With the coronavirus pandemic altering public life for all of us, our book clubs and our love of reading remain a way to seek comfort, enlightenment and, now, normalcy in a most abnormal time.

Many of you have shared updates on virtual meetings with your book groups via Skype, Zoom, Google, and Facebook. We encourage you to continue to help flatten the curve—but keep in touch—by meeting virtually.

We’re pleased to share some of the creative ways publishers, organizations, and bookstores have devised to connect authors and readers during the COVID-19 outbreak, along with ways to borrow or purchase books.
With COVID-19 curtailing travel, we’re proud to partner with
A MIGHTY BLAZE , a group of book stores, authors, and book organizations that has launched a social media initiative for authors whose public events have been canceled, so they can still reach their readers—and so readers will have a place to learn about and buy new books. It’s the brainchild of authors Jenna Blum (Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family ) and Caroline Leavitt (Pictures of You, Cruel Beautiful World, and the upcoming With or Without You ).

“Writers and books need readers. Readers need books,” says Blum. “Every Tuesday, you can hear about new book releases and meet the authors. Please support your writers and their new books, and we will continue lifting our candles for you, putting them together in a mighty blaze to light all of our ways forward together.”

To participate, visit @amightyblaze on social media each Tuesday.
The Great Thoughts Virtual Book Festival features three authors daily via Facebook Live videos or Facebook threads.“We have a great mix of bestselling, indie, and debut authors,” says organizer Andrea Peskind Katz. Great Thoughts is also hosting a virtual book club.


Through the Quarantine Book Club , you can join your favorite authors on Zoom for discussion. This week's lineup includes Megan Stielstra ( Wrong Way to Save Your Life ) and Rob Larson ( Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley ).


Providence, Rhode Island based Reading with Robin offers three programs to engage readers. Their book series is broadcasting live, featuring authors whose book tours and festivals have been canceled. All interviews will remain posted, and interviews are also featured on the Reading with Robin podcast. Their monthly Providence-based reading series “The Cardigan Connection" will be streamed on The Cardigan Connection Facebook page .


NetGalley is compiling bookish events including virtual book tours and author talks.

LitHub has launched The Virtual BookChannel. "Virtual literary communities are emerging in vital and unexpected ways, from Zoom to Instagram: book clubs, salons, readings, conversation,” says LitHub editor Jonny Diamond. “The Virtual Book Channel will amplify those voices and provide the best possible platforms for writers to reach their readers.”

Original programming includes "Shelter in Place," Maris Kreizman’s virtual book party, "Playback," a 5-minute self-interview series for writers with new book releases, and "Rekindled," previously scheduled book tour conversations made virtual.

Many publishers offer story times and readings online. Penguin Kids hosts authors and illustrators who read stories aloud while the HarperKids team holds a daily story time, and Scholastic sponsors a Home Base Virtual Book Fest (the next one is scheduled for March 27).

Many children’s authors host daily storytimes o n their social media sites including Peter Reynolds, Bethany Barton, Dan Gutman, and more.

Actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner have launched #SaveWith Stories, featuring celebrities reading stories on  Instagram  and Facebook to provide fun and education for kids and parents stuck at home. #SaveWithStories requests that viewers make donations to help Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, to support schools and community programs.


Borrow eBooks and audiobooks via Overdrive. Check your local public library’s listings online.
I t’s more important than ever to support our local bookstores. Many stores across the country are getting creative about the services they are providing. Here’s a sampling of what they offer:

Like many independent bookstores, Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Missouri offers curbside pick-up and free delivery within town limits for orders over $30. “We're limiting this service to customers over the age of 55, or who have someone in their household who is immuno-compromised, but that may change as the situation evolves,” says owner and author Alex George. “We’re also sharing book recommendations. Readers take photos of their bookshelves of recently-read books and we’re choosing titles accordingly,” adds George.

Skylark ships books across the country at reduced rates, and orders over $100 ship for free. “We plan to have bookplates to authors to sign, so we can ship kind-of-signed books to anyone who wants them,” adds George. The store is also looking into streaming storytimes and author conversations.

In Charleston, South Carolina, Itinerant Literate Books offers curbside pick-up and free local delivery.Their monthly dinner book club will be held virtually, says owner Julia Turner.

Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich, Massachusetts asks customers to call for recommendations for books, toys, and gifts, says staffer Ellen Speers. Purchases can be picked up on a table at the front of the store. The store takes website orders and ships books as well. Titcomb’s will also host video conversations with authors: "We'll use more videos in our social media to connect with our customers and continue the conversations we normally have in the store," says Speers.

For bookstores in areas with “shelter-in-place" orders, such as East Bay Booksellers in Oakland, California, local deliveries are no longer possible, but the store can ship books. The store's statement emphasizes the importance of supporting independent stores through gift cards." "What has not changed is our belief that gift cards are the thing right that will see us through the challenging road ahead. We’re still going to fulfill all the orders we can— but gift certificates will help make that possible as days turn to weeks. We will be back, & these will determine our strength when we do."
We will continue to share new book releases, author recipes, giveaways, as well as advance reading copies through our GalleyMatch program.

Please share new and creative ideas for connecting with readers and supporting authors and bookstores with us!

Stay safe.


Judy Gelman

Copyright © 2020 Book Club Cookbook. All rights reserved.