The 8 Best Online Book Clubs of 2020

Find a literary community that's right for you

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: NYPL and WNYC’s Get Lit Book Club

Get Lit

WNYC

A literary collaboration between the New York Public Library (NYPL) and WNYC's All of It, Get Lit gives book lovers the chance to ask questions and be in dialogue with celebrated titles like "Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid, "The Glass Hotel" by Emily St. John Mandel, and "My Dark Vanessa" by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

Readers can join by accessing each month's free e-book via the NYPL and by following All Of It on Instagram in order to gain access to questions, polls, and thoughts from fellow book club members as they read along.

This "stay-at-home book club" also includes a monthly livestream event where readers can tune in for a dynamically immersive conversation between the selected author and All of It's Alison Stewart, along with exclusive musical performances and appearances by special guests.

Readers who'd like to join can get access Get Lit's current title here.

Best Value: Sparkle Nation Book Club

Sparkle Nation Book Club

Sparkle Nation Book Club

The collaborative brainchild of Brooklyn-based creatives Precious Okoyomon, Gabrielle Rucker, and Diamond Stingily, Sparkle Nation Book Club is a "literary collective dedicated to the written word and organizing through its various forms."

Founded in 2018, Sparkle Nation's inventive approach to fostering literary community is a refreshing reimagining of what book clubs can look like. With each selected reading, Sparkle Nation aims to “directly challenge traditional academic notions of how to properly obtain, share, and utilize knowledge by promoting self-discipline and community-based autodidacticism.”

Coupling selected texts by theorists like Sylvia Wynter, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, and Jackie Wang, and poets like Pat Parker and Jayne Cortez, Sparkle Nation's unique and immersive approach to examining and reclaiming the works of often undercelebrated greats also includes workshops, radio broadcasts, and an illuminating archive for free.

Online and off, the Sparkle Nation Book Club offers book clubs and readers everywhere a new model for sparking progress and building bridges between imagination, innovation, and political praxis.

Best for Activists: Noname’s Book Club

Noname Book Club

Noname Book Club

Founded in 2019, Noname Book Club is an "online/irl community dedicated to uplifting POC voices."

Spearheaded by Noname—a Chicago based activist and rapper—this literary coalition of readers and thinkers highlights two titles (one selected by Noname and another selected by a member from the community) by authors of color monthly.

With six local chapters and growing, Noname Book Club hosts online and in-person meetups where readers across the globe can delve deep into the pages of revolutionary voices like Morgan Parker, Angela Y. Davis, Frantz Fanon, Danez Smith, and more.

In addition to get-togethers, the book club is dedicated to raising funds to send copies of their monthly selections to prisons across the U.S. Members who subscribe to the book club’s Patreon also get access to livestreams, videos, and podcasts, plus an exclusive edition of the book club’s newspaper, Out of Print.

Membership ranges from around $1 to about $10 per month. Unabashedly anti-capitalist and intersectional, Noname Book Club is a reminder of how powerful a community can be.

Best for Podcast Fans: Books & Boba

Books & Boba

Books & Boba

If you’re missing your offline book club, read along with Books & Boba, a free book club podcast devoted to Asian and Asian American voices.

Based in Los Angeles, Books & Boba's hosts—Reera Yoo and Marvin Yueh—release episodes on a monthly basis that feature in-depth book discussions, conversations with authors, news from the publishing world, and the scoop on forthcoming releases.

In addition to the podcast, Books & Boba also has an extensive (and continuously growing) list of titles by Asian authors on Goodreads. With each episode, Books & Boba gives listeners the opportunity to connect, transforming the solitary act of reading into a communal dialogue. Titles discussed in recent episodes include: "Convenience Store Woman" by Sayaka Murata, "The Woman Warrior" by Maxine Hong Kingston, and "Mimi Lee Gets a Clue" by Jennifer J. Chow.

Access to Books & Boba's podcasts is free.

Best for Bookstagrammers: Free Black Women’s Library

Free Black Women’s Library

Free Black Women’s Library

The Free Black Women’s Library (TFBWL) is an undeniable godsend for Black bibliophiles. Since its inception in 2015 by OlaRonke Akinmowo, TFBWL has become a transformative and thriving community of readers and visionaries.

