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Inspiring Conversations with Zoe Epstein of Bookclubs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zoe Epstein.

Hi Zoe, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I was part of the pandemic’s great resignation. I had been working since business school for a large management consulting company, and after nine years, I felt really ready for a change. Before that, I worked as the Chief of Staff for a city councilman in New York City, and I missed that sense of purpose.

My friend Anna had started a book club in Philadelphia ten years ago. When the book club started, she was more of a friend of a friend, but book club brought us together. We went on a yoga retreat together. She hosted my baby shower. I was there the day she met her now-husband. After we both left Philadelphia (I moved to Denver in 2018), holding virtual book club meetings over Zoom was a great way to make sure we stayed connected.

Anna’s husband, Ian, had coded an app to help us organize our book club back when we all lived in Philly and had large, constantly evolving, and unmanageable membership. There’s nothing more frustrating than an endless, tangled email thread! Over the years, usage of the app and website had grown, and Anna made Bookclubs her full-time job starting in 2018.

After Bookclubs raised some funding, I was able to quit my job and join the company at the beginning of this year as Chief Growth Officer. I’m able to take everything I learned helping large corporations market to consumers, and apply it to growing this website and app that help bring people together over reading. It’s a dream job.

My work now is a mix of product development, strategy, and marketing. Bookclubs is now more than just an organizational tool for traditional, living room book clubs. We have features for businesses, libraries and bookstores to host their own clubs. We have a public book club marketplace, where anyone can find a book club to join. We are a place where any reader can organize their reading and get great book recommendations. So working to develop all these new features, and to bring Bookclubs to even more clubs and readers is a really exciting thing to be doing.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We are a small team with big plans and ambitions so it’s always a struggle to prioritize and there’s always more to do, every day! We are all passionate readers, and we get so much amazing feedback from our users that it keeps us going!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Bookclubs?
Bookclubs makes organizing and joining a book club simple. We’re currently helping over 275,000 members get organized and read together with tools to build community, schedule meetings, facilitate discussions, and discover what to read next.

Our website and app (available on iOS and Android) are 100% free to use and are designed to help book clubs say goodbye to the tangle of emails and focus on reading and being together. It’s easy and free to sign up and to create your own club or to find a club to join, whether it’s an online book club or a book club near you.

On Bookclubs you can:
– View all the books your club has read in one place
– Manage your club membership online (no more email chains!)
– Poll your members to select books and meeting dates
– Easily create meetings to send invites and collect RSVPs
– Get inspired by seeing what other book clubs are reading
– Rate each book you read and save ratings
– Find a new book club community on our Join a Book Club page

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
I’m always using the Bookclubs app to keep track of my book club meetings, along with tracking books that I’ve read or more importantly want to read! I also love the Libby app, which is a great way to borrow e-books from your local library. Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books is a fantastic book podcast, where host Zibby Owens interviews authors — and you can join the companion book club on our website! As someone working to grow a start-up business, I also love to listen to the How I Built This podcast.

Pricing:

  • Setting up a Bookclubs account is totally free!

Contact Info:

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