Just click on "search" at the top or bottom of any page and enter your zip code. Assuming there are any groups in your area, they will appear with the closest first. The database is amazingly sensitive to distance, so in urban settings listings often break down by single miles. Each area code will read as a distinct proximity.
Be the first to post! Okay, so you knew that would be our answer, but what if you don't want to start a group. One option is to check the site again in a few weeks or months. We get new listings daily, and someone is always taking up the open spaces. Another option is to check the additional resources listed in response to the question below.
There are a number of resources for finding book clubs besides Reader's Circle. The first would be your local bookstore. Often they have community bulletin boards with listings for local groups. Another resource is your public library. A final resource is other community-oriented sites like craigslist.com or meetup.com. Oops! And there is one more very important resource, The Great Books Foundation. Kind of a different concept, but also a non-profit organization and highly respected!
If you'd like to post a listing, it's simple if you can get through our tricky posting section. A site upgrade is on the way, but in the mean time it's still pretty clunky. To get started, click on "post," create an account, and then just fill out as many of the information fields as fit your group. (Be sure to fill out the zip code field and select to post your listing. These are fields that apply to everyone's listings!)
Your listing will stay up indefinitely, as long as it's updated from time to time. Every few months we send an email to all local organizers and request that they update their listing. Listings that have not been updated for more than six months are at risk of being cut.
The response to your listing will depend on a handful of factors. First, how well you get across that you're a capable host with some great ideas for a book club. If you write a poor listing, you could post it in New York City - our lead city by more than double anywhere else - and still not get a response. (One group in Midtown Manhattan was reported in the Wall Street Journal as having had 200 replies in the course of a year.)
Another factor will, of course, be your location. Reader's Circle is growing quickly, but there are still so many cities where there are only a handful of listings or none at all. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is that we get far, far more inquiries than we have listings. Even in a city with few or no listings, you have a chance to get a decent response.
A final factor is the popularity - or obscurity - of what you plan to organize the group around. If you plan to study 19th century Russian lit, you'll have to allow more time to form a group than if you were merely going for literary fiction. (The different types of reader's circles also have a ranking of their own in popularity: social, academic, then civic.)
The point to take away from this is that you must write a fabulous listing and try not to scare off too many people with overly specialized interests.