How to Start a Book Club on a $0 Budget

Finding enough teenagers who enjoy reading was the easiest part of starting a book club for them.
The hardest part? Getting the books.
Luckily, there’s a way to acquire books for free.

When I first decided to start Books Unbound, I was encouraged by the prospect that it would be a low-cost endeavor. After all, books are one of the cheaper pleasures in life. But, alas, they are not always free. And while buying a rundown book for my personal collection excites me just as much as — realistically, more than — buying a new book, handing out books that are past their expiration date at any book club is not an option.

The Devil in the White City pic

While many of us know that libraries make it completely free to attend a book club — since they lend you the discussed books — few of us know that they also make it completely free to start your own. On my quest to start a book club on a $0 budget, I discovered that the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) has several dozen book club kits ranging from The Girl The Color Purple picWith the Dragon Tattoo to Water for Elephants. Each comes with 15 copies of the book, and many include a discussion guide. The only thing left for you to do is gather up a group of friends, family, coworkers, or, in my case teens, and get reading!

Any CCPL account holders in good standing can take advantage of this amenity. If you’re interested, check out the entire selection of book club kits available, then reserve one before it’s gone. A tremendous thank you to CCPL for making these available, and for encouraging book discussion both inside of the library and outside of it!

A quick note: The kit I am currently using is for Divergent, a young adult book aligned with the We Need Diverse Books campaign. It fits in perfectly with the Books Unbound mission. However, I am still in desperate need of donations to purchase my own books. Please consider investing in the futures of incarcerated youth and, ultimately in the entirety of the Lowcountry by making a donation. $15 equals one book!


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