Why I Won’t Make a Bookstagram (Again)

Discussion

First off, it goes without saying that this is not a post to hate on bookstagrammers, in fact, far from it! I love looking at beautiful pictures of books just as much as everyone else does.

But I want to talk about my personal reasons for not being on it anymore, and I wouldn’t do this post if I hadn’t seen that I’m not the only one who’s really frustrated with that specific part of the bookish world.

Probably nobody remembers, but for around two months back in late 2016 I had a bookstagram where I tried to post every day. It was back when I had a more time on my hands than I knew what to do with, and I didn’t really want to be in my own head, and basically I was a little bit all over the place, so I guess I welcomed having something to do, planning a post, taking the same picture from different angles and all that.

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One of my old bookstagram pics

It was fun until I saw that I didn’t like who I was while I was a bookstagrammer. I was feeling a lot of envy, and it wasn’t just about the books but also about the various items, mostly bookish candles, that people either bought or were sent for promotion. Basically, being on bookstagram got me in the mindset that if I didn’t have those extra things I was never going to be anybody in that community, not to mention that I felt like I needed to start buying physical books (which I normally hardly ever buy), and especially hardcovers because “they look better”.

As soon as I realized how toxic it was, I ran the hell out and never looked back.

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Another picture I like from back then

Because it was toxic to me, it doesn’t mean like bookstagram as a whole is toxic. But I keep seeing comments from people who don’t enjoy being on it, and I see that publishers put a lot of focus on whether you have a bookstagram or not when you reach out to them asking for ARCs, which puts a lot of pressure on people in the book community to continue bookstagramming even though they might not enjoy it.

I also know that bookstagram is also not very diverse-friendly. I have seen several people complain that unless they post books that are already super hyped (and usually not very diverse), they don’t really get many views on their pictures featuring diverse and less well-known books. It makes some twisted sort of sense of course, but it just contributes to marginalized authors being ignored by the larger book community and that’s something that makes me dislike bookstagram as a whole beyond my personal experience with it.

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This is the pic I’m most proud of!

What are your thoughts and feelings about bookstagram? Do you have one? Do you enjoy being on it? 

 

28 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Make a Bookstagram (Again)

  1. I can totally see what you mean. I have a bookstagram and I love doing it, it’s relaxing for me, but all of these things are true. I felt like this when I was first starting out, especially the feeling that I had to get all sorts of props and hc books in order to be a “real” bookstagramer. But when I discovered the wonders of photoshoping and realized people enjoyed my content even though I use stuff I have around the house for pics it became really great for me. But I totally get your attitude

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad you enjoy it! I get how it can be relaxing, and I wish it were like that for me too. Also, I’ve just taken a look at your bookstagram (because I’m nosy) and omg I freaking love your pictures! They’re all so colorful and they made me smile and put me in a good mood. If I was still on it I’d follow you in a heartbeat!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is exactly why I never opened an insta account… GR already screwed up my reading for 2 years and I’m JUST starting to feel good again without reviewing everything and posting all the time, I know that it would be too much pressure, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep I totally get it! To me it was more about the way it made me feel but I must also say that sometimes it would take me up to one full hour to finally get a few pictures done – one hour in which I could have been reading (or done anything else really). Not to mention having to come up with captions for every picture, find the appropriate hashtags, like and comment on other people’s profiles… It was just too much pressure overall and I literally didn’t feel like I was making any difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My co-blogger and I have a bookstagram because we started taking book photos for the blog anyway, so it was kind of a “Why not also post them there since we already have the photos” thing. The account is not big at all, and I totally get frustration people feel when putting in tons of work and apparently getting little results. I also agree that hyped books get views and likes, and the quality of the photo seems not to matter. I can post the world’s most boring picture of a Harry Potter book and it will get way more likes than a really beautiful photo of something more obscure.

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    • Yeah it’s really more of a “who posts the most hyped/famous books” battle. It’s nice if you’re able enjoy it for yourselves but beyond that it’s just very stressful

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  4. Okay I love this post!!! I’ve actually been kinda wanting to start a bookstagram just because I have so much fun taking bookish pics and also LOOKING at pretty bookish photos, but I already know that I spend a lot of time online and it affects my mental health. (Not any sites in particular! Just… spending too much time makes me hate myself a lil.) But I think that bookstagram is really cool, except for a few of those cons you mentioned! Great discussion, Sil. 💕

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    • Thank you dear ❤ and I totally get you! I feel like if I added yet another social media to the list of the ones I constantly check I’d be miserable, even without all the stuff I mentioned in the post. I’m sad bc I think of all the cool photos I must be missing but I need to think of my mental health too.

