Have you ever tried to set up a book group? There is the whole process of choosing a book, setting up a meeting time, sharing comments about the books you are reading. Endless chains of email later, you ask, are we having fun yet? Like so many other things, there are apps for that which make your life easier.
BookRiot just ran an article on five apps that are out there to help manage book clubs. It turns out that two are collaborative tools used more widely in many work groups, Slack and Flock, which have many of the meeting tools and communication tools you need to set up a book club and manage it: polls, scheduling, chat, and file sharing. If you already use one of these tools for work, you might consider adapting it to organizing bookclubs. If not, the other three apps are dedicated bookclub apps.
Only one of these is currently a mobile app, Book Club by Book Movement. Bad news for Android users. It is currently only available as an iPhone app. It appears to be an elegant little app. In addition to functions allowing you to organize, choose books, set meetings, RSVPs, and even buy books, it has a “Discover” function that allows you to enter an adjective which will pull up titles related to it and a “Top Club Picks” to see what other clubs are reading. For books you are buying, it tracks prices and allows you to buy when there are deals. The poll allows for anonymous voting connected to cover images of the book. The app is free.
Bookclubz and Our Own Book Club (OOB) are both web-based apps. Of the two, Bookclubz seemed far more straightforward in creating clubs, communicating, scheduling, polling and tracking the books you’ve read. It also shows the most popular book club books and offers a featured book of the month, along with a discussion guide.
All the apps are free. Only Bookclubz identifies its affiliate partnership with Amazon as a funding source, but I suspect something similar is true of the others as well. They also have an option for clubs to make a donation. I appreciate this transparency even if I’m not an Amazon fan.
So, if you are in a book club that finds the admin a hassle, or are forming one, one of these apps may make your life easier. Personally, I really liked Bookclubz, although I wish they had an Android app.