I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with bookstagram – I think a lot of people do! On the one hand, Instagram is a fantastic place to show off our books so they don’t just sit gathering dust on the shelf for years to come but on the other hand, Instagram is a terrible platform at the moment with so much forced engagement rather than organic that it can sometimes be frustrating to spend even a few minutes scrolling.
For the most part, I am glad that I have the bookstagram community and an outlet for my bookish thoughts rather than just this blog (if we really want to talk about something that has been gathering dust lately, all we have to do is turn to this blog!). I have noticed, since starting my own bookstagram account, that my reading habits have shifted slightly. So, if you’re thinking of starting your own account, here are some things that I’ve found over time.
#1 There are more new releases in my life
It used to take me months, if not years, to pick up a book that had been released recently. I never really followed authors online and didn’t have a lot of friends who were interested in the exact same books as me. So, unless it was Harry Potter or, at one stage in my life, the new Jodi Picoult, I wasn’t really aware of which new books were coming out. I think I’m still a little bit in the dark about things like this but it’s so much easier to find out when books are coming out now. Even if I only find out by other bookstagrammers posting their ads for the book, I still find out far sooner than I used to and, because I get sucked in by the pretty pictures, I so often buy the book before any reviews have even come out.
#2 I read (and regret) a lot more YA
I stopped reading YA fiction in general at about 19. There was the occasional book that would slip through but my guard was up – I didn’t enjoy it anymore so I wouldn’t read it unless several people had recommended it to me and even then I was reluctant. There were a few years when it was like this but recently (read: since I joined the bookstagram community) I’ve noticed a little more YA slipping into my reading. It’s because so many bookstagrammers ARE young adult women (as am I) and I see pictures of what they’re reading and think ‘Hmm, I wonder if that’s any good.’ I either buy it or get it out from the library, read it and am almost always disappointed.
Recent examples are the Lara Jean books by Jenny Han. If you talk to almost any bookstagrammer, they’ll tell you they love those books. I hated every second of them. I also was extremely excited for When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon but when I finally got around to it last month, I was very disappointed. In the interest of fairness, there are a few YA books that I absolutely love and I wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t have bookstagram – My Lady Jane and the Three Dark Crowns books are just a few of the. Mostly though, I’m let down by the YA books my bookstagrammer friends recommend and I keep falling for the excellent photos they take!
#3 I buy a lot more books
I have been on a book-buying ban for the last two years and I’ve still bought more books than I ever could have dreamed of buying in a 24 month period as a kid. I know that it’s partly because my income has grown but a large part of it is the fact that I see gorgeous books every single day and books are my absolute weakness. I use to buy all my books from Vinnies or Salvos when I was younger. I liked a good cover but I was more interested in just owning lots of books for as cheaply as possible. Now, my focus is more on having beautiful books to photograph and have looking pretty on my shelves (as well as the contents of course) – I also buy far more hardbacks than I ever used to! My little 14-year-old self would be quaking in her boots at the expense!
#4 The rise of the TBR
Before bookstagram, I used to just read whatever I felt like, I didn’t mind when I read them and I barely ever felt guilty for the growing number of unread books on my shelf. I even wrote a blog post a little while ago about why I don’t like to have a TBR. I still don’t keep a strict list of what I need to read next but I am constantly overwhelmed by all the books I own and I haven’t read yet – that’s why I’m trying to stick to a book-buying ban! The less that come in, the more I need to read the ones I already have. While I don’t keep a list, I regularly take visual stock of my shelf and try to whittle the number of unread books down to a manageable size (I never succeed but at least I’m trying).
What about you? Has your foray into the bookstagram community (even if you only follow a few accounts) led you to pick up some new bookish habits?