Comprised of titles acquired through donations and the collective’s "bring a book, take a book" ethos, Akinmowo’s celebration of Black women’s voices has bloomed into multiple branches across the U.S., including one in Los Angeles.

In the past, TFBWL has hosted discussions with authors, historians, and creatives, in addition to paying homage to literary giants like Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison. In recent months, TFBWL has offered members solace through digital storytime hours, featuring literary icons like Zora Neale Hurston, Sonia Sanchez, and Edwidge Danticat, and discussions on Octavia E. Butler and N.K. Jemisin.

In the meantime, you can stay up to date on upcoming discussions and story times by supporting the club on Patreon. Membership ranges from about $2 to $50 per month.

Best for Multiple Genres: Reading While Black Book Club

Reading While Black Book Club

Reading While Black Book Club

For those who want to read multiple genres and connect digitally, the Reading While Black Book Club sits at the intersection where books and podcasting meet.

Hosted by Jason Barnes, the Reading While Black Book Club selects a new title on a monthly basis and features interviews with authors that directly explore not only the literary work, but also the process of creating it. At the same time, book club members will have the opportunity for their questions about the book to be answered by the author.

Since 2017, Reading While Black has viewed "reading as a self-help tool for better mental health" and a way to "provide a safe space where individuals can tell their stories." For this book club and its founder, "Black literature is not monolithic and all of it deserves celebration."

Recent Reading While Black picks include, "I Don't Want to Die Poor" by Michael Arceneaux, "My Grandmother’s Hands" by Resmaa Menakem, and "The Water Dancer" by Ta-Nehisi Coates. You can find their full reading list here and catch up on past episodes via Anchor for free.

Best for Fans of Black Writers: Go On Girl! Book Club

Go On Girl! Book Club

Go On Girl! Book Club

Before bookstagram, #BlackGirlMagic, and the rise of the literary influencer, there was Go On Girl! Book Club. Founded in 1991, this groundbreaking, nonprofit book community continues to celebrate the vibrance and diversity of Black literature on a monthly basis.

With over 30 chapters throughout the U.S., Go On Girl!—co-founded by Monique Greenwood, Lynda Johnson, and Tracy Mitchell-Brown—continues to uplift and champion Black voices through scholarships for emerging writers, workshops, and their forever growing reading list (which also includes a YA component for younger readers).

Updated twice a year, the Go On Girl! reading list for 2020 features a multi-genre offering of timely titles like "Red at the Bone" by Jacqueline Woodson, "The Confessions of Frannie Langton" by Sara Collins, and "Deacon King Kong" by James McBride.

An inarguable cornerstone of the Black book club community, Go On Girl! Book Club is a living testament to the power of Black stories. Since there are different chapters across the country, membership fees will vary.

Best for Bibliophiles: Call Number

Call Number

Call Number

Call Number is a "library-inspired, quarterly book subscription box" that uplifts the voices of Black writers and the Black literary canon.

Founded by bibliophile and academic librarian Jamillah R. Gabriel, Call Number aims to celebrate and center titles that are often undercelebrated by the mainstream. Each month subscribers a curated selection of book-themed or library inspired items along with a new book to enjoy.

Call Number offers readers the opportunity to decolonize their bookshelves and simultaneously make space for self-care. Celebrating works by Black authors from America, the Caribbean, Africa, and beyond, Call Number is the perfect way to treat yourself and support Black literature. This year’s titles include: "Parable of the Brown Girl" by Khristi Lauren Adams, "Small Silent Things" by Robin Page, "Telephone" by Percival Everett, and more.

Subscription plans range from around $23 to $156. Subscribers also have the option of purchasing past featured titles from Call Number’s online gift shop.

How We Chose the Best Online Book Clubs

We researched at least 30 different book clubs, mainly focusing on BIPOC-centered offerings. Out of that amount, we selected eight book clubs and literary collectives that illustrate the diversity of the literary community. Many dynamic and visionary BIPOC-led and centered book clubs didn’t make this list, either because they’re already widely celebrated or because of their limited online presence.

We chose the NYPL and WNYC’s Get Lit Book Club as our Best Overall pick because it is free, includes a monthly livestream event that allowed for reader conversation and features additional perks like live music performances. Sparkle Nation Book Club was our selection for Best Value because it examines the works of often uncelebrated authors and includes free workshops, radio broadcasts, and a quality archive.