I 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!
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