What platform to use for asynchronous book club?
July 28, 2021 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to start a book club where I work but do it in an asynchronous way. I'm imagining a very visually appealing and easy to use page/website/forum/whatever you want to call it where there would be an option for people to add new books as desired and people to post comments/discussions as desired. We have about 700 employees so I'd like them to be able to post a variety of books (with moderation in place, of course) they are reading, with discussion bits, etc. and have people respond. Each book should have one "thread" that people can participate in. and show something about the most recent comment(s) and who posted them.

I realize I'm basically describing a bulletin board/forum - am I overthinking this and just need to find a forum platform, or is there something better? I'd really like this to be visually appealing and easy for non-tech savvy people to use. I envision people reading a book, finding a topic or passage they love, and either going to the thread for that book that already exists, or creating a new one if one doesn't, to discuss. My concern with a bulletin board as I know them is that I'd have to actively manage topics to make sure there are no duplicates and I'd really like this to be pretty moderation-free; I'm not concerned about inappropriate topics or discussions from staff at this point and don't expect major needs for moderation tools.

Does anyone have experience creating something like this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks friends!
posted by _DB_ to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Discord with different channels for different books would be a modern way to go.
It has a fairly low learning curve, but the older your age group, the less likely people will have familiarity with it from the get go.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:06 AM on July 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

For UI ideas, I think FanFare works really well and it's easy to add a new title.
posted by rogerroger at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2021

Discourse has automatic duplicate detection but I've found it to be a tad over-sensitive. Folks should still automatically see a list of similar topics when posting a new one, in order of most similar.
posted by supercres at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2021

I still really like squarespace. I believe they have options for forums. Support the other suggestions, but it's difficult to move away from something "older," but well done.
posted by firstdaffodils at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2021

It sounds to me like you need everyone to get a Goodreads account and then start your own "group" there. You can have a private group.
posted by cda at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

No idea how Slack compares to other options, but it allows for different channels, and would seem to work well for this.
posted by coffeecat at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

Fable sounds a lot like what you're looking for, though I'm not sure which parts of their service are free and which are paid.
posted by hungrytiger at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2021

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