In a world of screens and social media, books seem something old, coming from a remote century. iPads, tablets and Kindles have quickly replaced paper books, making them too heavy and bulky for our new frenetic society. In the past decade statistics showed a big crisis of the publishing industry, due to the advent of e-readers and of e-commerce giants, like Amazon and Bookdepository. Taking in consideration only these data, the situation seems tragic and almost irrecoverable, meaning that maybe the publishing industry is living its very last breath.
However, in an absolutely unpredictable way, technology has been able to merge with the “ancient” reality of books, creating a new trend, the savior that book lovers were waiting for: the “bookstagram”.
Instagram has become a global showcase where anything, from the most important news to the latest silly video, can find its own spotlight. Recently all types of industries have become active on this social media, exploiting it as a new way to find potential customers and advertising their products; in the last five years, thanks to the bookstagram, the publishing industry has been able to adapt and evolve as well.
The bookstagram is a virtual area of Instagram where booklovers and full-fledged influencers have created a huge community, making books the true protagonists. The so called “bookstagrammers” have their own pages and linked blogs, where they speak about the upcoming releases and review books and related items, like bookmarks and all kinds of accessories, including mugs, posters and candles inspired by the most loved characters of the moment. Their Instagram stories are filled with polls about which book they should include in the “tbr” (to be read) list of the month and unboxing videos, where they show the new entries on their bookshelves. Thanks to the bookstagram, virtual book clubs made up by people coming from different sides of the same nation or from far countries have been created, giving book lovers the possibility to share a common passion without being considered “nerds”.
Example of a bookstagrammer page (the screen has been taken with the consent of the owner)
In 2018 the hashtag #bookstagram has reached 24 thousand posts, showing the vastness of this new way of reading and loving a consistent piece of our culture, that most people seem to have forgotten. Maybe, at a first approach, the bookstagram may appear like a futile trend, an ephemeral practice reserved to youngsters; however, its benefits are concrete and have been set in statistics by numerous institutions. For example, in the 2018 report on the book industry drafted by the Italian Association of Editors, a consistent growth of the 4,5% in books’ sales has been registered, along with a renewed popularity of national and international publishing houses. These last, in particular, have become an important part of the bookstagram; they are now truly interacting with their costumers, listening and often taking in consideration their wishes. Like in the fashion industry, publishing houses send the new releases to famous bookstagrammers, asking them to review and show them in posts and stories. Writers as well, from the most famous to the emergent ones, are now using Instagram as a tool to promote their works and create a dialogue with their followers.
Books are one of the greatest miracles that the human genius has been able to create, transforming images and thoughts in strings of words, building galaxies and universes just with the help of a pen or, in the latest times, of a keyboard. Their protection and promotion should be of key importance in an era where reading has become something of which being ashamed, since it is not “trendy”. Fortunately, thanks to this young bookstagram community, books have found their new habitat, where many people are working hard to make them appear way more interesting and “trendy” than many other things.