In the digital age, constant content creation is paramount to stay relevant—and as an author, as a way to reach your readers. When it comes to content, visual is king, which is why Instagram has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms today.
Within Instagram is a community called Bookstagram. You can easily find posts by searching the hashtag #bookstagram. While many other posts on the subject of Bookstagram give tips on how to get started or tips to get followers, we’d like to go back to the basics: What is Bookstagram? What do you use it for? Should you participate and to what degree? For an instructional guide on how to use Instagram in general, click here.
What is Bookstagram, and Why Should I Care?
Bookstagram is the name of an Instagram community that posts pictures of books and book-related things. It is also the name of the hashtag that is used on a large portion of these images. As of November 2018, there were over 25 million pictures tagged with #bookstagram—and not all bookstagrammers will use that hashtag on every post. Other popular book hashtags include #books, #bookworm, #igbooks, #bibliophile, #booksbooksbooks, #booksofinstagram, #booksonbooksonbooks, #amreading, #reader, and #bookgeek.
What makes Bookstagram unique is that it’s not just pictures of books anymore. These pictures have become works of art in their own right. The days of just a simple snap of a cover are over. They are stylized photos, using props or cute settings to feature a single book or a just a few. Shereadsdotcom is full of great examples of stylized photos. Seeing a book next to coffee or tea is common. Flowers that complement the cover are huge. Featuring street art, pets, or props that match the book’s aesthetic is popular. Book stacks can have huge reach—people like to see books they recognize, and with more books, there’s a greater chance they’ll recognize one.
Some accounts have their own aesthetic, like therusticwindow, who’s photos always have the same rustic color scheme often opening the book and getting the title page in the shot instead of the cover. Some Bookstagrams have branched even beyond that, using books to create art, like James Trevino or Elizabeth Sagan.
Who Should I Follow?
The number of bookstagrammers is seemingly infinite, and most of them seem to cap out around one to five thousand followers. In addition to the ones above, here are a handful with over forty-thousand of followers. It should be noted that some of these are companies selling books or book-related products.
How Can I Get in On the Bookstagram Action?
As an author, you should talk to your publicist. Bookstagrammers are among their media contacts, so see if they have anyone that they think your book might make a good fit for. Many of our SparkPress titles have been featured this way. BookSparks regularly works with bookstagrammers like the.blonde.bookworm, alisaellie, and bookbaristas. Recently, their campaigns #JOMO and #ReadingReigns have brought SparkPress titles to the forefront.
Here is a photo from jordys.book.club featuring Resistant and Deepest Blue.
Here is a photo from wildandwonderfulreads featuring The Thorn Queen and The Blue Witch.
Here is a photo from _piacortez featuring Resistant.
Here is a photo from thebumblegirl featuring The Thorn Queen.
How Should I Get Involved?
If you’re interested in Bookstagram, following both Bookstagram accounts and the popular hashtags will fill your feed with beautiful pictures of books. However, if you want to get more involved than being a passive viewer, there are ways to do so.
Like the pictures and leave comments. If you regularly comment on a bookstagrammer’s photos, especially a smaller one, they’re going to take notice. You’ll get comments back, both from them and other people who enjoy Bookstagram. Interact. Make friends.
Start taking pictures of books. If you’re an author, it may be tempting to take a million pictures of your own book(s). That’s okay! But that belongs on an author Instagram, not a Bookstagram-specific account. Decide what you want your account to be. If it’s an author account, pictures of your book, along with pictures of your life, book events, and more are totally appropriate. You can even post pictures of other books—ones written by author friends, ones you liked, etc. However, if you want to be a Bookstagram account, you need to spread the love around. Sure, include your book occasionally, but it cannot be the purpose of the account.
Who is your favorite Bookstagrammer? Let us know below!