Thanks to the phenomenon that is BookTok, the act of reading has been rendered an aesthetic for some; on the other hand, the app's community has launched careers and book awards, and has pushed literary sales to revitalized heights.
Somewhat mimicking in-person book clubs, the intersection of social networking and reading already exists, with the reigning — but sometimes controversial — Goodreads functioning as an answer to both. The platform functions like a book log, shared with both friends and the public. Then there are the other long-existing integrated communities, like Book Twitter and the once-popular Bookstagram. But digital communities and book clubs are still less readily available, and conversations about reading online are often saturated when they appear on platforms that serve wider purposes.
I have found Goodreads and BookWyrm (part of the Fediverse, and privacy focussed) to be great for notching up reads against an annual goal, and for posting reviews etc. But what they lack is the real social aspect of reading clubs, and also good AI suggestions.
LibraryThing is also around after many years, but it's look and feel has never really updated with the times. Many of its groups are quite active with a few thousand members, but many have also gone dormant.
It looks like Fable is helping fill this niche. I've not actually joined Fable, so can't say first-hand. Although they also sell ebooks (that was what made me a bit cautious, although it is a good way of funding the platform) about 90% of the book clubs are free to join and participate in, and there are thousands of book clubs.
If you think about the early days of Amazon, as an online bookshop, this is similar, but it has been founded by a reader and is focussed on only reading (versus taking over the world). Some of their popular clubs are around 8,000 to 12,000 members. If you can't find a suitable club to join, you can start your own one on the platform.
What sets it apart a bit, though, is the clubs are not just centred around authors or specific genres. It seems many clubs are focussed around the reader personalities themselves, and their interests. They also have a new AI-powered discovery feed.
Part of the founder's mission states: "I started Fable so that all of us can fill the micro-moments in our hectic lives with stories. Our mission is to deliver the world’s best social experience with exceptional stories in service of mental wellness."
It is true that books are a refuge from stress and boredom, and they also spark creativity and a yearning to travel and know more about the world.
It is also dedicated to diversity and inclusion, so can be expected to be a safe place for anyone to venture into.
See This app wants reading to be a social experience — for the best reasons
Featuring thousands of book clubs and a personalized feed, Fable is an answer to those looking to share their reading experiences.