Love books? Have an Instagram account? If the answer’s yes to both, and if you haven’t been introduced to the world of Bookstagramming yet, then you are undoubtedly missing out on a lot! So, I’ll explain it to you as simply as possible: Books + Instagram = Bookstagram. It is a community within Instagram where people take pictures of their books in innovative ways and upload them. Spoiler alert: Bookstagram is addictive, VERY addictive.
One fine day, I had stumbled upon the account with the handle ‘booksugar’ and that’s when the obsession started. I found one account after the other and before I knew, was knee deep into it. I am merely a Bookstagram enthusiast, not a Bookstagrammer. And there’s still a lot in the store for people like me. Moreover, it’s not like only bibliophiles will enjoy Bookstagram. This is a place for photography enthusiasts and any person with a knack for aesthetic appreciation.
I follow quite a few Bookstagrammers and had interviewed some of them when I had the idea of this article to get an idea of how to start with your own Bookstagram article and will enlist the few major steps here:
1. Decide a user name and a bio:
It is advisable to have a different account for Bookstagramming purposes and not overlap its posts with your normal Instagram posts. Also, settle on a simple user name and bio which informs people about your name, and where you are from. Some people also mention the links to their Goodreads accounts or any other blogs they are keeping for reviewing books, which come handy. Another trend is to mention which book you are currently reading in your bio.
2. Choose if you want a specific theme or not:
Many Bookstagram accounts have a distinct theme, and although the pictures are not identical, any Bookstagram enthusiast can easily identify them from among the crowd. Themed accounts garner a great deal of interest. Furthermore, the account looks more visually pleasing on whole too, if it is themed.
3. Pick out your props:
People will get bored eventually with only the pictures of books and nothing but books. So, how do you spice it up? Add other things. You can include your pets, your coffee mug, journals, posters, and if nothing else works, yourself and incorporate all these elements to come up with creative and unique pictures every time. ‘Shelfie’s are pictures of bookshelves (filled with books) which is a favorite among the Bookstagramming community.
4. Brush up on your photography skills:
Many people use a DSLR for clicking the pictures they upload on a daily basis. Many people use their iPhone cameras. But the point is, many people don’t. Although it is advisable to use a good camera to ensure great picture quality, it is not absolutely necessary. That said, an HD quality picture will always gain more attraction at the end of the day, but I guess I have made a point here. Editing is not always needed, but many Bookstagrammers use software such the Adobe Photoshop Express to fix the picture. The following things should be kept in mind while editing- brightness, sharpness, and contrast (mostly). Also, make sure that anything unnecessary is cropped out of the final post. Instagram filters can be easily avoided.
5. Readalongs and Giveaways:
This is something you need to have a basic idea about once you start Bookstagramming. Readalongs are events hosted very frequently by different accounts where one book is read simultaneously by a number of people, followed by a discussion on that book. Giveaways are also hosted, which are a lot like lucky draws.
6. One last advice:
Every Bookstagrammer I have interacted with has told me one thing- “Do not chase followers.” It’s not a race. It is your account, for your pastime, and you have every right to do whatever you want to with it. Plus, you’ll get followers anyway if your posts are intriguing. At the end of the day, it is something you are doing completely for your own satisfaction. Do not forget that.
Before I end, I will mention a few profiles which are my personal favorites. I promise you’ll love them too!
Bookstgrammers I would recommend you to follow:
(Okay, to be honest, this is a publishing house and not really a personal account, but this profile accounts for a gigantic part of my Bookstagramming pleasure. Their posts are absolutely irresistible.)
For one last bit of guilty pleasure: see this!
You should remember that all this is for a greater, much greater cause than having the maximum likes and followers. The Bookstagramming does not only allow one to form bonds with like minded people, but it also promotes the love for books and encourages people to read more. I think we need more of such encouragement in today’s scenario. I have picked up many book suggestions from Bookstagram and was seldom disappointed. The Bookstagramming community is one big family which is crazy over books, in some sort of a way. Hasn’t that always been the dream?
Happy Bookstagramming, everyone! 🙂
PS: I would like to convey my gratitude to Arpita Bhattacharya and Meghna Pant for helping me with this article by taking some time out of their busy schedule and answering (very patiently) every question I had asked them.
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