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An animated graphic of a book club chatting on a livestream

How to start a book club on YouTube

Looking to build a bookish community? Try creating a book club on YouTube.

With school back in session and autumn just around the corner, it couldn’t be a better time to start a book club. Late nights spent reading. Commiserating with friends over unexpected plot twists. Heated discussions over tea. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? And better yet, book clubs on YouTube are a great way to get to know your audience and build a tight knit community. Here’s how to get started.

A community post that reads "Hey friends! It's time to vote on our first book club read. What are you thinking?"

Community polls are great for getting to know your audience.

Find and build your community

A book club would be nothing without its members, so it’s important to build out your community. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need a million subscribers and all the best equipment to connect with others. You can start by looping in your existing community and asking your friends and family to tune in. When you’re ready to start branching out, create a YouTube Short announcement with hashtags like #bookclub and #booktube.

Pick out your first book with a community poll

Spark some initial interest by involving your subscribers right off the bat. With a quick community post, figure out if your book club is looking to gush over a new rom com or dive into the classics. Take recommendations and once you have a couple title ideas, you can use the poll feature to vote on this month’s read.

Wondering what’s popular on BookTube? Check out Prince Henry’s memoir, Spare, literary fiction work, Fire Rush and the fantastic Leigh Bardugo’s Hell Bent!

Encourage your book club members to hit the “set reminder” bell to be notified when the event is about to begin.

Decide on a schedule

Now that you have your novel of choice, the next step is to book out your calendar. Split up the chapters and schedule livestreams to discuss along the way. When you go to start a livestream, you’ll have the option to schedule it for later and feature the upcoming event on your channel page. Encourage your book club members to hit the “set reminder” bell to be notified when the event is about to begin.

Two YouTube creators talking on a livestream

Eligible creators have the option to invite a guest to their livestream.

Study up on chat moderation

Before the live discussions, make sure you’ve done your homework. Read the book (obviously) but also be sure to check out YouTube’s chat moderation tools. Set who you want to have access to live chat, add any filters you see necessary and consider asking someone you trust to moderate the day of.

Go live

When the event starts, you can finally engage with comments, ask discussion questions to the chat and share your thoughts on that cliffhanger. Eligible creators also have the option to invite a guest to their live streams, which is great if you’re looking to co-lead the group or just get additional perspectives. If you’re lucky, maybe you can even get the author themselves to join a meeting and answer some questions!

Keep the conversation going with highlights

After the livestream, try sharing highlight clips so that anyone who wasn’t there can get caught up and keep the conversation going. When the discussion gets particularly interesting during your stream, add a stream marker. You can refer to these later in YouTube Editor, making it easy to identify and share all the best hot takes and funny moments from your meeting.

Post your final thoughts and invite others to do the same

Once you’ve finished the first book in your new club, wrap things up by posting a final review to your channel. Then, take things a step further by creating a playlist, turning on “allow new collaborators” and sharing the playlist link with your group, so other book club members can add their own videos. With so much room for collaboration and engagement, your subscribers are bound to come back for more. (Ok, I promise that was the last book pun.)

Not quite ready to start a group of your own? Watch Haley Pham set up her dream home library, add to your TBR with recs by Jack Edwards or dive deep into celebrity memoirs with uncarley. There’s lots of existing BookTube content out there to help you get inspired and make bookish friends.