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  5. I do enjoy bookstagram mostly because I follow accounts that bring me joy. I also don’t pay attention to stats & numbers, I just share my love for books. I totally understand where you’re coming from and I love connecting with you through your blogs, so it’s okay. You’re doing what you know is good for you. ☺💙

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thank you so much, that’s very kind of you to say 💞 and I’m happy you’re able to enjoy bookstagram without stressing over it, I really wish I could too 😅 but thank you again so much 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really love this post and a lot of the things you mentioned are exactly why I never even decided to venture into bookstagram. From an outsider perspective a lot of it definitely seems toxic and also as you said, the pressure to have pretty accessories, hardcover copies and also just a really high quality camera seems a bit much.. it just seems exhausting to me. But I’m happy other people provide me with pretty pictures 😛

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  7. This is such a brilliant post, I love it, thank you so much for writing it. ❤ I don't have a bookstagram, I know that some days, I feel like starting one, because I really enjoy looking at all of these gorgeous pictures, it seems, from the outside, like a lovely place and… well, I just love scrolling through pictures, haha. Yet, I know that if I ever started, it would drive me crazy. I suck at taking bookish pictures, I don't have the props and / or the patience to do so and maintaining an account like that sounds quite stressful, on top of blogging, I know I couldn't do it without losing my mind 😂 I think you made the best decision by stepping away, sometimes it's so hard to recognize whenever something is toxic for us and / or we still keep on obstinating and just… going through it, but that's just makes it even worse.
    Also, it is such a shame that bookstagram doesn't showcast more diverse books… in the end, it's always the same books making rounds and that's a bit frustrating, too 😦
    Lovely post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I agree, it’s so pretty to look at but there’s just so much that goes on behind each picture and frankly I’d rather dedicate my time to reading or writing on my blog. Also, we shouldn’t be doing anything that damages our mental health, and that’s what bookstagram was doing to me.
      I also try to read mostly diverse books so I don’t feel like I would make a difference there anyway 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you took a step back to take better care of yourself, that’s what matters the most 🙂 x And YES for diverse books, at least you can shout about them and make maybe more of a difference by talkin about them on your blog 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  8. A few years ago I deleted all my social media accounts because it wasn’t good for my mental health personally. This was before I even found out there was a book community online! All I have now is my blog, but I do feel pressure to have a bookstagram or twitter because everyone else does so shouldn’t I too. To help publishers see I’m worth their time or to have more people find my blog, but then I remember how horrible I felt when I did have those things. Constantly feeling lesser because I didn’t have what other people had or I wasn’t doing what other people were doing. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to social media and I’m okay with that. As useful as I think it would be, I’m happier without it.

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  9. I really love being on IG and taking pictures of my books. I don’t feel the “envy” you describe on IG but see Bookstagrams as an outlet for my creation. Now of course feelings are personal and if you don’t feel like it stopping was the right move.

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    • That’s good that you feel that way! That’s how I feel about other things, like my blog or twitter. I guess I also don’t have a lot of passion for photography so that might be part of the reason why IG isn’t for me.

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  10. I’ve never felt inclined to start a bookstagram, because I’m just not very dedicated to working on taking amazing pictures 😮 I also lack all the props that you see around Instagram and I don’t have a lot of amazing hardcovers to show off :/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t follow bookstagram nor do I want to participate in it. It just doesn’t interest me. Sure, they are aesthetically pleasing to the eye but I don’t particularly care how the book looks beside the candle or flowers. It doesn’t tell me anything about the book or if I would like to read it; just that it’s pretty. Of course covers draw me to check out a book but it can do that on its own without the props.

    I know what you mean about the envy though. Before bookstagram took off, I used to get the envy from all the bookmail people would post on Twitter. (I mean, they still do but not as much now I feel). You start to doubt your abilities as a blogger and a reviewer when you start to think “why not me?”.

    I’m happy you realized what it was doing to you and that you weren’t pleased with the results. That takes a lot of self-reflection and courage 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And yes, it does take some self-analyzing but ultimately it’s good to create an online space for ourselves where we can feel comfortable. I also agree that you’re not gonna learn a lot about the book itself on IG. Personally I look for certain things in book, one above all is representation, and I know that almost nobody on IG will mention what rep a particular book has.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a really good post and you make some really good points. I have felt the same way that you did (and still do from time to time). I just don’t have the energy to class my Instagram account as bookstagram. I use the hashtag when I put a book pic up, but I just don’t think my pics are nice enough or consistent enough to be classed as bookstagram. I like to put a whole heap of different things up on my account, I don’t like being in a box (if that is the best way to put it). And people unfollow me when I put other stuff up but I honestly don’t care anymore. I actually like when book accounts put up other stuff, I like some versatility!!! I think it is really good that you got away from something that made you feel bad though. There is no point in doing something that you don’t enjoy, especially when you get nothing out of it. I left facebook for the same reason, it was such a toxic place to be….I left in September last year and haven’t looked back and probably never will to be honest.

    Sorry, I rambled (I apologise for this a lot, I just go off on tangents and end up ranting hahaha). Once again, great post 🙂

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