As other rioters have pointed out, there are plenty of good reasons to join online book clubs, even when we are not in the midst of a pandemic. Besides the obvious benefit of giving you a wider choice of books and people to connect with, they can also be a good choice for those who are more introverted or prefer to attend a book club from the comfort of their living room. . Online book clubs can also mix the traditional sit and chat format, with everything from discussion boards to Instagram lives, used to talk about books, allowing readers to connect to text in a number of ways. Readers may also find it easier to find book clubs interested in specific niches or those that will help them achieve a reading goal, and if nothing else, there may be less of an obligation to show up. he feels that the club is less dependent on your physical presence.
Many of these groups, like so many other aspects of the reading world today, have found a presence on Bookstagram. Whether it’s a reading group through the classics, which forms around a book chosen by the owner of an account, or a separate site hosted on a Facebook group or via Patreon, the Bookstagram book club is a strong presence for anyone in the bookish Instagram world. In addition to the more structured book club options, users often ask attendees to read with friends or form ad hoc book groups after finding other people who share their love for similar titles. While some of these clubs try to replicate the in-person experience by hosting meetups through Zoom or another video platform, many of them welcome the discussion on the books via an Instagram comment or direct message, upsetting. the traditional book club structure and offering flexibility to readers across time zones and work schedules. Some accounts are connected to larger, celebrity-run book clubs, but many are run by regular booksellers who run their book clubs between jobs, kids, and other offline obligations. In this way, the Bookstagram Book Club is like the in-person clubs that connect everyday readers, except that you potentially connect with members around the world, rather than just other readers from across the globe. your city.
At the start of my quarantine, cut off from bookish conversations with my colleagues, I decided to switch from observer to participant and to create a Bookstagram account. While I didn’t (and still don’t) want it to gain a large following or become as much of a time commitment, I liked that it allowed me to exchange opinions more freely and casually. and reviews of books with other users. Soon I started chatting, through comments and direct messages, with Bookstagrammers colleagues across the country. When one account announced it was opening a Patreon Book Club, I signed up and from there I logged into other accounts in the same group, eager to read their thoughts on this month’s pick. After enjoying the camaraderie of this experience, I researched other group reading experiences, including a book club focused on classics and readings with friends for titles that languished on my TBR. Each of these interactions, which mostly happened via Instagram direct messaging, was a bright spot amid the isolation.
I tried in-person book clubs before the pandemic, but, generally due to fluctuating membership engagement, it hasn’t been a huge success. In contrast, the discussions on Bookstagram seemed rich with the thoughts of readers who had actually read the book and were eager to share their thoughts. Does the self-selecting nature of this online world automatically lead to greater membership buy-in? In an offline book club, there may be times when you need to deal with a book that you are not interested in and decide whether to linger on it or forgo this meeting. Online, however, it’s easier to get in and out. Don’t like this month’s pick? No worries, you can re-register later or find a new club all together and chances are most other readers won’t notice your absence. There’s no pressure to admit your dropping out or letting other commitments cause you to cancel your meeting when you can hide behind a phone screen. Plus, you don’t have to put up with your book club members in day-to-day life. The one person who always interrupts or likes to read 600 page bricks when the rest of you want something light isn’t such a straightforward issue and even if they do, it’s a lot easier to quit. a virtual book club.
Lest I sound too low on online book clubs and technology in general, I have to reiterate that I love the Bookstagram discussions I am a part of and the book clubs I have joined elsewhere online. When it comes to social media, especially in a visual medium like Instagram, it can be easy to become a passive consumer of content, sometimes throwing likes but not going any further. Joining these book clubs gave me a way to interact with new people and be exposed to opinions about books that might otherwise not fit in my bubble. While I sometimes wonder if interacting online, rather than in person, can be detrimental to my overall socializing abilities, I think I gain in my ability to write about what I read and learn from one. diverse group of readers. . For this reason, I will eagerly continue to subscribe to the Bookstagram discussions that pique my interest, and perhaps, once this pandemic is over, I will even try to meet some bookish friends online in real life.