We all know about the surge of social media influencers, but there is a new category joining the influencers movement. Avid readers are creating pages on Instagram dedicated to the hobby of reading. A search of “currently reading” gains a response of 3,321,762 posts with the hashtag as well as the masses of accounts using the phrase. These accounts are a part of ‘Bookstagram’, which is defined as a “kick-ass social platform for professional booknerds” by Urban Dictionary. It goes on to say that “professional” includes those in their pyjamas under a blanket, something which is not always shown through accounts dedicated to reading. The hashtag of the phrase “Bookstagram” has 53,103,183 posts that include the tag.
Throughout lockdown many people turned to reading as a form of escapism or relaxation during the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a rise in social media influencers with dedicated accounts to the hobby, many of whom say their relationship with reading changed “for the better” since lockdown started. Through the accounts people have been sharing their journey on social platforms, although it originated on Instagram; hence the combination of the two words “books” and “Instagram” to create “Bookstagram”. Still, the trend of influencers sharing their passion for reading has grown through other social platforms such as TikTok (it is referred to as “BookTok) and Twitter as well as blogs.
When focusing on Instagram the accounts dedicated to books and reading the accounts consistently give their followers regular updates on the books they are currently reading through their posts as well as the use of Instagram Stories. Many account holders read more than one book at a time, and others created templates for their followers to interact with in order to keep track of their own reading habits. These accounts also share their opinions on books previously mentioned. The goal of many of the accounts that are dedicated to the hobby of reading are to be sponsored by bookstores such as Waterstones and others similar to the large book retailers to receive free books, but the main goal is to encourage many others to read. Though it is now against the law to not say when a post is sponsored by a company, influencers on Bookstagram can easily manipulate their posts to convey an ‘opinion’ on a book that is later revealed to be ‘gifted’ in their posts.
The notion of Bookstagram is optimistic, by promoting your reading habits you hopefully encourage others to read more than they already do, however this falls in line with many pressures that their audience face from other influencers. By dedicating an account to your tracking your hobby, it makes the audience feel like they cannot attain the same level of pleasure of reading that you show through your Instagram account. On the other hand, by promoting the act of reading it hopefully gives many others a newfound interest in the hobby. Reading, as we all know, is a great hobby and is both calming and soothing. You can learn new things in a relaxed environment on your own time, or you can escape the disastrous world and fly into a new one with relatable characters and three headed dogs! The positives of reading are endless and it’s great that there are accounts focused on promoting the hobby.