[Belle’s Bookish Tales] HAS BOOKSTAGRAM BECOME SUPERFICIAL?

Blogging should be fun. There are no right way or wrong way to blog about books. Whether your avenue is WordPress, Youtube, Instagram, or even Twitter, your platform is yours. With bookstagram there have been recent opinions about the presentation of books. Or rather, the lack of book related content bookstagrammers have become accustomed to. I thought this was an interesting thought and while I did nod my heads at certain parts of the original message, I do believe everyone has a right to conduct their accounts however they choose.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

Weeks ago I came across a comment which voiced its disappointment in the bookstagram community for the lack of “book talk.” By this the OP meant that bookstagrams have now become more focused on the aesthetics of their feed and post captions which provide no opinions or views on the books they photograph. The OP also further states that bookstagrams these days are only interested in promoting book related merchandises, or only talk about hyped up books.

UNDERSTANDING THE IG ROUTE

Instagram is, first of all, a photo-sharing application. It’s bound to be all about the aesthetics! From experience, you know that aesthetically pleasing accounts are more likely to gain massive followings than those that aren’t.

Many instagrammers have to be able to sell themselves within a 1×1 photo. When scrolling through the explore tab, no one is going to read the caption for each thumbail. On IG you are more likely to have people stop at your account if your photos catch their eyes. Because Instagram is all about photography, people will pay put more effort in their photos than the captions.

Is this behavior shallow?

To an extent, sure!

But is it fair to disprove someone as a legitimate bookworm for this?

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The OP was concerned that people were not having genuine conversations about books on instagram which is understandable, but if this is what you’re truly looking for then  Goodreads and book review blogs are there for you! The Instagram community has and will always be about photo-sharing, so it’s silly to consider these bookstagrams “superficial”.

Secondly, people do worry about publishers choosing popular bookstagrams over genuine reviewers. Bookstagram tours were given as an example where accounts would simply post a blurb of the book and that’s it. So with this one, I fell it is a legitimate concern. With book tours I do expect there to be a discussion around the book rather than simply posting pictures. However, at the same time, publishers do look for accounts with a wide audience because at the end of the day, it’s about promotion.

Finally, one’s Instagram account is a personal curation. Whether they choose to talk about the book or the weather is their choice. Nobody needs to write long reviews or even medium length reviews if they don’t want to! Look, photography is a skill. People put in just as much hard work in to setting up, photographing, and editing their bookstagram pictures as we do with our reviews.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

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We don’t have to follow any account, if it isn’t our type. If people want their bookstagram to be a place of fun, then let it be. If it’s just about creativity and no reviews, then let it be.

I do understand the concern. It’s not easy when one works hard at writing reviews and trying to facilitate discussions but having no reply. It’s disheartening wanting to join a book tour for an author you love but then end up not getting it; when popular accounts get a chance with an author you love but don’t give the book a proper discussion as you see fit. I relate to the envy and the frustration. But rather than quitting, find your community. Or better yet, create it! People are willing to interact and discuss if you talk to them!

 While opinions are allowed to be voiced, attacking people over their choices is immature.

Don’t be a dementor.

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What’s you experience with bookstagram? Do you look for book reviews or prefer creative photos? What are some concerns you have about bookstagram?

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17 thoughts on “[Belle’s Bookish Tales] HAS BOOKSTAGRAM BECOME SUPERFICIAL?

  1. I did set up an book-related Instagram account, but have not done much with it. I may in the future. I agree with most your points. Instagram is first and foremost a photo sharing platform and I go there to look at pictures and bonus if they are pretty. I don’t go there for book reviews.

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  2. I think if I follow a bookstagram account, it’s because the pictures are pretty! I don’t mind if people don’t post reviews, mainly because I don’t really care to read long paragraphs on Instagram and prefer to scroll through it relatively quickly. It also could just be because I have a blog and would rather engage with reviews here, but since instagram is for pictures, that’s what I’m there for. I like your point about creating the content if you’re unhappy with what you’re seeing from other people, because I think that’s something that isn’t always said- don’t demand, just do!

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  3. Some very intriguing thoughts on the subject, and I wholeheartedly agree! To me, bookstagram is all about the aesthetically-pleasing photos, and blogs/Goodreads are where I go to read reviews. Great post, Cam!

