If you’ve been on Twitter this week, you will have seen this article from The Guardian, ridiculing the #bookstagram community. I shudder at the thought of even giving the article traffic and speaking about it but, if you know me, you’ll know I’m an opinionated little so and so, and it has got my back up.
I joined #bookstagram on the 10th of October 2017. At this time, I was in a real blogging rut. I’d been blogging for so long but never felt like I’d ever found my feet. I felt passionate about specific niches and think “this is it,” only to return to square one. I was forever floating between different content and never like I fit into the online blogging community.
At the time, I was reading 50ish books a year – more than I’d ever read since I was a kid. I’ve spoken openly online about having battles with my mental health and I’d always been searching for a great coping mechanism to help me manage my struggles, and I found sanctuary in books. They made switch off from the world around me and be transported to another and helped my restless mind relax. I preach about the power of books to anyone who will listen to me because they’ve helped me so much.
When I joined the #bookstagram community, I found something I’ve never felt – a sense of belonging within an online community. Likeminded, interesting, funny, enthusiastic people who were so friendly and made me feel like the leap to posting just about books was the best decision I’d ever made. It is precisely that, the best decision I have ever made.
I know I speak for many in the book community when I say we feel like it is just that – a community. Everyone builds one another up, supports each others content and in all the blogging niches I have come across, it is the most engaged. Everyone just wants to share what they love, and that is reading. Whether that be book covers, mini-reviews or insanely creative images displaying books that have taken so much time to put together. Each and everyone, encouraging others to read.
So Dear The Guardian, your post is not only totally inaccurate but massively insulting to those of us who Instagram our books. We DO read them. Many of us buy and review books for our own pleasure. It is not a ‘messing around on Instagram’ or suddenly ‘popular.’ If you look at the hashtag alone for #bookstagram there are a total of 24.9m posts – that is on Instagram alone. Why aren’t we celebrating that more and more young people are getting into reading? Why can’t YOU just let people enjoy the experience of reading without trying to tear down a portion of readers who are doing what they enjoy?
I wasn’t planning to write this post because I didn’t want to give this farce of an article any more attention but, we are just ordinary people, reading books and sharing what we love. What is the issue? It is no different from a cinema buff coming home from a movie and tweeting how much they love it. It is no different from someone raving about a restaurant on Facebook. Stop trying to drag people, especially the book community, for merely doing the same.
Now I’m off to take a photo of a fabulous ‘instagramable’ cover, in bed, with a cup of tea and proudly using the word #bookselfie like most of the community do and give you, Guardian Books, a massive middle finger and boycott your quite frankly, shambolic, downhill books section.