When most people think of book clubs, they picture intimate gatherings in living rooms or libraries. People rarely imagine a book club as a collection of GIFs, memes, fan art and fan fiction, all of which are staples of how readers respond to media in the Internet era. Thus, with the advent of social media, the traditional book club has been given a digital update.
Social Media Platforms for Digital Book Clubs
People love to share and talk about the books they’re reading – and it’s one of the most important ways people discover books. Book lovers are embracing social media to bring this conversation into the digital age. Millions of readers log online not only to search for their next book, but also, to network with other readers and authors, post reviews and participate in discussions. Social media sites play host to book club-type activities that pave the way for this online interaction. ChatEbooks lists down some social media platforms you can visit for that non-face-to-face, online book club experience.
With over 900 million titles listed, Goodreads is the world’s largest free social networking platform for book lovers. Powered by Amazon, Goodreads allows readers to add books to their personal bookshelves (current and future reads), rate and review books, see what their friends are reading, participate in discussion boards and get suggestions for further reading choices from other members. For publishers and authors, Goodreads is the perfect avenue for promoting their books. Here, they can post book signings schedules, conduct interviews, plug book releases, share book excerpts in advance of publication and organize book giveaways. In addition, Goodreads has a presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Launched in February 2013, Bookish is a social media site that connects readers with books and authors, offering information on upcoming books and personalized recommendations. Similar to Goodreads, Bookish presents readers a plethora of book titles and genres to choose from, while introducing them to debut titles, up-and-coming authors and genres they never thought they’d read. Readers can add books to user-created digital “shelves”, rate and review books, participate in chat groups, read author interviews and get book recommendations. Bookish also functions as an e-commerce site where readers can purchase print books, ebooks and audiobooks.
Reblog Book Club
While bloggers have previously hosted book clubs on the microblogging site Tumblr, the Reblog Book Club is the first book club founded and moderated by Tumblr itself. Each week, Tumblr features a book and users who are interested to participate in the book club discussions can add posts about the book in whatever way they choose – a written review, video blogs, fan art, GIFs, poems, letters or memes. In the same way, users can reblog other members’ posts to add their own thoughts and responses.
ChatEbooks is a social networking platform and a marketplace for buying and selling ebooks online. It’s unique in that it leverages the power of social media to help authors and their readers engage and connect within the context of the selling/reading experience. Not only are readers able to leave detailed reviews of an author’s book, but they can actually provide feedback directly to the author, and then have that author respond in kind. Having this kind of direct access to the authors whose work one have come to appreciate and support is nothing short of a book club paradise.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
Authors and publishers use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to hold book club-like activities. These sites serve as platforms for engaging a passionate and diverse online community of readers. On these platforms readers are invited to talk about a title, hop onto a chat, post links, tweet about an event or author tour, and organize discussions between authors and readers. In addition, book lovers and authors get to network by joining discussion groups and fan pages, getting customized reading suggestions and participating in contests and giveaways.
No matter what the skeptics say, book clubs will thrive in the digital age. Aside from the same benefits that book lovers get from traditional book clubs, readers can expect a new and updated reading experience.