Bookstagram 101: What is Bookstagram?
Bookstagram. I mention it constantly, and leave links to it on my blog (in the footer!) But what exactly is Bookstagram?
Well, to get technical, ‘bookstagram’ is the hybrid word for books + Instagram. But it is so much more than that. From the loving and welcoming community, to the artistic outlet it can provide, Bookstagram is a safe place for book lovers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the bookish community on Instagram, read on to learn exactly what Bookstagram is (and isn’t!).
What is bookstagram?
Bookstagram, much like its cousins Booktube and Booklr, is an online social media community of book-lovers. Specifically, the bookstagram community is dedicated to sharing beautiful pictures of books, and chatting about them with followers.
What’s the point?
Sometimes, there is no point. Sometimes, people simply want to take a beautiful photo of the cover of a book they love, and talk about it with their friends. Other times, bookstagram can be a wonderful tool for book bloggers, Booktubers, and booklrs alike. If you want to grow your presence in the online bookish community, developing your social media presence is key – and bookstagram is one of the largest communities out there.
How do you use it?
Bookstagram is used to share photos of books, as well as connect with a community of like-minded, book-loving individuals on Instagram. Take a picture of your current read, promote your latest book review, or craft a piece of art out of your book and take a super-artsy photo. The choices are endless!
What are the benefits?
Not only will you get the chance to chat about your favorite books with other book lovers, you will also be exposed to so many new books. I find an incredible number of book recommendations from my friends on bookstagram. If I’m ever torn on whether or not to read a book, I will look at my friends’ reviews of these books.
If you are wanting to practice your photography skills, books are a beautiful and willing subject! While a lot of people post their book pictures casually, lots of people post beautiful, stylized images. Some people get really creative, and I’ve found that my own photography skills have increased since taking photos for bookstagram. On the plus side, I always have lovely graphics for my blog. If you are active on other bookish social media profiles, bookstagram is a great way to multitask by taking fun photos to span across your accounts!
If you have a blog, booktuber, booklr, etc., a bookstagram is a great way to cross-reference and promote those other profiles.
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What bookstagram is NOT:
A place for hatred, arguments over differing opinions. This is a very loving community. We all love books – that’s why we started these accounts in the first place! And having different opinions on things is GREAT. But starting an argument, being rude, or being offensive is NOT what this community is about. Keep that negativity out of there.
How do you join?
Luckily, bookstagram is not an exclusive club. Everyone under the sun who loves books and wants to take pretty photos and chat about these books with other people is welcome to join. I’ve actually written an entire post about getting started on Bookstagram, but here are the basics:
1. Create an Instagram account
Download the app for free, then sign up with a creative and book-related username (catch me @foxyreaders!), then fill out your bio with a little bit of information. For example, mine currently has my current read, Goodreads yearly reading goal, and the link to my blog.
2. Start posting photos
Post a couple of photos to let people know that you’re a bookstagram account! Don’t forget to use book-related hashtags. Your caption can be long or short, but say something to entice people to follow you and comment back. Try posing a question!
3. Find other bookstagrammers
Try searching through some of those hashtags you used in your book photos – chances are you’ll come across some great bookstagram accounts! Check out the #bookstagram hashtag to see what’s trending.
While bookstagram is not an exclusive club where you need membership to join, there are a couple of guidelines that people like to stick to out of common courtesy in this bookish community.
1. Don’t spam other users with F4F/S4S
Generally, people on Instagram only follow users they genuinely want to follow. This could be their friends, beautiful photos, or accounts that inspire them. If you want to follow someone on bookstagram, do it! But don’t do it only under the condition that they follow you back. That’s spammy, and nobody appreciates it.
2. Don’t steal others’ photos
This should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You can’t repost someone else’s pictures (even if you give them credit) without obtaining express permission from them first. It’s copyright infringement, and just generally not cool. Plus, people will usually catch you and report you to Instagram. Just avoid this at all costs.
3. Like/comment others’ photos!
This is a community, so participate in it. Throw out those likes like confetti, and leave comments to engage in this community.
4. Don’t constantly enter in giveaways/rep searches/S4S contests
Usually, this becomes a problem when it involves reposting graphics other users have created and ask that you repost in order to enter into said giveaway/rep search/S4S contest. Why is this a problem? Because it’s annoying. People follow you because they want to see your photos. No one wants to see that you want to enter in a giveaway. Plus it makes your feed look messy and ugly. However, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t ever enter. Feel free to do what you want, but if you want to be courteous to your followers, keep this to a minimum.
As a safe space to talk about the books we love, Bookstagram is a great online community. By connecting with others, you can discuss all of your favorite books, find new recommendations, and learn about great upcoming releases. It’s great for anyone who has another online bookish platform (book blogs, Booktube, etc.), but also just for people who love books.
All in all, Bookstagram is a fantastic community, and I hope you will all join us!
Let’s talk about it
Are you currently using Bookstagram? Leave your username in the comments for everyone to follow!