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  • Zahra Mir

Bookstagram: Where social media meets books

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

By Zahra Mir

From blue aliens to contemporary romances, the last lockdown has been a whirlwind of reads that have constantly surprised me in the best of ways, with carefully crafted narratives and pop culture references. My love for reading was re-ignited when Covid-19 took a storm across the world, causing me to invest more time into fictional worlds and headstrong women, along with posting on my ‘Bookstagram’ account (@everafterreads on Instagram).

You may have heard that young adults have become much more interested in inked pages as lockdown began in 2020, with the National Literacy Trust reporting more than a quarter (27.6%) of children and young people say they are enjoying reading more during lockdown, it’s safe to say a lot of us have wanted to escape to fantasy realms during these troublesome times.

As university, work and more turned to online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft teams, I felt it was important to remain connected now more than ever which is when ‘Bookstagram’ came into my life. Bookstagram can be described as a place where social media meets books, a reader’s Tinder where they gaze at beautifully photographed images that advertise themselves to people looking for a new, engaging read. Underneath the still images lies a carefully curated set of props, angles and decisions mainly based upon lighting but nevertheless, is an exciting process for the bookstagrammer and viewers to showcase creativity. Whether those images are meticulously produced or candid shots on the way to your 9-5, the community is full of like-minded but unique individuals. Bookstagram holds a place for everyone, whether you’re a book-influencer, writer, or a lurker.

It’s more than a hobby at times, you can grow many skills whilst producing content for your online blog. From improving photography skills to writing reviews, the relationship between the writer and the content they create is strengthening with every new post.

For example, in exchange for an honest review you can obtain your favorite author’s book for free as an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) before the official publish date. What I love about being in this community is that I’m constantly improving my knowledge of literature, exploring different authors and genres whilst being educated on important matters and integrating with a supportive community.

Take a look at these amazing Bookstagrammers:

● Daniela (@fangirlishwandering) is from Portugal and reviews many fantasy books whilst creating memorable content for her followers. Bookstagram has recently allowed her to start a small business where she sells customizable receipts that include humorous lines such as ‘smell the book’ or a list of your favorites, as though you’ve just purchased them. It’s an innovative take on the common reading trait of using a random receipt as a bookmark.

● Sila (@vitaminbooks) from Canada has some of the most beautiful posts I’ve seen, her flatlays are incredible and she has a beautiful warm colouring to all of her posts. Not to mention, the doodles she incorporates to each image creates a cohesive nature for her entire account and is part of her image.

● Alice (@arhapsodyofbooks) from Cornwall is an account I’ve recently discovered, and I’m obsessed with the vibrancy of her images. I love how she often incorporates herself into her posts, bringing the reader and the current read allows her followers to connect with her and her interests.

Of course, with the pandemic, many have taken the approach to detox from social media or starting your own blog can be seen as daunting (I took a two month break once). I introduce to you the concept of a book journal! Having a private book journal can be incredibly rewarding, noting down your thoughts and feelings about what you’ve read and memorable moments. For example, I divide my reviews into one page depicting the plot along with my thoughts on major moments and the other page is for noteworthy quotes. I’ve seen some readers style theirs to include statistics or be more artistic to fit their own personality, when in doubt go on Pinterest or the tag #bookjournal on Instagram for some inspiration. I watched Steph Bohrer’s video about her journal to help push me in the right direction.

The pandemic has caused a lot of us to reflect back onto what life was like before Covid-19 began, reading allows us to find ourselves in books no matter how old. Bookstagrammers encourage people to be vocal about how we feel about matters and topics that we care about, that’s why reviews are incredibly important or even writing down your thoughts on a book privately. Just like a book, go at your own pace and start each chapter when you feel ready.

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