What’s So Appealing About “Bookstagram”?


“Bookstagram” took social media by storm during the pandemic, creating a community for all book lovers. (Courtesy of Instagram)

It was around the peak of the pandemic – when everyone was buying New Yorker puzzles and brushing up on their banana bread baking skills – that I had my epiphany. I opened the Instagram app and was greeted by the usual posts that litter my feed, but instead of my usual scrolling, I caught myself searching for the couple of book blogging accounts I followed to see if they had shared anything new. Finally, I saw one of them had posted a book review on “Frankenstein.” It didn’t matter that the caption neared a mile in length, because I enjoyed every sentence of it. I enjoyed the tantalizing coziness of the picture, and even the featured battered book triggered butterflies in my heart. It was the simple joy of having read something I connected with. Something with passion and substance rather than your typical captions that strive for quick cleverness. So with that rare intrepid feeling I began to chisel away at creating my own page. 

I soon came to realize what most appealed to me about the environment of “bookstagram.” Besides being obnoxiously bombarded with numerous book recommendations  in the best way possible – I became immersed in the world of literature in the way I had craved. Sure, many blogs enjoy ranting, worshiping, demolishing and devouring any innocent book they’ve read, but, more than that, it’s about access to diverse opinions. It’s not that one simply opens their Instagram to view a surge of book recommendations, it’s a way to expand your horizon not only in literature, but also be introduced to people from around the world who hold differing views from yourself. Overall it’s a more educational experience than simply scrolling through a social media platform. It’s away to broaden your outlook on different cultures, writers and genres. My TBR (to be read) list has grown in length and confidence, but so has my knowledge on numerous writers –both their lives and works– increased as well. 

While it’s true that people go on social media for varying reasons it can be agreed that, to a certain degree, it is to briefly escape the world you are in. When you open Instagram – whether it is out of habit, boredom or sheer awkwardness – you are looking for an escape. Within the confines of a book community you are allowed both a form of escapism and education. A statistic from 2019 reports that the “bookstagram” tag has been used over 35 million times and that some bloggers have over 100,000 followings.These numbers will only increase the more people realize books are not only mentally invigorating but visually beautiful. The true appeal of “bookstagram” is the dazzling display of diversity in both thought and representation of varying authors. There is also no denying the comfort one receives from the content of pale pastel stationary, mugs of tea, annotated chapters and picturesque pastries. 

When I first started my own page, it allowed me some serenity in a time of chaos. I soon learned that what other pages were doing for me, I was in turn doing for them. Over a couple of months I had received over 57,000 likes on one of my posts. I was touched at the amount of people who were interested in my taste in literature. Through this medium of Instagram I’ve been able to discuss writers I admire with women from the UK, Spain, Australia and Scotland. We recommend books to one another while bonding over our love for the same stories. We view our pages as outlets where one has the freedom to rant and obsess over books as much as one desires. The appeal of the “bookstagram” phenomenon stems from education, diverse literature, comforting aesthetics and escapism through reading.