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Not Your Grandma's Book Club: A Trello Tale

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<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Not Your Grandma's Book Club: A Trello Tale</span>



In 2015, reading just isn’t what it used to be. With the advent of tablet readers and ebooks, we can all escape the banality of our lives with a good book and not even break a spine in the process.

Tablets are not the only way that book reading has gone digital. Even the very act of getting together with friends and discussing a book has become more technologically savvy. Gone are the days where you call everyone up on the phone to plan it. Who leaves a voicemail anymore, anyway? Research has shown that using Trello, instead, is highly advantageous.

Michelle Earhart is a Support Specialist, distant cousin of Amelia Earhart and, most notably, a member of the illustrious Unnamed Book Club (don’t judge a book club by it’s title). She graciously took time out of her Florida vacation to expound upon the virtues of using Trello to manage her book club. Here are the cliff notes:

Chapter 1: Lists and Voting

The lists are pretty basic: “Suggestions,” “Current Book,” and “Done.” Everyone puts books they’re interested in reading in the “Suggestions” column, so when it’s time to choose the next adventure it’s simply a matter of scrolling through the list. Each book suggestion is its own card.

It’s also possible to enable the Voting Power-Up, and allow your book club members to vote on the cards in the “Suggestions” list. This provides an objective way to politely tell that one person in the club that Fifty Shades simply isn’t going to happen.

Once it is clear which book is next on the docket, drag that card to the “Current Book” list, assign everyone to the card, and commence bookworm mode.

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Chapter 2: Labels

Add labels to each card to indicate a book’s genre. Michelle explains that her club started by just using the standard “Fiction,” and “Non-fiction” labels, but that quickly became too general. Now their board boasts a genre for every label color, including “Memoir,” “Fantasy,” and “Literary,” to name a few.  If your group uses the color labels, you’ll be able to get a quick visual overview of the book trends, and maybe inspire everyone to switch it up a bit.

“Hey guys, it seems like we’re really going overboard with magic realism, perhaps we should consider switching to Harlequin romance this month.”

Chapter 3: Discussion

One of the most useful features about using Trello for book clubs is the ability to carry on a discussion without ever sending an email. Whether it is setting or changing a meeting time, passing thoughts on what you’re reading, or even posting relevant links, all of this communication can exist on the back of the card:

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So when the casting for the upcoming movie/HBO series/Lifetime biopic adaptation are announced prior to your meeting, everyone can compare notes on whether the actor matches the description they formed in their head. It’s kind of a nerve wracking thing, honestly.

Chapter 4: Due dates

Adding due dates to cards lets members know when the next get together will be. Everyone on that card will receive a notification 24 hours before its due, which helps give them that little push needed to finish reading before the meetup.

For the chronically organized one in the bunch (and, there always is one), enable the Calendar Power-Up and plan out meetings farther in advance. Press the “Calendar” button and see a detailed schedule of your next five literary liaisons. Oprah would be proud.


Book clubs are a great way to get new people acquainted with using Trello. So if you’re the technophile (as well as bibliophile) in the group, encourage everyone to communicate via Trello cards instead of email. It’s a fluid way to not lose any important communication and a great way to enrich discussion outside of the meetup.

We made a sample book club board with Trello staff picks that you can copy, and believe you us, we have excellent taste in books:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.32.23 AM

Trello book club sample board - Copy me!

Special thank you to Michelle Earhart for sharing how her book club is using Trello.

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!

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