Nora St. Laurent is the CEO of The Book Club Network Incorporated and runs two book clubs near Atlanta, Ga., Former ACFW On-Line Book Club. Nora currently writes a Book Club column for the Christian Fiction OnLine Magazine and is a Book Club Talk Columnist for Novel Rocket. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Book Clubs Are Here To Stay
Are bookstores becoming a thing of the past? Obsolete? I’d never thought of this question before Borders recently closed hundreds of their stores nationwide and the Christian bookstore I work at downsized.
One thing that won’t go away is book clubs. Book club meetings can be held anywhere—at a store, a coffee shop, homes, museums, libraries, in a park, online. Where three or more are gathered we can talk about books. Some groups meet at restaurants and talk about their books over dinner. Some libraries have private rooms that can be reserved for your book club meetings. The first group I joined met at a coffee shop that had a private room off the side where we held our meetings. It was quiet, rustic, and great fun. Not only do you get to talk about books, but it was a ladies night out too. I run two face-to-face book clubs: one meets inside the Christian bookstore I work at and the other meets at the church I attend.
One way to help any bookstore where you hold book club meeting is to ask the manager if they will give you a discount on the books your club purchases. After a few meetings he or she will see how this creates a sense of community, excitement, and an atmosphere of fun inside their store. People will see you are giving back to the community and want to join in the fun too. It’s also a great way to advertise your group. I have held book club meetings inside the store I work at for years now. Customers would hear authors speaking to our group via speaker phone and join us to hear the whole discussion. Several people have joined our group when authors visited; they loved the excitement in hearing from the author. I’ve even had people wait around after the club meeting to talk to me about joining because they could see us having so much fun.
Customers visit my Website and book club end cap to see what book we are reading. I sell extra books on book club meeting nights because they see us having so much fun. They can hear us discuss the book and then talk to the author about their book afterward.
Members gain much insight into a book and an author during a book club meeting. Each member brings her experience and fresh perspective to a book we’ve read. Hearing members talk about what they loved or what surprised them about a book is always memorable.
Want help in starting a book club? A great resource for you is The Book Club Network, www.bookfun.org. It’s a community of book clubs, avid readers, and authors. It’s where experienced, new book club leaders, and wannabe book club leaders get together. Many book clubs have created a book club page and
listed the books they’ve read. Some book clubs have their live book club meetings at The Book Club Network and invite the author to join them. The interaction between the author and the readers is a treat to experience. The discussion is there for all to read and enjoy.
Authors and book clubs list their book events. If you’re having a book festival, or an author is speaking at your club, you can invite others to join you. Authors can announce their book signings, special events, and book fairs on TBCN. It’s the one-stop shopping for book fun and Christian book events.
Bookstores are welcome to set up a page and post events their stores are having.
We hope to be the one-stop resource for Christian entertainment and book fun! TBCN will be celebrating its two-year birthday in August. We’ll be giving away ten books a day. The Book Club Network is a great place to read a book by a new author and see if their book is a fit for your group!
Each month the site gives away over fifty books.
So what are you waiting for? Want to have book fun, start a book club, learn what other clubs are doing? Well, hop on over to www.bookfun.org and join in the book fun today!
Until Next time
BRING YOUR WHOLE GROUP!
Or create a group on our Network.