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  4. Bookstagram is an interesting thing to me. I don’t have any real experience with Instagram, but I do understand that it’s all about pictures. So I wouldn’t expect to find long reviews or detailed discussions of books there. I’d expect to find pictures.
    You do bring up some good points about why people would be frustrated with it, though.
    I dunno. I don’t really care. But I’ve seen some people upset about it. I saw one blogger accusing boostagrammers of having not even read the books they were taking pictures of. It’s certainly possible, but once again, it’s THEIR bookstagram account. If they just want to take pretty pictures of pretty books, who am I to say boo about it? 🙂

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  5. Oh this is such an interesting post. It is true that bookstagram is all about aesthetics, but unlike book blogs or Goodreads, Instagram is kind of made to have pretty pictures and so on, so… it seems a bit strange to me to blame bookstagrammers for making aesthetic pictures of their books and putting that before anything else. For me, that’s what bookstagram is about, but I’m saying that just as an outsider, since I’m not doing it ahahah, just following some accounts 🙂
    Whenever going on bookstagram accounts, though, I do expect to find beautiful pictures and not long, endless reviews, but I have to admit that I appreciate if there are even just a couple words about the book in the caption. Not a full length review, obviously, just, “I loved this book”, “this book was disappointing”, or so on; But I’m really here for the pictures.
    Great post 🙂

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  6. As a Bookstagrammer, I’m still trying to figure it out. Some of it is learning to take a decent photo of books, but I have hard time deciding what to put in a caption. I would like to see more posts that generate discussion, but I’m not sure how to do that myself. I also agree with what others are saying. I don’t expect a full-blown review on Bookstagram, but I would like to see more opinions or general thoughts about those books.

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    1. True! I’m trying to work on putting up mini reviews on my bookstagram as its something I know I’d enjoy doing. I’ve taken to typing it out on my laptop and then pasting it to IG as I find typing on my phone tiring haha

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  7. I agree! With different platforms come different expectations! Blogs are expected to be all about the text. Twitter forces you to go to the point. With Instagram… it’s all about the pretty pictures, no matter if we’re talking about BOOKstagram. That only means pictures of books. Now, there are peeps who like to post long captions about their thoughts on the books but that’s their choice, so I don’t think the people who don’t should be considered shallow. Maybe they are sharing those book discussions on their blogs and only using instagram as as an outlet to their other kind of creativity! 🙂

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  8. Instagram is a picture-sharing site, so I don’t understand why it would be shallow to focus on the photographs rather than the words. There seems to be an implied argument that pictures or visual arts are somehow “lesser” than text, but I don’t believe that is the case. There’s nothing wrong with a beautiful picture! If someone wants to read reviews, they should obviously go to a reviewing platform rather than a picture-sharing platform. Arguing that Instagram shouldn’t be focused on visuals feels a little like arguing that the local Italian restaurant is wrong for not also serving tacos! If you don’t like their mission or the services they provide, you are in the wrong location.

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  9. I don’t go to Instagram for bookish discussions or even opinions, really—I go for the pretty pictures! So, I guess I don’t mind one bit. But I can see the arguments against it. I love seeing pictures from people who are more visually creative than I am, though, and I don’t mind if there’s not much other content since I’ve got blogs for that!

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  10. OK Camilla first I am following you on IG (LOL) and WP from now on.
    Then my opinion.
    When I discovered IG and bookstagrams I was really amazed at the well.. aesthetic. I know some use it to promote books and do blog tours. Others to feature artistic pictures of books. Others to begin a discussion about the book or their reading life in general.
    As you said IG is based on pictures! I follow the aesthetically pleasing accounts or the fun/discussion ones. I don’t want to read a review on instagram. I will read it if there is one but I don’t think it’s the main purpose of IG. I agree with you about going either on Goodreads either on a blog on wordpress to read the review.
    I chose not to promote on IG but to use FB, Twitter and WP to do so. I used to draw and paint years ago but having kids, work, etc. I don’t have the time anymore. As I was missing doing some art Bookstagram was a perfect tool to express my creativity. I chose to only post what I hope are beautiful pictures of my books BUT I also usually add a mini review or discussion about the book.
    See I’m an aesthetic first on IG kind of blogger.

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    1. Aaaw thank you! I’m not very active on IG at the moment though. I’m working on some adjustments with my photos.

      I find that I prefer shorter captions on IG, so reviews don’t always work well. Unless it’s like a three word review or something. Twitter seems to be a much easier path for promoting books, and I find that publishers are more likely to respond there as well! Thank you for your comment!

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