Online Book Club – Pros & Cons Included

Sarah Rexford
November 29, 2022 | 6 mins

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If you are a writer or have authored a book, you probably know the importance of book clubs, especially online ones. Clubs are a great place for avid readers to share their favorite titles, what they most love about them, and interact with others who are as deeply invested.

In fact, some celebrities have gone so far as to create their own online book clubs, and landing on one of their famous lists can be a goal for some writers (think Oprah and Reese Witherspoon). Getting great reviews, having your book featured as the book club pick of the month, and other similar possibilities can largely influence the marketing success of your book.

With that said, in this article, we provide a review and a guide for authors on one book club in particular, and cover:

Online Book Club is the name of this club, so we talk about it specifically, rather than online book clubs in general. So, let’s dive in!

What Is Online Book Club?

Online Book Club has been around for the last decade, and is a free resource for writers and/or readers. More than just a book club, it is also a type of hybrid between a traditional book club and a book review platform.

While this club has its own website, it is not a bookstore, library, and does not sell books in any capacity.

Instead, it is a large reading community that spans the globe. Online Book Club has many popular features that readers love, including payment for your reviews.

If you’re looking for more details on what this specific club is, or simply want inspiration for starting your own book club, the following description of its pros and cons will help fill you in.

What are the pros?

Online Book Club has multiple pros that will draw readers in and likely keep them. After all, this club is entirely free, has been around for over a decade, and encompasses a large community. Its active members are global, allowing for a variety of conversations with multiple viewpoints.

Imagine talking about your favorite book with someone across the ocean. Online Book Club draws fans together in a unique and special way.

It also boasts some top features that attract readers:

  • A professional review team that offers exclusive feedback. This helps narrow your search from the millions of books published to the top picks according to the professional review team.
  • A free app called Bookshelves. This app helps users keep on top of the many books they read, share them with friends, and even compile lists of “want to read” books and share these future reads with others.
  • Forums that negate the need for careful meeting time scheduling. These forums allow instant access to discuss your current favorite book with others who also love it. The forums include hundreds of thousands of readers, who are active and welcoming.
  • A Book of the Day feature that notifies users when books with great rates are included in free promotions.

These features are free, used by many readers around the world, and available to you. All you have to do is sign up to enter this thriving, reading-focused community.

What are the cons?

While Online Book Club members can be paid for writing reviews, in order to receive payment, The Penny Matters describes the process as follows:

“Assuming your review hits all their requirements—you can start taking on paid review projects… The site doesn't pay you for your first review, regardless of the messaging used in the emails that they send you pressuring you to write the first review.”

Additionally, it takes quite a bit of time to find a book you want to read, commit to reading it, and write a review that will bring in cash. Book titles are said to be limited, so this may make your search process take longer than you’d like.

While some people may choose to read books for entertainment or educational purposes, if you go to Online Book Club solely with the desire to earn a fast income, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Book review policies may be tricky to navigate, and according to one freelance writer, simple grammar errors cut major points. If you have just four or five errors, 40-50% of your pay is cut. If you want to be part of a large reading community, Online Book Club may be a good place to land.

However, if you are looking for repeat income you can count on, reviewing books through this platform is likely not your best choice.

Why Online Book Club?

There are many reasons you could decide for or against this online platform. It has been around for quite some time, and to reach the global platform it has taken a certain level of drive. If you want to engage with other readers, share the commonality of favorite novels, and even be paid to leave book reviews, this may be the perfect outlet for you.

Keep in mind that connecting with other readers is a key aspect of successfully building and maintaining a writing career.

Writers must have readers in order to create a full-time job from the passion they love. Online Book Club is a large platform, spans countries, and has the origin date to back up its credibility. While the review writing itself may not be as glamorous as it may seem up front, access to this many readers is quite remarkable.

Book Clubs and marketing

As you consider book clubs in general, don’t neglect to consider the power of free marketing. The more readers you know, the more potential your book has of finding its way into their hands.

Finding great readers, people who will turn into fans down the road, is no small task. With follow-for-follow making Twitter more for writers than readers and so much competition in the newsletter space, joining any online book club may be a great option for you.

Of course, when you join a book club it’s vital not to use the platform for yourself, your book, and your writing goals.

Meeting new readers, people who love the same books you do, and others passionate about the art of compelling plots and characters may have more positive impact than you realize.

First, it helps keep your spark going. Writing books and building a platform are tremendous tasks. Joining a large community of like-minded individuals can help keep you going when you’re tired or overwhelmed.

And second, book clubs can remind you why you write to begin with—a love of story.

Your next step

Joining Online Book Club in particular is completely up to you, your goals, and your long-term dream as a writer. Consider the above pros and cons, and take into account the power that immersing yourself in this type of community may have for you.

It takes a lot of work to dream up a book idea, organize your idea, write the book, and successfully publish it, then collect reviews, etc. Online Book Club might be a great launching pad for reminding you why you started writing in the first place. And bonus, you may meet some future fans!

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