The Chatter

Book Lovers Create an Online Community Through Instagram

“Bookstagramers” sharing their favorite titles and love for books are popping up in Baltimore.

These days, there are groups for everything imaginable online—food, pets, makeup, hair. But hordes of bibliophiles are popping up on Instagram. These book-obsessed people are known as “bookstagrammers” and they use the online platform to build communities for book lovers just like them.

It’s not your old-fashioned book club with ladies (and gents) sitting around a coffee table discussing the latest Fifty Shades novel. These groups are diverse and are perfect for anyone who wants to get in a good discussion on a great book with limited human interaction. Bookstagrammers post their favorites online and some even host discussions with their followers.

Take Baltimore native Katharine Scrivener who has her own Bookstagram account, @kathareads. She’s a member of several book clubs, including an online book blog she started with her friends, The Bookly Club. She started her book-focused account after she realized there was an entire online community that shared in her love of literature.

She created her account a little over a year ago and now has more than 12,000 followers, and she even hosts an online discussion complete with the hashtag #ReadWithKat to engage them to read along with her. Scrivener has become so popular that Sarah Jessica Parker actually re-grammed one of her posts.

“It is a little bit surreal,” she says. “I didn’t realize this community existed, or how big and wonderful it is. It’s just full of smart, caring, supportive, book-obsessed people. It’s just this little corner of the internet that is unlike any other I’ve found.”

Scrivener, who enjoys literary fiction, memoirs, and thrillers, believes that the online platform has also provided an open pathway for publishers and authors to connect with readers in a way that wasn’t possible a decade ago. It also opens readers up to genres and titles that they wouldn’t otherwise check out if not for the abundance of literature sharing that takes place on these accounts.

“I love Baltimore-based authors like Laura Lippman and Anne Tyler,” she says. “It’s great to see other people from other places get excited about books that are written by Baltimore authors or that take place in Baltimore.”

Although this Bookstagram account began as just an entertaining hobby for Scrivener, she has been toying with the idea of making it something bigger than just an online account. She has grappled with the notion of local meetups, newsletters, and growing the presence of book influencers online, although she’s still looking for a way to monetize her passion.

“What’s unfortunate about book influencers is they aren’t looked at the same as other influencers,” she says. For now, I love reading so much and this account is so much fun for me that part of me is also afraid to take it to a place where it becomes work.”

Whether your preference is a physical book, audiobook, or a Kindle—Scrivener bounces among all three but prefers an actual book—these online communities are perfect for a veracious reader looking to connect with other bibliophiles.

“I decided to create this Instagram account dedicated to books because I wanted to reignite my excitement for reading,” Scrivener says. “But I also just wanted to talk about books with other people who love books. I had no idea where it would go or what would happen, but it’s just been so much more than I imagined.”