The Book Club Experience in 2020
Three-quarters of the 3,417 respondents who say they are in a book club are in groups that are
currently meeting. Some have experienced sickness, quarantines or fatalities among those close
to them, and many feel drained by current events; but they also feel supported by their book
club and buoyed by a greater sense of friendship and community.
The great majority of groups had previously met in person and indoors. Now, 65% of those that
are currently meeting are doing so virtually, almost all on Zoom, and 17% are meeting outdoors
(with some looking for a new winter location).
A quarter of those who are currently meeting say their group’s attendance rate is lower than
last year, mostly due to technical issues meeting virtually or not feeling safe meeting in person.
But 14% of virtual groups have gained members, mainly due to the ease of meeting online and
former or part-time members being able to join virtually.
Looked at as a whole, the resilience of book clubs shines through. Of course, they would prefer
not to be meeting with restrictions, but the majority have persevered and found a way forward,
with many saying they have a greater appreciation for their group. In fact, although a third of
respondents in groups that are currently meeting say that their overall book club experience is
not as good as it was last year, half say their group is more important to them.
Respondents meeting virtually greatly appreciate that technology allows them to stay
connected and maintain a sense of community.
In general, technology adoption is viewed as positive, with Zoom frequently described as a
lifeline. However, some groups still struggle with technical issues and virtual etiquette, and many
are temporarily missing members who are unable, or sometimes unwilling, to meet virtually.
Virtual discussions tend to be less free-flowing. This is seen as a benefit by some who feel their
group’s book discussions are more focused and inclusive due to fewer side conversations; but
others miss the organic flow of an in-person meeting.
Link to the rest at BookBrowse
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