Fable Book Club App Review
Join a book club
I now turn to my main attraction: book clubs. I have the option of joining a book club or starting my own. The “Fable Featured Clubs” on the home screen are moderated by authors like Mary Kay Andrews, actors like Sean Astin, and BookTok stars like @chamberofsecretsbooks. Book clubs come in free or premium, with many celebrities (LeVar!) locked behind a paywall. Beyond the home screen, you can “Search Clubs” and filter by genre, premium status, and free ebooks, while sorting by number of members or latest activity. The most popular clubs like the “Romance and Coffee Book Club” have between 3,000 and 6,000 readers.
I decide to join the “Chamber of Classic Books”, hosted by BookTokker Cameron Capello, because the club is free and offers the free Jane Austen ebook Persuasion. The club has 307 readers and about ten posts, organized by section. This is where I discover one of the coolest features of the app – and I mean discover like buried treasure because there’s no tutorial or anything to point me to it. when i download Persuasion for the app, I can choose to read with the book club, which means I can see other members’ highlights and answers to discussion questions that appear in a corner with a “Let’s Talk” tab. If you don’t mind reading a book on your phone or tablet, this is definitely a more social way to read. If this feature is available on all book club books (including the ones you have to buy), that’s a great selling point. But as I mentioned, the “social reading” experience, which I think should be a key selling point, is not featured or explained on the site.
Although I was disappointed that so many book clubs were premium, there are some free ones that sound really good. For example, the “Authors Guild Banned Books Club” is hosted by the author of the banned book. As of this writing, Fable has Jacqueline Woodson moderating the discussion on her novel Red to the bone. Although the topic and author are amazing, the club seems to have the same low attendance as most clubs I’ve been to. Despite having 2k members, there are only 20 comments in the “Kickoff” section. Going through the app, this seems to be the average level of engagement, even for clubs with thousands of members.
I also wondered if the ebook of Red to the bone came with a discussion guide. Maybe! I would not know how to say it. And while it’s probably very cool to have the reading experience with Woodson, the app doesn’t sell it very well and there doesn’t seem to be much engagement among the members.