The Wonderful Bookish World of Bookstagram

If there’s one thing I enjoy as much as books, it’s pretty pictures of books, and I’ve discovered a little corner of the social webs where you can scroll through hundreds, if not thousands, of images of tomes, book stacks, shelves, bookstores, libraries, and more: Bookstagram.

For those unfamiliar, Bookstagram is a community of Instagram users who dedicate their feeds to – you guessed it – books. Members of this bookish user group primarily connect by using the hashtag #bookstagram, among other bookish tags, in their posts, share reviews and reactions to current reads, and engage with each other through comments and likes.

I started my Bookstagram account (@librarianwilliam, opens a new window) about two years ago, and have enjoyed coming up with creative ways to photograph books, connecting with other readers, and exploring a whole world of bookish photography and recommended reads. Creating a Bookstagram account and participating isn’t hard, but depending on what your goals are, could take a bit of work.

Some Bookstagrammers, typically influencers, spend a lot of thought and time developing their feed’s aesthetic and theme, increasing their visibility, and boosting their engagement. They post consistently and strategically, gain massive followings, and partner with publishers to promote certain new releases.

If, like me, you just want to connect with other readers and share and see photos of books, it’s as easy as maintaining a normal, personal Instagram account. Post when you want, comment and like as you see fit, and enjoy the community.

Interested in starting a Bookstagram, but not sure where to start? I’m no pro, but here are a few tips that I found helpful:

  • Experiment with different arrangements, spaces and props for your photos. Look for natural light and backgrounds that go well with your books.
  • Filters are fun, but you can never go wrong with adjusting brightness, contrast, color, and other aspects using Instagram’s editing tools.
  • Post consistently, but not necessarily constantly. Some users post daily, others two or three times a week. Find a rate that works for you and stick with it.
  • Use those hashtags! #Bookstagram, #books, #booklover, #bookworm, #ilovebooks -- whatever they are, stick them at the end of your captions to increase the visibility and discoverability of your posts.
  • Follow and engage with other Bookstagrammers by liking and commenting. Look for posts that ask questions -- answering is a great way to introduce yourself!

The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the community and bookish content. And, by the way, you don't have to post bookish content to follow and engage with the Bookstagram community. So, if you're on Insta, look for that #bookstagram tag and enjoy! Also, give these local bookish feeds a follow: @lawrencelibrary, opens a new window (of course!), @ravenbookstore, opens a new window, @paperplainsfest, opens a new window, and @the_dusty_bookshelf, opens a new window.

- William Ottens is the Cataloging & Collection Development Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library