Book Club Hub - reader to book club matching website
Book Club Hub - reader to book club matching website
Website that matches readers to local book clubs based on reading and meeting goals. Each club links to a local, independent bookstore.
Website that matches readers to local book clubs based on reading and meeting goals. Each club links to a local, independent bookstore. Read more
Great business ideas start with a need. In my business, as a bookstore owner, rarely a day goes by without someone asking how they can join a book club. From the first day we opened, I began to recognize a need. the concept is simple: a website that matches readers to book clubs.
Initially, we created index cards and bulletin boards to accomplish this task but the boards filled up with ads and our customers were less than enthusiastic about calling or emailing a random stranger, especially in this day of internet matching websites.
I enlisted my web team and we got right to work on the site, building the initial infrastructure. The site works on three different levels: 1. The Reader who is looking for a book club to join 2. The Book Club that registers for all of the benefits the site provides to clubs with an option to attract new members. 3. The Bookseller who can sign on and offer incentives to their clubs, such as discounts on group book orders, free meeting space, discounts on food and / or wine for their meeting, whatever they may choose to offer or nothing at all. That's cool, too.
In greater detail, this is how it works:
An individual logs on to the site, providing just basic information such as their reading style, location (zip code), reading (genre) interests, how far they are willing to travel for a book club, and their goals for being in a club (reading club or drinking club?). They will then be matched to an existing club based on that criteria.
The Book Club
Book clubs will register, listing the criteria above. The clubs' individual members can register as individual readers (see above) and join up. If you are already a member of a registered club, just select the club name. During initial registration, book clubs will be asked to link to a local independent bookseller in their region. Clubs can search booksellers based on locations, descriptions and incentives offered by the stores.
Book sellers have long struggled with how best to tap into the book club market and how to then manage those clubs once they do. By signing on as a BookClubHub bookseller, stores will enjoy a direct link to book clubs in their area and will have access to a database of the clubs that have linked to them. Imagine having a book club database to coordinate author visits or special events with. Or recommending the next book club read.
By creating this network of readers to book clubs, book clubs to new members and so many book lovers to their local independent bookseller, we are creating a more solid community of thriving book discussions all across the country (or beyond?). This is similar to what your page will look like.
How will your contribution help?
The site is pretty great as it is, just out of the gate. However, there is so much more we will be able to do with your help. Here are just some of the ideas we have planned
- more matching groups. Writers to writing groups and poets to poetry groups. Kids groups, too!
- Book feeds where, with just a click, readers will be able to buy their next club's pick from their indie seller.
- We've already partnered with Reading Group Guides but are finalizing the technology involved for tailored recommendations.
- Forums for each book club's members to communicate with one another
- Meeting calendars
- Polling function so members can vote on next book clubs, meeting locations, and new members (yikes!)
- Member book reviews and lists to easily keep track of books read and to read
- Connecting authors to clubs in their area
- Marketing. We have a tiered plan in place for getting the word out, starting with booksellers, who in turn, will market to their customers. We envision this network growing out across the country with the booksellers serving as hubs (see what we did there?) Next we will enlist publishers and authors who would like to market to readers.
Check out the marketing materials we've already come up with for readers and booksellers. We will be sending these materials out to booksellers as they register.
Book clubs are increasing in popularity more than ever before. There are other book club support websites out there but none with a matching function and none that link to an Indie Bookseller. Click here to see why that's so important to communities.
I can tell you that it is hugely important to the book market because it is the Indies that promote diversity in literature. I probably don't have to tell you why book clubs and readers are so important to communities. But, o.k. I will. Readers are smarter, more empathetic, more interesting, often more funny, and fun to be around. We're not only better at trivia but 100% sexier than non-readers* it's a fact. Look it up, In a book and then join a club and talk about it. Be a part of this literary community building experience!
*independent poll done by Nicole.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge my project faces is the three user type dependency. For example, if we have plenty of readers but not enough book stores, this will not work as well. We need lots of users and a good balance of the three types. This is why book stores are so important to the equation. Booksellers who have seen the same need as we have, can market this site to their customers, both readers and book clubs. The benefits to them (more, loyal customers, a book club database, a never before offered service) will motivate them to help get the word out and get more people signed on. Being in the industry myself allows me access to many other booksellers across the country as well as various bookseller associations, publishers, and authors who can help me help the cause along.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)