Delhi's The Indian Book Club seeks to build a virtual community of book lovers
Since book clubs were not functioning offline, the only discussion one could have about books was over a phone call or via chatting
When the pandemic struck, Snigdha Gautam (23), an avid reader, felt a sense of disconnect. Confined to her home and unable to discuss books that she had read with other bibliophiles, Gautam felt the need to construct a digital space for readers.
Hence, the idea to start The Indian Book Club (IBC), a virtually-run initiative that seeks to build a community of book lovers who can come together, read books, and discuss them.
“When the pandemic started, there was no space to connect with readers. Since book clubs were not functioning offline, the only discussion one could have about books was over a phone call or via chatting. I discussed this with Divya [the co-founder of IBC] and we thought of creating an online platform where readers could openly discuss books,” she shares.
Gautam teamed up with her sisters—Divya Jain, Meghna Pandey, and Ankita—to materialise the idea. Following months of discussions, the venture finally came into being in August 2020, and they hosted their first session in January 2021. Currently, with 500 members, IBC organises weekly meetings on a number of themes.
A haven for book lovers
The team rolls out a calendar each month—they read poetry, short stories in English and regional languages, as well as a novel in a month—for their weekly meetings. The books and stories they discuss can be accessed by the members through the ‘IBC Bookshelf’ on their website.
“We have shifted the physical club to virtual so that readers from any state and city can connect. We read together and then discuss the book,” shares Jain, a resident of Nirman Vihar.
The idea behind such weekly meetings is to create a platform for bibliophiles where they can voice their views and opinions about a book and also discuss what it made them feel.
“During our meetings, we try to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak and pitch in their views about the book and their experience of reading it,” explains Gautam.
With an aim to cultivate an environment that is well suited for readers and book lovers, the team at IBC also includes book reviews.
The team also routinely conducts interviews with authors to help them reach out to a larger audience.
Along with this, IBC organises online meetings to inculcate the habit of reading in children.
“Since we have moved to the virtual mode of education wherein it is difficult for kids to build a habit of reading, we train them by either making them read chapters with us or we sometimes have a narrator who reads the entire story to them,” concludes Jain.