I have had a bookstagram for a little over a year now, and I am so glad I started doing it. It’s encouraged me to be creative, and allowed me to make friends with so many wonderful book lovers too! But I got thinking recently about what kind of impact bookstagrams are having on the book industry. Ever since I’ve wanted to get into publishing, I have been told by many people that it is a dying industry, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out why. Most people I know don’t read, and probably about half of those who do, use a kindle or listen to audiobooks. While these alternative methods of reading are great, and I really commend them for their ability to get people into reading, the publishing industry would not survive with these alone. So how can publishers use social media to try to rack up sales?
As I started to get more and more into my bookstagram, I began to find accounts with big followings who had partnerships and sponsorships from publishers to advertise their books. All of the big publishers have Instagram accounts, so it make sense for them to use other bookstagrams to sell their books too. And let’s face it, unless you’re going into a bookshop, or specifically searching for a publisher online, then social media is going to be a great place for books to pop-up on your feed, and hopefully pique your interest. Plus bookstagrams are a great way of keeping up with the latest releases from specific publishers or authors.
I read a lot of self-published and indie-published books and I know how grateful all of those authors are for even a little exposure, and unlike bookshops, bookstagrams don’t discriminate between traditionally published and self-published authors. You could see this a negative for the book industry if Instagram is encouraging readers not to buy from big publishers, but really, I think the preconceived judgement people hold for books not published by one of the Big Five is something we need to eradicate. Some of the best books I have ever read have been published by the author themselves. And what’s more, some of the best-selling books of all time started out as self-published. So I love that bookstagrams are one of the platforms that self-published authors are able to thrive.
Frankly, since I have had my blog and Instagram, I have almost doubled the amount of books I read in a year, and while some of these books are ones I have been sent by publishers and authors, bookstagrammers have had a big influence on my choice of what to read next. If I see the same book popping up here and there with people saying really great things about it, I will usually buy it. I am the kind of person who likes to have an opinion on as many books as I can, and the only way I can do that, is by reading them. In marketing there is something called the Rule of 7, which states that a consumer needs to be somehow touched by a product 7 times before they will buy it. This is where bookstagrams can come in; as I just said, if I see a book on a lot of different accounts then I am definitely more inclined to read it. And, let’s say, I see it on 6 different accounts, and then the next time I go into Waterstone’s, I see it on one of their displays, 9 times out of 10, I am buying that book. It’s sweet serendipity.
Whatever impact bookstagrams have had on the publishing industry, it has most certainly been overwhelmingly positive. If our pretty shelfies and flatlays can get people to read books, then I think they are very good thing indeed! And hopefully the book industry won’t die any time soon!
Follow me on Instagram: @amybucklesbookshelf and also check out all the lovely ladies below, who give me bookstagram inspiration everyday!