How social media has made reading cool

reading-bookI became a bookworm in high school when a friend challenged me to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first novel in the wizarding series by J.K. Rowling. I was hooked, enthralled in a fascinating story that brought me into a magical world. Prior to this, I struggled with reading comprehension and labelled the activity as a chore, but this novel changed that for me. I started visiting the library down the street from my high school, finding other characters to love and plots to enjoy. I completed my 40 hours of community involvement – a criteria for graduating high school in Ontario – at the library and was later hired there as a Student Page, a glorified title for shelving books. It was bliss for me because I got the first glimpse of new arrivals and great book recommendations from librarians.

I know… I was a super cool teenager. I had frizzy hair, always felt awkward and out of place, worked hard for perfect grades, and couldn’t wait to apply for university. Being behind a book brought me to another world through the pages and it was an escape that I needed.

While I no longer work at a library, I do still love to read. But reading is no longer a solo and somewhat isolating hobby for me anymore, and that is thanks to social media. With the rise of social media comes the rise of the introverts, and those homebodies are #Bookstagram-ing up a storm!

Me at "The Making of Harry Potter" studio tour in England (2015).

Me at “The Making of Harry Potter” studio tour in England (2015).

From book recommendations to online orders, contests to bookshelf photography and more, here are some ways the #bookworm is taking over social media:

  • Finding a book to read is easy thanks to great sites like Buzzfeed Books. When I need something to read, I scroll through that site and find great recommendations! I also follow their fantastic Facebook page, which has great book-themed content. Plus, when a great book pops up on my Facebook newsfeed, I can “save” it for later when I’m online shopping.
  • Speaking of which, purchasing a book is now easier than ever! While online book stores cannot compete with library prices, they can compete with real brick and mortar shops– even Chapters offers cheaper prices on their website than their stores! Another book shopping online hotspot is Amazon. And for the ultra-techy bookworm, eBooks can also be purchased online.
  • Book promotion has become a lot more fun thanks to social media. “New Arrival” stickers aren’t cutting it anymore and publishing houses and authors are getting creative with their online advertising efforts. Author Sophie Kinsella chatted with Chatelaine on Facebook Live and shares fun content on Instagram – like this cake cutting video at her Barnes & Noble book launch event – to promote her new novel My Not So Perfect Life. Interestingly, “My Not So Perfect Life” is about a woman who portrays her “not so perfect life” as very perfect on Instagram, misleading her followers—so even the plots of novels are changing with the rise of social media.
  • Social media stars are being used for their influence by book publishers and retail chains, which helps make their legions of loyal followers view reading as a cool hobby. Last year, British book retailer WHSmith enlisted blogger and YouTube superstar Zoella to create her own book club (remember when Oprah’s Book Club was the make it or break it?)
  • Posting a #Bookstagram, or book photos on Instagram, is super popular and filling up my Instagram feed. It’s hard not to scroll through this social media network and not be enticed to read. There are stylish #Booknerds (like @crimebythebook), contests, products (like this “Please Go Away I’m Reading” mug), monthly challenges, locations (this one of Lewiston Library makes me want to book a flight), and more. If I weren’t already a reader, I’d probably feel motivated to start just to be on trend.

I recently decided to get in on the action and created my own Instagram account, @moderngirlsbookclub. My plan is to post a new book to read every month and post discussion questions. I’ve always wanted to join a book club but never had the time, so I created this Instagram book club for other busy bookworms. It’s a brand new account, so I’d love any feedback you have!

And if you’re a bookworm, please post the name of your favourite novel and why you enjoy it so much.

— Social media posts —

Facebook: Reading may not have been the coolest hobby when I was a super nerdy teenager, but it’s making me a super cool adult thanks to the power of social media. Put your book down and read my latest blog post, “How social media is making reading cool,” here: https://goo.gl/lM97VA

Twitter: Hey #bookworm friends, put down your novel and read my latest blog post, “How social media is making reading cool”: https://goo.gl/lM97VA

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9 thoughts on “How social media has made reading cool

  1. I love this post. Fun! I to am a bookworm and spend for too much time on Instagram. Right now I’m reading Lullabies for Little Criminals by Canadian author Heather O’Neill so far it’s really good and has a different feel than most of what I have read. As you are a Harry Potter fan, I’m sure you know this but Emma Watson has a book club hosted on goodreads.com called Our Shared Shelf, a new book is picked every two months generally dealing with feminist issues and thousands are invited to read, comment and share on the book and their experiences. Cheers and thanks for the info on #bookstagram. (I have to say, I am so jealous that you got to go visit the set of the Potter movies.)

    • Hi Alex,

      Thank you! I have heard good things about Lullabies for Little Criminals– I’ll have to add it to my Reading List 🙂

      I have heard of Emma Watson’s Book Club. Although I don’t follow it, I think it’s a fantastic initiative that she ties to her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. I think Emma is fantastic and love what she is doing to promote equality. Also, she is playing Belle in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast film, which is another bookworm character for the actress, so that makes me like her even more.

      The Harry Potter Studio Tour was fantastic and I highly recommend it if you’re ever in England. It was a great day trip with so much to see! I went with my father, who isn’t a Harry Potter fan, but even he loved it because it shows the amount of work and detail that goes into a big budget film– which is really interesting to see regardless of whether you enjoy the films. The costumes, sets, models, special effects… everything was there and was so “magical.” I am so happy I had the opportunity to see it.

  2. Love this blog. I enjoy reading so much and am very much a Harry Potter fan. My recent pregnancy announcement was a maroon onesie saying “mischief managed” with my wand next to it haha. I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to lately and it is definitely something I always have on my list to work harder on fitting in.

    Last year I joined Owlcrate for a few months. It is somewhat costly here in Canada, but it’s something you would probably enjoy if you haven’t already heard of it. It is a monthly subscription box where they set up a theme for each month and then send you a box with a new book and other bookish nerd items related to that months’ theme. The cool thing is they don’t use books that are older than 6 months so you always get something fresh. I wasn’t able to maintain my subscription but I still enjoy looking at their instagram page for new reads.

    • Your pregnancy announcement is amazing, I love it! I have not joined a subscription box service but have always been curious to try. I really enjoy researching, browsing, and picking out my books, but I think I’d enjoy the bookish nerd items so I am tempted 🙂 I’m glad to hear Owlcrate was well done and didn’t feature outdated items, I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for the tip!

  3. What a great post. Thanks for sharing all these ways that readers and authors are benefitting from social media. I had no idea people were posting book covers to Instagram. Now that makes me want to spend some time there. My go-to book place is the library and I usually put a hold on it online so I can just run in and pick it up. It’s great to be able to read the reviews posted other library patrons have posted before I do that so I know if it’s something I think I might like.

    • Thanks for your comment! I like that you mention valuing the reviews of fellow library patrons. Perhaps Instagram would be a good spot for local libraries to start sharing their books and encouraging patrons to post their reviews in the comments there? A great way for local libraries to reach out to their younger patrons and encourage engagement.

  4. Wow very cool, great topic! I used to be such a big reader when I was a teenie bopper – not sure if anyone is old enough to remember the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series?? I read them all, and the Nancy Drew books probably twice each lol. Lately it seems I am reading less and less – but this post makes me want to start up again. I am going to make it my goal for March to get a new book and go for it! Thanks for the nudge!

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