EntertainmentThe boom of the ´bookstagrammers´: the origin of the...

The boom of the ´bookstagrammers´: the origin of the youth movement, its role in the FIL Lima 2022 and more

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Getting involved in reading is a task that has been complicated in recent years. However, after the arrival of the pandemic and consequent social isolation, youths have found in the books an alternative to immerse yourself in imaginary worlds. It is in this context that ´bookstagram´ stands out, a space on Instagram where people share reviews, ideas and comments about books. Each with their own style.

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To understand more about this phenomenon, Trade held a round table and summoned three of the most followed ‘bookstagrammers’ in Peru: Laly Arce (27), Mia Villafranqui (24) and Gianella Condor (23). They confess to having started reading since their adolescence and, by chance, all three started with the same book: “Twilight” (2005). This saga written by the American Stephenie Meyer managed to hook them through the movies, and later they reached the printed work.

“I remember that I bought the first book and I was amazed and I didn’t know that a book could be so good. I said ´books can be interesting´. It was a great discovery when I was 12 years old and from there I started reading by my own decision”Mia commented.

The rise of ‘bookstagram’

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Sharing book reviews has been around the internet for several years, but in different formats. For example, in 2015, Laly Arce started making videos on YouTube once a week where she recommended books that she liked. But, only years later, the community was installed on Instagram. This platform enabled the possibility of sharing 24-hour stories and, later, the reels.

Thanks to these options, Laly, Mia and Gianella joined the phenomenon that began to expand in the pandemic. “I thought about it a lot. I did not know that in Peru there were so many ´bookstagrammers´. I opened my account and fell in love with this whole world. I love meeting people who read,” Mia pointed out. “Not only do you have the possibility of uploading a photo, but also of sharing your day to day, what you are reading and feeling when reading a book”Laly added.

The instantaneity provided by Instagram is one of the factors that has managed to connect the content creator with the reader. They manage to share their impressions of a book at any time of the day and, at the same time, read the comments of their followers. “I feel that this interaction is super valuable, it is more direct. Even stories allow you various resources (polls, music, reactions) to interact. This makes it a boom because it gives you several options”Gianella adds.

Making your way into ´bookstagram´ seems complicated due to the large number of creators out there. However, each has managed to capture an audience. The key? Be themselves.We are different people, we say if we like a book or not. We are many people in ´bookstagram´ and many of us talk about the same books; then, What differentiates us is that we are ourselves. One way or another, you discover how to reach them. We all love to read, in our own way”Mia says.

How to enjoy reading

One of the questions at this point is how to convince young people to read? The ‘bookstagrammer’ agree that a book should make you fall in love so that, consequently, your love of reading continues. For Laly Arce, readers must come down from the pedestal to the book. “People said that you can’t talk about a book in a funny way or that it can’t be for fun, but to learn. The truth is that you should read the story as you prefer to do it”he adds.

Meanwhile, Mia Villafranqui emphasizes that a book should not necessarily change your life or teach you something. Feeling with a book is very special, but not everyone has the opportunity to do so because they have not come out of conventional books. Don’t underestimate youth books either, there are some very good stories that have come out of Wattpad. There are authors who have worked very hard to get to paper, which is difficult. That adults do not think that juvenile books are bad “, clarified.

´Bookstagram´ has also got readers to share their ways of enjoying reading. What seemed impossible before is now common practice. There was a stigma around not writing on a book, much less highlighting or drawing on the pages. However, this has changed. Gianella is one of the ´bookstagrammers´ that she shares, both on Instagram and Tik Tok, the way in which her books remain after finishing all the chapters. She is characterized by using post it, highlighters and pencil drawings to mark those scenes or phrases that she liked.

On the other hand, thanks to virtuality, the ´bookstagrammers´ have discovered joint readings. They join in a video call with people who want to enjoy the same book and share their opinions. “I have had up to 100 people read and we have been talking about the book. With a camera or without a camera, as you feel more comfortable, because the goal is to create a safe space for readers”, says Mia.

A report published by Trade, identified that youth book sales increased by almost 90% during the pandemic. One of the factors would be the Wattpad platform, which allows you to publish and read literary content for free. For ‘bookstagrammers’ this is nothing new.

“There are many comments that there are bad stories on Wattpad and that they should not be taken into account, but some cases show the opposite. An example is Ariana Godoy (“Through my window”), which has several books on the platform and a large number of readers that it has not gained overnight. I think it is time to give Wattpad the value it deserves, it has made many people dream and that is valid ”, refers Mia.

Meanwhile, Gianella points out that there is “Thousands of stories and each of the authors has something different. On Wattpad there is a stigma that there are only bad books, but they don’t realize that what is there is a draft of history. When it comes out physically, it goes through editing to obtain the final product. I think you might be surprised at the variety of stories on Wattpad. It’s not easy to grow up there”.

Despite constantly consuming books, Gianella and Mia have never thought about becoming writers. Both agree that they like their role as readers at the moment. For her part, Laly Arce confessed that she does have this option in mind and in recent years she has been working on some projects; but these will not see the light soon.

If the opportunity to publish comes along, there are also going to be quite a few people who will want to read and judge the book, be it good or bad. The fear of ending that story, also how you present it to others. At some point it may be, not now, but I would like to get something out at some point”, he confirmed.

His role in the FIL

The 2022 Lima International Book Fair has also seen the potential to spread reading through social networks. This is how it has selected ambassadors so that, through their profiles, they connect with hidden readers.

What better than a person who usually talks to you about books, has the opportunity to enter the fair every day and share the experience with you; maybe tell you about some activities you didn’t know about. It is having these content creators as allies”Laly comments.

The ´bookstagrammers´ have identified that in this FIL, unlike previous editions, there is more presence of young people in search of their favorite books. They even point out that the youth literature sections are the ones that tend to have the most public attendance. “I think that the organization saw the potential that arose in the pandemic because there are new accounts and new ways to recommend books. In the group of ambassadors there are ´bookstagrammers´ of different genres (romance, fantasy, thriller). That’s the beauty, there is variety”Gianella finished.

Not everything is children’s literature

Social networks have allowed the ´bookstagram´ phenomenon to be extended to different literary genres. Thus, beyond romance and fiction, there are content creators who continue to bet on the classics. An example is Gianfranco Hereña, creator of “El Buen Librero”, a digital space created in 2013 to encourage reading.

The also winner of the Best Cultural Digital Program of the 2021 Luces Awards is aware that the pandemic has made people turn their attention to social networks as an alternative to learn about books. “They found a different reception and hence the phenomenon of live broadcasts in a certain sector of the population with Internet access could feel the curiosity to go to the booksHereña emphasized to this newspaper.

Likewise, he emphasizes that the reader is now focused on the science fiction genre made in Latin America. “It has gone from being a subgenre to becoming a trend that is no longer exclusive to the European or North American industry”. In addition, contemporary terror is also on the rise. “This genre has shown us that not everything is monsters or abominable creatures, but that inner demons can be just as terrible. Terror is in everyday life and can range from an open gas key to the fear of leaving your child alone at home. In this sense, authors such as Mariana Enríquez, Agustina Bazterrica or Samanta Schweblin have gained a large readership at the regional level for exploiting issues of this type”.

Finally, Gianfranco Hereña left some advice to those who wish to immerse themselves in this phenomenon of ‘bookstagramers’. Without perseverance there is no room for failure and from failure you always learn something (…) If someone wants to dedicate themselves to this, do not wait until they have the best equipment or resources. Let him be encouraged to do it as he can and as he goes along, see what works and what doesn’t. It is part of a process as convoluted as it is fascinating”culminated.

IDF Lima 2022

The 26th International Book Fair of Lima 2022 will be open to the public until Sunday, August 7. The schedule is from 11 am to 10 pm in the Parque Próceres de la Independencia, Jesús María.

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Source: Elcomercio

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