Bookstagram: Making Reading Cool Again

Luna Valayannopoulos-Akrivou, Around School Editor

The phenomenon of bookstagram is certainly not a new one, and anyone who loves a combination of books and Instagram is no stranger to the growing community on social media. 

It is rather hard to trace back the origins of bookstagram and its first post, but since its early days bookstagram has grown into a wellspring for the book industry. 

Bookstagram, or book Instagram, is a niche corner on the internet for book lovers to post book-related photos. Photos can range from a simple picture of the book, to complicated stages backgrounds. No matter which way you prefer, bookstagram is a place to give book recommendations in a new virtual way. The hashtag #bookstagram has over 50 million pictures of books posted by people all over the world.

The online community is quite diverse and includes authors, booksellers, bookworms, bookshops owners, librarians, and book prize winners. Arguably, the hashtag played a critical role in forging a community of readers and book lovers online, providing a sense of connection during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Register Forum asked members of the CRLS Book Club and CRLS librarians about their familiarity with Bookstagram and a shift to virtual reading.


Register Forum (RF): Have you heard of Bookstagram? 


Amy Kim 24: “I have heard of bookstagram! I first stumbled across it when I was reading a book recommendation article on Google—and I started following a few bookstagram accounts on Instagram. My opinion on growing ‘book lover campaigns’ on social media platforms [is that they] are really interesting and relatable.” 


Victoria Heizman 21: “I’ve heard of it vaguely, I think I have some friends who participate in it.” 


Teo Tapia 22: “I’ve heard and watched a lot of Booktube, but never really heard of Bookstagram. This is my first time hearing about it.” 


Ms. Houston and Ms. Boninti: “Yes! [We] follow a few librarian friends who started posting pics of the books they’re reading and promoting to their followers.”


Despite the varying familiarity with Bookstagram amongst the CRLS community, one thing is sure: the pandemic did not come in the way of the CRLS book club and its book-reading community’s enthusiasm.


RF: What do you think is the most important role of a book? What benefits would you say reading brings about?


Martin Armstrong 23: “There are so many kinds of books, it’s hard to pin down what the concept of a book is at its core, but I guess the most important role of a book is to share a perspective. While reading can bring a bunch of entertainment or change the way you think about things, I’m going to be a bit pragmatic in my answer. Reading is a skill we need in high school and in education following that. You need to be able to understand text, and a really good way to set yourself up for success is to read on your own time. It can be something fun you do in your free time, but it also helps your reading comprehension a ton.” 


RF: Is there an ‘online library’ similar to that of Bookstgram from which CRLS students can check out books? Have you looked at new ways in which the CRLS library and its community can expand and grow online? If so, in what ways? 


Ms. Houston and Ms. Boninti: “Students can check out ebooks and audiobooks from the CRLS Library’s digital collection called SORA and read them on their Chromebooks or personal mobile devices. Through SORA CRLS students have access to a growing collection of over 100,000 ebooks and audiobooks! We have step by step instructions on how to get started with SORA on the CRLS Library website. The great thing about the Sora digital collection is that we can buy books on-demand for students and staff. If you have books that you would like to recommend for purchase, please fill out this Book Requests form and we will make sure to let you know when your books arrive!”


RF: What are your top three book recommendations? 


Ms. Boninti: “I am a HUGE fan of audiobooks. I have a 2 year old daughter, so I don’t have much time these days to just sit on the couch and read. The only way that I can consume stories is through audiobooks and podcasts. One audiobook that I haven’t listened to yet, but so many students have recommended to me is Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. It is about a young girl who allegedly committed a horrific crime, but you don’t know if she actually did it. I love a good mystery! The author Tiffany D. Jackson recently spoke with CRLS students during a live virtual event organized by Ms Houston. She promoted her new book that just came out and everyone is raving about it, called Grown. Another book that I highly recommend is Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It’s not the kind of book that I normally gravitate to, but I absolutely loved it. It has action, romance, and tons of suspense. It’s just a great book.”


Ms. Houston: “My favorite authors are those who center their books around well-developed characters. Renee Watson and Fredrik Backman write realistic fiction with characters that are so fleshed out that you could totally see yourself being friends with them. Anna-Marie McLemore writes the most beautiful nonbinary and queer characters in her magical realism and fairy tale books that everyone should try reading.”