Search | Memberlist | Register |  Profile | Login to check your private messages | Login 

Book Group Online: Britain's First Independent Books Forum

Post new topic   Reply to topic Forum Index -> Contact
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 3
Location: West London

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:07 pm    Post subject: Book Group Online: Britain's First Independent Books Forum Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I’m sure everyone involved in Book Groups - in fact anyone who loves books as we do - will want to be among the first to know about an exciting new books forum called Book Group Online which is being launched this week. Amazingly, this is the first independent books forum to be launched in the UK, covering all the subjects you would find in any decent bookshop. You can access the forum by following this link:

Using book groups as its inspiration, this forum has been constructed on the principle that it’s impossible to read a book and not have an opinion about it. Book Group Online is a place to come and discuss books to your heart’s content: to share your views and argue with those whose views differ from your own. We also want this to be a place to come when you’re wondering what to read next, and looking for recommendations.

There has never been a books forum covering as wide a range of subjects as Book Group Online, including different fiction genres, every non-fiction category you can think of, and a special section covering children’s books. Even on its first day, it is the largest of its kind.

This is a brand new website, and you are among the very first people to know about it. To be honest, we’re just finishing off creating it now. You could look on it as like going on holiday to the Costa Brava and finding that the building is being completed around you – with the difference being that everything works, and that you have a say in how it’s constructed. Because ultimately, it is the first users of this site who will set the tone for future users.

So please register and start posting! Click on and it will take you to an opening page with simple instructions on how to register. All you have to do is choose a user name and a secret password. There is plenty of information on the forum on how to use the site.

The other thing you can do is not keep the existence of Book Group Online to yourself. Spread the word! There are bound to be people you know who would enjoy this site, so we ask you please to pass on the address, email the link, whatever you can do to let others know about it. And then they too can spread the word! The more people who join and join in, the better this site will become. There’s not much point in being a pioneer if there’s nobody following you.

If you haven’t finished, or even started, your Christmas shopping yet, our website contains an innovative way to do all your online purchasing at once. The site contains Top 50 charts for Fiction paperbacks and hardbacks, and Top 50 charts for Non-Fiction paperbacks and hardbacks, plus Top 20 charts for children’s paperbacks and hardbacks. Each book has its own individual thread in chart order – go into it and you will see a description of the book, and a link that will take you straight to the correct Amazon page for that book.

Bill Matthews and Luise Finan,
Founders, Book Group Online
Talk about books at Book Group Online:
Back to top
View users profile Send private message Visit posters website

Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 3
Location: West London

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An update here about Book Group Online: we have had a lot of links from this site in the past few days. Our 'official' launch is on January 25th. Anyone who joins up until January 31st will be called a 'Founder Member'.

This is the press release:

TV writer creates Internet forum for anyone who’s ever read a book

So you got these books for Christmas…and you’ve read all of them, and now you want to talk about them, to see if other people agree with your opinion. Unfortunately not one of your family, colleagues or friends has read The Plot Against America, or My World by Jonny Wilkinson. or Lemony Snicket’s The Grim Grotto. What do you do?
Most of us would just sit back and moan that there isn’t a book club whose members will have read what we’ve been reading, but not writer and TV producer Bill Matthews. He got to work and created one. The result is Book Group Online – an Internet book forum for everyone who’s ever read a book.

When he’s not creating and producing hit shows like They Think It’s All Over and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Bill is a voracious reader with passionate opinions about books. He had the idea for Book Group Online when he was on holiday in a Devon apartment and read a novel which had been left there by the owner. He thought it was so bad that he looked on the Internet for a books forum, just so he could rubbish it.  Failing to find a website to vent his spleen, he and his wife, life coach and former journalist Luise Finan, decided to create one.

Within six weeks, Book Group Online was born. The site has been beta testing since shortly before Christmas and already has over 200 founder members. It launches officially on 25th January, and judging from early comments on the website - - there are a lot of people out there with something to get off their chests. (Just look at the postings about The Da Vinci Code: around 35 of them to date, with the majority not very complimentary to the top seller of 2004 – 1.6million copies since publication in March.)

“It is impossible to read a book without having an opinion about it, whether you like it or not,” says Bill Matthews, “Reading is a far more involved and involving experience than watching a television programme or a film, and much more personal: it’s just you and the author. And when you read the last line of the last page, all kinds of opinions and emotions lie dormant within you, just waiting to be let out.”

At a time when the group experience of terrestrial TV is no longer so common, what do people talk about around the water cooler or in the staff room over lunch? If you listen in, they may well be talking about books they've been reading. At the same time, in a world where interests are widening, when more and more books are being published, the chances have diminished that someone within your circle will be reading the same book as you.

This is why book groups began in the first place: so that a group of people could read the same book at the same time. But given today’s demands, not everyone can spare a whole evening after a day’s work, or read a book to a deadline, or face the journey to a meeting. Book Group Online was created as a group for the whole population, wherever they are.

At Book Group Online, members are free to vent their opinions to the world, and to enter into discussions and debates with other readers about the books they’ve read, in as much or as little detail as they wish: to talk about parts of a plot they didn’t like or didn’t get, to discuss the characters they liked or didn’t like, to spread the word about books they like or dislike, to correct the author on points of detail or simply to say what they thought.

Forums about specific authors and books are accessible alphabetically or via bestseller lists and the organisers hope that Book Group Online will become the place to go to when people are deciding what to read next.
In addition to book reviews and opinions, Book Group Online features a range of forums where discussion is not tied to particular books, but can be on a wide range of subjects. There’s a forum for authors to discuss their own and fellow authors’ titles; a special area for children’s and young adult books, with forums for under-18s and for their parents or teachers; even a forum where members can discuss ‘anything they like, as long as it isn’t about books.’ The Book Chain Game takes you from The House at Pooh Corner to The Fall of the House of Usher in one leap, and one founder member has started an online reading group, with Philip Roth’s controversial bestseller The Plot Against America as the first selected title.

“The forum is being built by readers,” says founder Bill Matthews. “What we are hoping will develop are smaller communities within the large community, each with its own character. I think of it as like living in a small town: we each have places we like to visit, and others we go to only occasionally. In Book Group Online, you can linger for as long as you want - and you don't even have to buy a drink. You might call it an open book!”

21 January 2005

For further information, call Andrea Marks, 0208 958 4398 or email

Note to editors
Book Group Online founder Bill Matthews is available for interview through Andrea Marks.

 He may even be persuaded to reveal the book which inspired him to create the forum.

Bill Matthews has been a writer for twenty years, working mostly in television and radio. Together with Simon Bullivant, he created BBC1’s long-running comedy sports quiz They Think It’s All Over, which he also produced for a number of series, and he was one of the devisers of BBC2’s comedy pop quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks. As well as producing television shows like the BBC2 game show Liar, Bill has written two original comedy/drama series for Radio 4, a stage play, several documentaries and adaptations, sketch shows, panel games and quizzes. He co-wrote the book Stand Up If You Hate Man United.
Talk about books at Book Group Online:
Back to top
View users profile Send private message Visit posters website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic Forum Index -> Contact All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum