Inside the World of “Bookstagram”

Shivani Desai
May 28, 2021

Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant and just felt a huge sense of peace, like this is “home” and exactly where you’re meant to be? That’s me whenever I visit a bookstore. I walk right in and immediately feel right at home with the many stacks of books, row after row, ranging from nonfiction to fiction to history and so much more.

Needless to say, I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little girl, sitting in the backseat with 10 books on the way home from my weekly trip to the library with my parents. Over the years, that love for reading never changed, but my priorities did. School, and then ultimately work and life ended up taking over and I never quite found the time to read for fun anymore. 

However, due to the pandemic, the need to take care of one’s mental health, and the recently-coined term “bookstagram,” my love for reading is back like never before. You see, once the pandemic hit and the political climate and attacks got a bit dicey in the US, I personally needed something to prevent me from constantly doomscrolling.

For years, one of my favorite Instagram personalities, Ashley Spivey, regularly shared her monthly reads as posts on her platform with detailed reviews of each book. As she continued to share her favorites, Ashley gained traction and formed Spivey’s Book Club, an online community on both Facebook and Instagram with book lovers from all around the US and abroad who share their favorite reads and ask for particular recommendations. I regularly seek out her posts for my book suggestions, but it was with the start of her book club that I truly began to peel back the many layers of the bookstagram world. 

What’s “bookstagram”?

There is currently no formal definition of the word, but bookstagram can be generally defined as an Instagram account that is solely dedicated to sharing book covers in an artistic fashion with the respective owner’s reviews. The term initially began as a hashtag for book lovers to easily share their most recent favorites, review discussion questions and even display potential book club options. To date, there are more than 60 million posts (and growing) on Instagram with the hashtag #bookstagram, emphasizing this community is loud, proud, and here to stay with their favorite books in tow. 

Now, being a “bookstagrammer” is the new “book influencer” with Instagram accounts and book clubs for all interests, topics and subject matters. In fact, “bookstagram” has become a large educational component of the platform, with bookstagrammers also becoming involved with social justice issues and recommending books that help teach and present information in a different light.

Bookstagrammers to follow

Outside of Spivey’s Book Club, there are a few additional “bookstagrammers” that I’ve gotten excellent recommendations from, and I’d like to share them with you. 

First up is Lupita from Lupita.Reads. I found her through the perusal of a few other accounts, and chose to follow her bookstagram for her passion to read and highlight authors of color. Her reviews are detailed, insightful and emotional, and you’ll almost always walk away with a few new books added to your “to read” list.

Next, we have Philly’s very own Amber.burns. While Amber’s bookstagram discusses her latest reads as well as her reviews of each, I also appreciate that she keeps it real with sharing content regarding mental health and how she’s gotten through the pandemic. 

Finally, Jordy’s Book Club is a bookstagrammer on a much larger scale than the others, but I’ve still found his recommendations to be very helpful. He’s based out of LA and I genuinely don’t know how he reads so much so quickly but I’m jealous! 

When it comes to mental health in our current status quo, my usual MO for taking a break is turning on an old episode of something mindless while I grab my phone to scroll haphazardly through Instagram, liking photos and posts that don’t really mean much to me at all. Now, with this new digital world of book lovers, my evenings before bed are spent reading my latest book or scrolling through my bookstagram feeds with intent to read posts made by this online community of passionate, like-minded readers who are sharing their current reads and searching for their next captivating book. 

Share your favorite bookstagrammer and current read in the comments section below!