is an online book club pick that helps you connect with other readers to discuss great books. Whether you’re looking for a new book to read or want to chat about your latest favorite, Between Two Books is the perfect place for you. With discussion forums, author interviews, and book reviews, Between Two Books has everything you need to get the most out of your reading experience. Plus, it’s free to join!

12. Read with Jenna

Read With Jenna is an online book club started by Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. The book club is designed to encourage people to read more and discuss what they’re reading with others. Every month, Jenna selects a different book for her community of readers to read, and she hosts conversations about books and Q&A sessions with the author. Jenna also posts video interviews with well-known writers, literary experts, and celebrities.

13. Ladies Lit Squad

The Ladies Lit Squad is an online book club for authors of color. The goal of this current book club is to promote literacy and provide a space for women of color to connect with each other. The book club meets online once a month to discuss a new book. Members of this book community are encouraged to post their thoughts and comments on the book club’s website. In addition to discussing books, the Ladies Lit Squad also provides information on literacy initiatives and events. The book club is open to all women of color and is a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals.

14. The Guardian’s Reading Group

The Guardian’s Reading Group is an online book club that meets once a month to discuss a pre-selected book club dicussion. The group is moderated by a Guardian journalist, who leads the discussion and invites guest contributors to provide additional perspectives. To join the group, simply purchase the book of the month from The Guardian’s online store. Then, log in to the Reading Group website on the first Monday of the month to participate in the live chat. This book website is perfect for avid readers.

15. Salon London

Salon London is an online book club that connects a community of book lovers from all over the world. Launched in 2015, Salon London has become a go-to destination for book lovers looking for interesting and thought-provoking reads. Each month, Salon London selects a new book to read and discuss, and members are encouraged to post their thoughts and questions online. In addition to the online discussion forum, Salon London also hosts live events, such as author readings and panel discussions. These events provide an opportunity for members to meet face-to-face and share their love of books with like-minded individuals.

16. Andrew Luck Book Club

The Andrew Luck Book Club is an online book club founded by NFL quarterback Andrew Luck. The club is open to all readers, and its goal is to connect people through a love of reading. The club provides an online community for readers to share book club discussions, and it also offers exclusive content, such as author interviews and online discussions. Membership is free, and anyone can join by creating an account on the website.

17. Book Baristas

Book Baristas is an online adult book club that meets once a month to discuss a new book. With different book selections each month, and members can join for discussion either in person or online. Their current reads conversations are lively and their members are passionate about reading. This discussion board aims to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all readers, regardless of experience level or book preferences.

18. BookSparks

BookSparks is an online book platform that helps readers discover new books and connect with other book reviewers. BookSparks offers a variety of features to help readers find new books, including a monthly pick recommendation engine, book lists, and author interviews. BookSparks also helps readers connect with other readers through online discussion forums and social media.

Frog rides bike

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of a book club?

A book club can offer many benefits to its members. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the opportunity to discuss books with other people who share your interests. In a book club, you can explore new genres and authors that you might not have discovered on your own, and gain a new appreciation for old favorites. In addition, a book club can provide a much-needed sense of community, especially for people who are new to a city or who work from home.

What skills do you gain from the book club?

Book clubs provide an excellent opportunity to hone a variety of important skills. In order to participate effectively in a book club, you need to be able to read critically and identify themes, symbols, and other literary devices. You also need to be able to articulate your thoughts in a respectful and intelligent manner. Furthermore, book clubs require participants to be active listeners and to have the ability to empathize with others.

What are the activities in a book club?

A book club usually comprises a group of people who meet regularly to discuss one or more books that they have read. Book clubs typically select their reading material through a vote, and members usually take turns leading the discussion. The discussion leader typically begins by asking questions about the book, such as the character’s motivations and development, the author’s use of symbolism, and the book’s overall theme. Other members then share their own thoughts and perspectives on the book. 

What are the rules of a book club?

First and foremost, it’s important to choose a book that will appeal to the majority of the group. Once a book has been selected, each member should take turns leading the discussion. The discussion leader should prepare ahead of time by coming up with a list of questions to guide the conversation. It’s also important to be respectful of other members’ opinions and avoid getting into heated debates. If disagreements do arise, remember that there is no right or wrong answer – it’s all about personal interpretation. 

Why are book clubs important for adults?

Book clubs offer a great way for adults to connect with others who share their love of reading. In a book club, members have the opportunity to discuss the books they are reading, exchange ideas and opinions, and make new friends. Book clubs also provide a chance for people to step outside their comfort zone and explore new genres or authors that they might not otherwise have considered. In addition, book clubs can help to promote literacy by encouraging people to read more frequently. 

What is the purpose of a reading group?

A reading group is a collection of individuals who meet regularly to discuss a particular text or texts. Reading groups provide an opportunity for people to come together and share their thoughts and ideas about work or works in a supportive and engaging environment. In many cases, reading groups will focus on a particular genre or author, but they can just as easily be based around a theme or subject matter. For example, there might be a reading group devoted to exploring different interpretations of classic literature, or one that focuses on environmental issues through the lens of fiction and non-fiction.

Benefits of book clubs for students?

Seeing other people discuss and share their favorite books can be inspiring, and it can give students new ideas about what to read next. Additionally, book clubs can provide an opportunity for socializing and making new friends. Spending time talking about books with other people can also help to improve communication skills. Finally, book clubs can help students to think critically about what they read. discussing a book with others forces students to really think about the characters, plot, and themes, and it can help them to understand the text on a deeper level. 

How do online book clubs help English Language Learners?

While online book clubs may be geared towards native English speakers, they can also be a helpful resource for English language learners. By reading alongside others and discussing the book in a group setting, language learners can gain valuable practice using English in a real-world context. In addition, online book clubs can provide a supportive community for those who are learning English as a second language. 

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Take Your Book Club remote with LillyPad’s 4 Reading Modes!

“Read to Lilly” 

This mode offers our members the opportunity to read aloud as Lilly follows behind, tracking proper pronunciation, word accuracy, and improvements in the learner’s fluency and speed. Reading aloud improves memory retention, fluency, expression, and speed. Research also suggests that reading aloud may have significant cognitive benefits – even for experienced readers.

“Alternate Reading with Lilly”

Lilly reads one sentence, and then our member is cued to read the next. Aside from the benefits of reading aloud, reading with Lilly supports and enhances our member’s literacy experience while continuing to build capability, knowledge, and confidence.

“Repeat Read” 

Repeated reading improves reading ability across the board! Lilly reads a sentence and then cues the member to repeat the same sentence. This exercise provides our members with the opportunity to mimic the fluency attributes and enunciation.Studies suggest that repeated reading leads to better reading performance including fluency, speed, and confidence. The biggest payoffs tend to be with word reading, but it also has been found to improve reading comprehension – the most frequently reported area of improvement.

“Pad Cast” 

Our “Pad Cast” technology turns “All” of our member’s reading material within their personal Library into a tracked audiobook. The innovative “Pad Cast” tracking technology allows our members to watch and listen to Lilly pronounce each word as it is highlighted and spoken. This exercise continues to support and enhance our member’s literacy experience while continuing to build upon capability, knowledge, fluency attributes, pronunciation, and enunciation.

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

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