How to start a book club

Three years ago, I started a book club.

Not just any book club. In my opinion, it’s the greatest book club ever, and I have 30+ members (past and present) who can attest to that.

But successful book clubs don’t happen overnight. Ours sure didn’t.

I know some of our readers want to start their own book clubs, or are just curious as to how we began/maintained ours, so I’ll to tell you how to do it… or at least how I did it.

The image I originally used for our Facebook group.

Step 1 – The idea

So you probably have an idea of what you want to get out of a book club. Maybe you want to bring friends together, meet new people, learn new things… whatever. For me, I really wanted to discuss what I was reading with my peers. It’s a good idea to think about WHY you’re starting a book club before you even begin. What’s your vision? What will your book club look like?

Step 2 – The people

You could have a book club for one… but that wouldn’t make much sense, so you need people. Warm bodies. Even if it starts with just one other person, that’s fine (although I’d recommend a minimum of three for discussion purposes).

Erin mentioned that having diverse members (from different backgrounds, careers, places, beliefs) is more interesting, and I’d have to agree. For example, in our book club we have an eclectic mix of pharmacists, journalists, teachers, lawyers, students, yoga instructors and more. And we’re from all across the country. It’s awesome (although obviously not required).

Think about who you’d want in your book club, and where you’d find them. Are they your friends? Family? Coworkers? Classmates? A combination of all of the above? How many people do you want?

Tea? Coffee? No way. Wine.

Step 3 – The pitch

Before the book club is actually created, you need to pitch the idea to the prospective members.

I did this in two parts: first, I spoke to a couple friends in person and asked them if they’d be interested in joining a book club. Most of them said yes, so I was encouraged to move forward with the second part – Facebook. I created a Facebook group for our book club (Julia’s “Unputdownable” Book Club) and invited my friends (and encouraged them to invite others). That’s where I outlined my idea, explained some details and painted a general picture of what the book club would be like. This gave the girls everything they needed to decide if they wanted to join.

A book club Facebook group (or any collaborative online tool) is also a key factor in your book club’s continued success, but I’ll get to that in a later post.

Step 4 – The first meeting

If you’re starting a book club, you need to have a venue (unless it’s a virtual book club, in which case you’re off the hook). Where are the meetings going to take place? In a public space (café, library, pub) or at someone’s home? How often will you meet? When will you meet?

I recommend hosting the first meeting at your house, since the book club was your idea (if you can). In our book club, we meet on the first Sunday of every month and the hosting rotates through the members. This seems to work well, as the meetings aren’t always in one area of the city and keeps things relatively low-cost (i.e. we’re not shelling out $30 at a restaurant every month). Also, the girls really like having everyone over and it’s neat to see where other members live.

You’re probably wondering how to run meetings too. I’ll cover that in my next post, but bear in mind the first meeting will be different from the rest. I recommend asking every member to bring  a book to pitch as the first book. Give everyone a chance to talk about what they chose, and then vote on the first book. Afterwards, add everyone’s name to hat and draw the next six or so book pickers (one per month). That way people can plan ahead.

We really do.

Now that you have your first meeting planned, you’re in great shape! Send out the official invite (I use Facebook events) and count down the days. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be bouncing off the walls in excitement.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to run a book club meeting. Stay tuned for that one!

Any questions about how to start a book club? Leave us a comment below!


About Julia Kent

Julia is an outgoing and energetic writer and food blogger from Halifax. Five years ago, Julia started The Unputdownable Book Club and her food blog, The Domestic Blonde. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, Julia currently works in Ottawa in public relations. As a former broadcast journalist and with a background in musical theatre, she is a natural presenter. In her free time, she recipe-tests, reads, runs, hosts a podcast called Young PR Pros, watches bad television and plays competitive soccer. She’s addicted to Canadian Living and Chapters Indigo. Her favourite books include A Thousand Splendid Suns, Pride & Prejudice and The Book of Negroes. Twitter: @kentjulia
This entry was posted in General, How To and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to How to start a book club

  1. Pingback: How to run a book club meeting | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

  2. Pingback: How to make your book club successful | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

  3. Pingback: Book of the month – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

  4. Pingback: How To: Be a Good Book Club Member | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

  5. Pingback: Happy Three Year Anniversary, UBC! | The "Unputdownable" Book Club

    2014 Global Ebook Awards
    Global Ebook Awards
    Congratulations Honorable Mention Medal winner of the 2014 Global Ebook Awards!


    Congratulations SteveTaylor, for winning in the Non-Fiction – Religion/Faith category for Steve Taylor: The Answers: The Mirror. We can’t thank you enough for taking part in the awards this year and for your contribution to promoting the value of ebooks. We enjoyed reading and evaluating your title(s) and want to let you know what will happen next. Now you can celebrate winning your award and promote it on your end. Update your listing at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords to reflect your placement in The Global Ebook Awards.

    For the full list of winners based on category (Click Here). You can also visit to view the list of winners by category. See (

    We will begin to promote the winners from our side by delivering a news release and posting the full list of winners on the Global Ebook Awards blog, Facebook, Twitter which in turn get’s listed on the search engines, and other social media sites.

    Here’s how you can get more publicity for your ebooks. Just issue a news release to your local media: radio, TV, magazines, newspapers. For instructions on how to craft and distribute this news release, click on the link below: (make sure you request the electronic edition).

    As an Honorable Mention Medal winner, your ebook qualifies for a virtual “sticker.” You may use your sticker on your website, e-book cover, news releases, and other promotion. To get your FREE sticker file, Click Here.

    You also have the opportunity to purchase award certificates. Click Here to Order Now!

    Here is a way to get your book reviewed—FREE.

    If you want your book reviewed on Smashwords,, B&, etc., list your request in Publishing Poynters Marketplace (no charge).

    You must be willing to send a book and promotional materials (review-book package) to readers of Publishing Poynters Marketplace who contact you (usually 5 to 10 copies). Include the number of pages in your description and for children’s books, list the age level for which the book is written. Make sure the book is already listed at Smashwords or

    Just send your request and description to
    Supply full contact information including your email address. Write the draft as it should appear so that he does not have to do more than Copy\Paste. Put “Review Wanted” in the subject line.

    Many thanks to our 205 reading judges. Where they gave comments along with their scores, those comments will be forwarded to you over the next couple of weeks.

    Thanks again for your participation in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards and Congratulations!!


  7. Tara says:

    We are so excited about starting our first book club. The tips you have given really helped. Thank you


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s