Reading Is Cool Again. The Reason? Social Media
Books are irrelevant in the digital age where on-demand content and social media dominate our time – at least some experts want you to think so. Many blame our poor attention spans, but it’s more likely how we manage every minute of our day. Before the Covid-19 lockdown, we just didn’t take the time to read or participate in other hobbies, at least not as much.
But books are making a strong comeback, and one of the primary reasons is social media. Book influencers are paving the way for an entirely new generation of reading enthusiasts – eBook sales alone were over S1 billion in 2020. Even celebrities like Emma Watson and Jimmy Fallon use social media to showcase their love of reading and encourage others to take part.
The Rise of Reading During Covid
In the second half of 2020, Americans read 25% more than the previous year. People began joining virtual book clubs, and audiobooks provided a break from the constant news updates on TV. Social media book influencers, celebrities like Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon, and even daytime talk shows began to promote reading. Books prompted conversations and brought us together during a time we felt total isolation.
Digital formats made sharing titles with your friends and other book club members easy. Most eBook apps even offer free books, often classics or the first book in a series, to draw a reader in.
As more people worked from home and used their devices to stay connected, the lockdown also saw an increase in cybercrime. Use the most secure USA VPN to protect your personal information when you go online.
How Social Media Boosts Reading Interest
The pandemic provided the downtime needed to pick up a book and enjoy other hobbies. Soon, reading was blowing up on social media with digital book clubs and book influencers renewing our interest in the hobby. As such, the number of readers doubled during the Covid-19 lockdown. Pretty wild!
It seems that reading is the new ‘it’ thing… and shouldn’t it be? Thanks to digital formats and home delivery services, books are easier than ever to access. You can immerse yourself in an entirely different culture, learn a new language via audiobook, or even learn a new skill. Since readers couldn’t gather for their traditional book clubs, social media and video book clubs became a way to keep them going.
Short-form social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok became platforms for book clubs and book recommendations by celebrities. After all, who wants to read a dry review when you can hear about the book from someone just like you (or better yet a celebrity) via a TikTok video?
What Is a Book Influencer?
Book influencers use various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, to promote books. Typically, book influencers read the book, offer a personalized review, and encourage others to read it. It’s not uncommon for publishers and authors to make them part of advertising campaigns – especially book launches and other PR events. Check out a few of the most popular book influencers who use short-form social media.
|Popular Book Influencers by App
Inspired by #BookTok, which has quickly become one of the highest trending reading topics, TikTok created #bookclub. The app’s book club offers recommendations and you can find BookTok reads there as well.
TikTok wasn’t the only short-form social media to trend. Instagram has success with #bookstagram, and some bookstagrammer accounts are reaching over 200K followers.
Trending Book Clubs on Social Media
Promoting reading isn’t only for book influencers – many celebrities, services, and even talk shows have book clubs trending on social media. Oprah’s Book Club is still going strong after three decades, and the space is now seeing a new generation of celebrities that encourages young people to read.
You can find celebrities of all ages promoting reading and popular radio programs, streaming platforms, and talk shows starting book clubs of their own. Many of these cover content across a variety of social media platforms, so let’s see who’s trending on each app.
|Trending Book Clubs by App
Something for Everyone – Reading Apps Diversify
The beginning of the eBook brought us Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle, but the ability to put the reading apps on mobile devices without buying a separate eReader changed the game. You can download reading apps from Nook, Kindle, Google Play, and Wattpad (just to name a few).
Want to listen to a story? Use Audible or LibriVox. Just go to your iOS or Android app store and download a reading app. To get you started, check out some of the following apps, like Comixology, which caters to fans of comics and manga, or Chilling: Scary Horror Stories, which offers spine tingling tales. Some apps focus on one author, like Plato, or a single hobby, like DIY home improvements.
Regardless of your reading tastes or operating system, you can find a mobile app with the right book for you.
Are Print Books Dead? Far From It
You might be surprised to find out the print format is still incredibly popular. In 2020, 750 million print books were sold versus 191 million eBooks the year before.
Maybe it’s something about a physical book. The crisp pages, the new binding, the smell. Whatever it is, print certainly isn’t dead. Print books still outperform digital books 4 to 1 in sales.
But this doesn’t mean digital formats aren’t just as good. Audiobooks and eBooks are catching up in the sales and popularity department. American audiobook sales rose by 15% during the 2019 Covid lockdown, and eBooks saw a 20% rise in sales in 2020.
The table below provides some of the pros and cons of each format, in case you’re still on the fence or you just want to know more.
|The Pros & Cons of Digital Vs Print Books
✅ The battery won’t die
✅ Less eye strain/no blue light
✅ You don’t need to update it
✅ Uninterrupted reading/no ads
✅ No electronic waste
⛔ Unchangeable font size
⛔ Adds to deforestation
⛔ Not as portable in bulk
⛔ Delays due to shipping/out of stock
⛔ Physical libraries require more space
⛔ Damaged/bent pages
Read On and Relax
Love it or hate it, social media has brought about a new reading Renaissance. We often tout the dangers and mindlessness of it, but the rise of reading proves it also has a good side.
Whether you like the smell of a print book or the convenience of a digital version, the reading trend isn’t going out of style anytime soon. I prefer digital for travel and print for relaxing on the couch. Let us know what format you prefer in the comments.