Today I’m here to talk to you about something that is dear to my heart, my bookstagram account. This may seem silly to you but my bookstagram was my first contact with the online bookish community and it led to so many incredibly discoveries both in terms of books and people. I’m very grateful that five years ago I randomly decided to make an account!
I restarted my account last year after a year of complete abandonment due to a few of the things listed below and I am going through a bit of an inspiration block but I still love it. (You can find me at @dragonsandpaperbacks, by the way.)
Frankly, at this point I’m surprised if any blogger out there doesn’t have a bookstagram account. I know that most of you amazing people that follow me do, but still, if you have not experienced the joys of taking pictures of books in odd places than let me tell you why should get a bookstagram.
It can be a distraction, or a way to get away from real life stress and have fun. I started my bookstagram exactly because I wanted a distraction from the stressful things that were going on in my life at the time.
It can make you want to read more solely from looking at beautiful pictures and creating a bookstagram is a great way to inspire you to read more if that’s something you’re interested in.
And of course, you can discover new books and meet amazing new people who will share the same opinions and tastes as you and even if you don’t become intimate friends, it’s nice to have someone to talk about books with that completely understands what you mean! (I discovered a lot of my favorite books this way like Illuminae when it first came out back in 2015!) And you can just start a conversation by saying “Hey, I’m reading *insert book title* now too! what do you think of it so far?” It really is that easy, friends! People on bookstagram are usually extremely nice! I never felt lonely or that I missed talking to people during quarantine because I was always chatting with people. Really, this was my social savior during these past few months.
You can learn new things. I learned more about photography and different image editing software over the years because I was interested in taking better pictures and now I think I might be venturing slightly into graphic design and marketing as well. And all of these ‘hobbies’ and skills you learn and develop might be very helpful to your career even if you don’t see it now.
It’s not all good things unfortunately, and the big problem with bookstagram is that it’s still a form of social media it suffers from those very same problems. Namely the pressure of statistics or the pressure to read more, post more, or read certain hyped books, and all of this pressure can really take away the joy in reading and taking pictures. I know at least I’ve felt that before with blogging sometimes as well.
The stats were the main reason I stopped enjoying my account a few years ago. I was paying too much attention to my numbers – i.e. I was trying really hard to grow/improve my account and I cared about my stats and when it didn’t work, it was just very frustrating – when really I should’ve just been having fun. Don’t let these things get you into a slump or ruin the good things that bookstagram can give you!
Most importantly, I need to say that comparison is the death of joy. I’m not aware of who originally coined this expression (though I do believe it was from tumblr), but it’s something I have to keep saying to myself. Not everyone can have great lighting in their house, expensive props, lots of books, a great camera… and you can’t let yourself fall into the big black hole that is comparing yourself to other people who you think have better pictures/etc than you.
And I can’t stress this enough, especially if you’re new to bookstagram, but please don’t feel the need to follow back or like all of the other person’s pictures, or do anything just because other people are doing it. You do your own thing. Nowadays there are shoutout sessions, engagement groups, and partnerships to promote each other’s pictures and accounts, and I think that’s great but for me it would take a little bit of the fun away and make my account more business-oriented than I want right now.
Overall, I think bookstagram is a wonderful thing. Yes, it has problems but if it seems like a good fit for you, why not try it?
And of course, you can just follow other bookstagrammers instead of creating your own but I personally love taking and posting my own pictures and later using them on my blog as well (even if they don’t have the best lighting or editing or props because it’s mine and it’s fun)!
So, I’ll leave this little recommendation/rant post at that and hope you enjoyed it.