March 8th, 2006 at 7:30PM - Book Club Interview in Palo Alto
This is one of many ongoing efforts to find reach out into the 'real world' to meet target users for Chandler 0.7.
Information about the group:
- Five members of the group were present during this interview.
- Age range was from 25+
- All the members present were women.
- The majority of members are married with kids.
- The entire group is about 9 people.
- One member of the book club sends e-mail to remind and inform the rest of the members.
- Most communication and coordination is done through e-mail and when there is a thread. There is is sometimes a vote and usually closure to the thread so people are not left wondering if the subject is closed or not.
- The day, place and time is always the which makes the coordianation very easy. --"don't need to ask what day, place, time it is"
- The web site is primarily used as an archive of books read. Though no real thought has been put into it as to if to give some kind of rating system, etc.
- What are the different types of things the group needs to keep track of: Books, Food, Attendance, etc.
- What is the process for how these things are Created and Collected?
- How does the team keep track of these things once they've been generated?
- How do you update each other on status?
- How do you ensure that issues are closed?
- How do you store information that might be good to keep around as an Archive?
How is the club usually coordinated?
- Julie is the host and usually is the keeper of the web page.
- The book club is primarily communicated through e-mail.
- "Julie tell us who's coming and who isn't coming."
- The majority is communicated by email but sometimes telephone calls. Very few people call (about 2) to ask about information and the call is usually to Julie.
- They really rely upon e-mail and sending to a mailing list to co-ordinate
Why you don't use Yahoo groups?
- Besides the group had started before Yahoo Groups, the group has always been small and that membership is more fluid. It's a small enough group and that it would just be hard to change.
- In addition there is very little rearranging. It's usually at the same place (Julie's place), every 2nd Wednesday at the same time, 7pm.
- "...if we had to move around..that little detail (the intention that it would make things more difficult to coordiante)" -- "don't need to ask what day, place, time it is."
- Early on in the book club, they tried to rotate, and it was "difficult".
- Current arrangement also works with the host.
- Currently there are 5 people, if 2 or 3 people can 't make it. It's ok. It's pretty fluid.
- There are very few rules...you open a change (meaning if one suggests a change in the e-mail), they close the chain (of e-mails), taking the votes and such. The e-mails aren't left floating without a decision made.
- open discussion and don't know if it's still open, so they close the chain in the email thread.
- The web page is not used much. It's more for an archiving and remembering the books read. One member even used it as a list when looking for gifts for birthdays, holidays etc.
- It used to be whoever brought dessert will also send the email out, but that didn't work. So now one person is tasked to send the email out. "Nikko does it all the time."
- The books alternate from fiction and non fiction and a rule that at least one person has already read the book.
- So history had made this rule, so they are not reading something thay all don't end up reading something they disliked or have difficulty getting into the book.
How are the books chosen?
- Suggestions of books are tossed in the meeting, and everyone comments.
How does each member pick up a copy of the book?
- The library. Some buy it only if they're going to like it.
- You buy when you're lazy, but don't usually want to keep so many books around the house.
- They check out the palo alto book sale.
- "I always buy them when I travel, then I donate them to my library."
- Non fiction not as important. But would you would you like to know the end of the story.
- Sometimes the books talked about are split up, "only read up the 400 pages"
Do people google about the book they read?
- It depends on fiction vs. non-fiction. If you think about it, then I would, but I usually don't get around to it.
- I like to learn about the authors.
- Book club analysis stuff..? What are the themes, symbols, about thinking about the book.
How are the books discussed?
- Thumbs up or tumbs down.
- Everyone is pretty comfortable with each other. Everyone has strong opinions and have that set hour to talk about the book.
- Discussion do refer back to the last 60 books.
What happens when you miss a meeting?
- Sometimes you you come early to the meeting to chat about it.
- The book club has been around for about 7 years.
Perhaps nice to haves in archiving:
- Pick you favorites
- Constant ranking
- Top five 5, add a favorite, take one down.
- 1-10 ranking and comments.