This fall bring us tons of highly-anticipated novels from some of the most well-known authors and public figures out there—Toni Morrison to Hillary Clinton—which means it’s the perfect time to start a book club. But any busy mom like knows will tell you right now, in-person meetups can be a pain. The fix? Host a virtual book club.
They’re a great way to discuss the latest reads, without any heavy lifting. In time for National Book Month (October), here are five pain-free ways to host a virtual book club:
1. Pick the place: Create a WhatsApp group chat for discussions. Designate a time for people to chat, and if they can’t make it, no problem! People can just scroll up to see what they missed and reply to specific messages at any time. WhatsApp works all over the world (well, almost…), and is compatible with both Android and iOS, so your out-of-town friends can join, too.
If you’re not into What’s App, Facebook is another great way to organizing an online book club. One of the first steps to starting your own group is to establish a Facebook page for it, where you can invite new members to join, share new reading suggestions, and post meeting schedules. You can make your group private, so only members you invite are allowed to join, or leave it open to the public so more readers can join in.
2. Pick the Book:
Use Goodreads for book inspo: Goodreads makes it easy to discover new books based on genre, author, new releases or award winners. Keep track of which books you’ve read, and which ones you want to read, and add your book club buddies as friends, so it’s easy to get recommendations, and explore reading preferences for inspiration. Other great book inspiration sites include the Book Seer; just ask “him” what to read next, and based on your preferences, he’ll kindly suggest a similar author and book. Another impressive online resource, WhichBook “enables millions of combinations of factors and then suggests books which most closely match your needs.” Handy.
Subscribe to the Book of the Month club if your group just can’t decide. This subscription service offers a hand-picked selection of carefully curated new books each month. For $10, you can choose one of the five books they offer and they ship it to you the first of the month. If none of the books spark your interest you can skip that month and not get charged.
3. Book Club Bests: End any next-book drama before it begins by creating surveys to decide what’s next. Facebook has a poll option that you can customize to include all of your club’s reading options, or you can create your own survey using apps like Survey Monkey, or Straw Poll to create instant polls. This is an easy, anonymous, and fun way for people to vote on the next book or the next discussion moderator. An app like can also help Doodle to coordinate a time that works for the majority of participants.
4. Every good book club needs WINE! Why not automate that too? Invite your book group to join the same wine club, so everyone can sip the same reds while discussing the latest book. Try one of these wine of the month clubs, so you can time the discussion to the next shipment.
5. Develop a standard list of questions: Having a standard list of questions does away with any serious thinking before your next meeting. Book Riot published a great list of standard questions to reference for any book.
Bonus: Use an app to like Acceleread and learn to speed read, or get the books via audiobooks with apps like Audible and listen to them while you’re working out, driving, or even trying to fall asleep at night.