Both online and offline reading clubs have thrived in China in recent years. Offline reading clubs often distinguish themselves by their focus on different types of books. They can be organized by media outlets, bookstores, publishing houses or universities.
Such platforms not only enable participants to improve their knowledge, but also provide an opportunity for people of different professions and educational backgrounds to communicate with each other. They can also contribute to the government's ongoing efforts to promote reading nationwide.
However, overreliance on the organizers and lack of a professional operation model and funding sources may threaten the survival of such organizations.
Reading clubs that have emerged on social networking platforms may help to solve the problem of offline reading clubs. Online reading clubs hold lectures or discussions on social networking platforms or share videos or audio with subscribers. They make profits from advertisements, e-commerce or selling content such as online courses.
For instance, the WeChat account Read at Ten has collaborated with multiple publishing houses to sell their books online and reaped considerable profit.
Online reading clubs offer content according to the needs of their targeted readers. For instance, the Spiritual Wealth Club, whose subscribers are primarily women aged above 25, provides books on family, career and psychology.
Some online reading clubs are also engaged in offline activities to improve their popularity. For instance, the Spiritual Wealth Club has established nearly 600 branches at home and abroad and held activities for members to share their experiences of reading.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in the Oriental Outlook on June 29)