Book Clubs During the Pandemic: Fostering Connections

How is your book club doing these days? If you're like most of the respondents to our October 2020 survey, your group has gone through some changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you're meeting on Zoom or gathering in person with social distancing and masking protocols, your book club meetings probably don't look quite like they used to. But not all change is bad! As we discovered in our research, satisfaction among book club participants is still high, despite the curveballs this pandemic has thrown us.

We surveyed more than 3,000 people who described themselves as currently in a book club. Of these, three-quarters were still meeting regularly with their book group, either virtually or in person; the remaining quarter mostly had not met since the start of the pandemic. The rest of this blog focuses on those who had been meeting regularly during 2020.

A full two-thirds of book clubs were meeting virtually at the time of the survey, almost all on Zoom; a further 17% were meeting outdoors; and the remainder were mostly meeting in someone's home or in a communal space (with all but 3% taking precautions). More about meeting locations in our earlier post, "Book Clubs During COVID: When Will We Meet Again?"

[More]

The Pandemic and Politics: Changes in Book Club Reading Habits

We've discussed how book clubs have changed the way they source books during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what kinds of books are they reading? For our "Book Clubs in Lockdown" survey (published in November) we asked respondents about their reading habits during the pandemic -- from how much time they're devoting to reading to what kinds of books have been on the agenda. The responses are illuminating.

[More]

How Book Clubs Find Books During the Pandemic

book shelfContinuing our series of articles based on our November 2020 "Book Clubs in Lockdown" research, we now turn our focus to one of the biggest challenges book clubs faced – and are still facing: how to source books!

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, over 84% of US book clubs we surveyed included at least one member who relied on borrowing print books from their library. With many public libraries operating under challenging conditions, it's unsurprising that many book groups have had problems getting copies of the books they want to read.

Despite these difficulties, it's important to note that survey respondents express considerable appreciation for their local libraries--and the near-heroic efforts of librarians keeping things up and running:

Wait lines are longer, and turnaround times are longer too. No complaints, though – we have a wonderful library system and we are grateful for the wonderful job they are doing.

Our libraries are open for book borrowing, not for browsing the shelves or being inside. Bless the libraries.

We can request a hold on a book. When it is at the chosen branch, you choose an appointment time M/W/F, and pick it up. All non-contact. I think the library has done a great job figuring this out.

[More]

Book Clubs During the Pandemic – Stronger Than Ever

The media often portrays book clubs as more interested in gossip and wine than books, but actually, they're much more dedicated to reading and discussing than some would have you believe. I know because in our 20 year quest to provide exceptional reading recommendations to book clubs and inquiring readers, BookBrowse has surveyed more than 25,000 book club members, so I have seen firsthand that most are strong communities, passionate about books, vigorous in debate and learning.

Book Clubs in Lockdown - cover What I didn't know is how they've been coping in 2020. So, over a period of two weeks in October, BookBrowse asked book club members to share their experiences with us--and over 3,400 answered. We compiled their responses into a recently published report, "Book Clubs in Lockdown," available for free at bookbrowse.com/wp/lockdown

The good news is that most book groups have risen to the challenges of 2020, learning new skills and reinforcing old friendships. Overall, three-quarters of respondents say their book club is currently meeting, but most are doing so in a different way to last year. Two thirds are now meeting virtually (almost all on Zoom) and half of the remainder are meeting outside, albeit with an eye on the weather as it turns colder. The great majority look forward to meeting in person again in the future, but many have discovered benefits in meeting virtually, in particular being able to reconnect with members who had moved away or who live in a different place for part of the year. In fact, a third of those meeting virtually expect their book club will continue to have a virtual element, so that sick or traveling members can participate and sometimes so the whole group can meet online, for example if weather conditions are not conducive to going out.

[More]

Book Clubs During COVID: When Will We Meet Again?

There can be few of us who aren't wishing for the Covid-19 pandemic to be over so we can go about our lives again. But when will that be? And will things go back to the same as they were or will there be a "new normal"?

This was one of the topics we explored for our just published "Book Clubs in Lockdown" report based on an October 2020 survey of more than 3,400 book club members, 90% of whom live in the USA. You can download the full report for free at bookbrowse.com/wp/lockdown.

At the time of the survey, three-quarters of respondents were in groups that were currently meeting (and had been doing so through most of the pandemic) but they were meeting very differently from how they did before. Whereas the great majority said their primary book club used to meet in person and indoors, now two-thirds are meeting virtually (almost all on Zoom), and of the remainder, half were meeting outside at the time of the survey (with many eyeing the weather and looking to make new winter plans).

[More]

New Research: Book Clubs in Lockdown!

Book Clubs in Lockdown - cover2020 has been a tough year; we have faced restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, social unrest, and a bitterly contested and divisive Presidential election in the USA. Many of us have been separated from our family and friends. With so many lives disrupted, we wondered…how has all this impacted readers and particularly those in book clubs? So in October we launched a survey to find out! Within two weeks we had over 4,500 responses, including 3,400 from book club members.

Since then, the BookBrowse team has been working to analyze the responses (there was a lot of information!) to build a clearer picture of how book clubs are reacting to the challenges they've faced this year, and what this might mean for the long term. I want to thank all who took part in the survey, many with very detailed and well-considered comments, through which we've gained many insights that we're eager to share with you.

The "Book Clubs in Lockdown" report is just released and is available to you in full for free. Go to bookbrowse.com/wp/lockdown to download your copy and, when you have, please do share with others.

[More]

Previous Entries More Entries
Book Clubs in Lockdown - Free Research Report