You already know that Instagram is for book lovers. It is full of swoon-worthy photos of gorgeous books (Book Bento Box, Modern Book Design, and Book Baristas for starters). But it is also a great place to keep up with trends in the publishing industry.
Discover unique community programming at brick and mortar bookstores, see how publishing houses are creatively marketing their books on social media, look at online book clubs to learn what readers are excited about, and get inspired by cutting edge book design. These accounts are some of our favorites in the whole universe of book-loving Instagram. They showcase unique viewpoints and strategies from different corners of the industry that we think you should be paying attention to.
Subway Book Review (105k followers)
As book lovers ourselves, we always want to know what people are reading. Subway Book Review satisfies that itch by asking strangers on the subway for a micro review of what they are reading at that moment. It’s a fascinating slice of life, in the spirit of Humans of New York, but this account is really a sneak peek into the minds of consumers. Why are people gravitating towards the books they are choosing? How are people finding these titles and where are they buying them? Use this account for some free market research.
The Spines (8k followers)
The Spines, aka book blogger Megan Prokott, might not be the biggest book-loving Instagram account, but she really knows how to engage her community. The secret? Ask questions! She ends her posts with questions about what her followers are reading, where they like to read, and more. Readers love talking about reading, and Megan is giving her followers a way to interact with her account, and with each other. It also doesn’t hurt SEO.
Women & Children First (4.4k followers)
Women & Children First is a bookstore in Chicago that has been stocking books by and about women (and for children) since 1979. Their Instagram page is chock full of events held at the bookstore–you can look at their account and see that they host author interviews, drag queen storytime, and multiple book clubs. The community centered around Women & Children First is clearly vibrant and passionate. Keeping tabs on indie brick and mortar shops is a great way to see how bookstores are serving the needs of their unique communities and can help you craft specific pitches to different kinds of booksellers for different kinds of bookstores.
Little Free Library (43.4k followers)
Have you ever seen a structure on someone’s front lawn with a small lending library inside? You likely have Little Free Library to thank for that. Little Free Library is a small non-profit that fosters neighborhood book exchanges all over the world. Their mission is based on hyper-local community reading needs, but they use Instagram to keep the global Little Free Library community engaged with the project, and, if you look in the comments, with each other.
Well-Read Black Girl (85k followers)
Founded by Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl is an online newsletter and social media community highlighting the work of black women authors. It has also blossomed into an in-person book club and an annual festival in Brooklyn featuring author interviews, panels about writing and self-care, and more. Well-Read Black Girl’s Instagram is full of photos of book recommendations, author quotes, and photos from in-person events. It highlights a vibrant and engaged community that is communicating on multiple platforms in a variety of ways.
Belletrist (176k followers)
A digital book club for predominantly millennial women readers, Belletrist was founded by Karah Priess and actor Emma Roberts. Their Instagram account is full of links to author interviews, check-ins with their book club readers, and collaborations with other book-loving Instagram accounts. Belletrist was started by two best friends, and the conspiratorial, friendly tone is reflected in their social media presence. It feels like a conversation with your friends, inspiring lots of follower engagement. Belletrist also makes great use of live features on social media, both in Instagram stories and on Facebook Live, premiering new book club picks in a livestream, encouraging their audience to tune in all at once and all together.
Graywolf Press (24.1k followers)
Graywolf does a fantastic job of marketing its titles on Instagram. Graywolf promotes its titles with visually appealing, color-coordinated shots. The trick is that they post multiple shots of the same title, creating unique pieces of content while keeping the branding consistent. This tactic keeps the information feeling fresh while also keeping their titles in the feeds of their followers, and hopefully top of mind when they go to the bookstore.
The New York Public Library (186k followers)
An iconic library and cultural institution, the NYPL’s Instagram is a mix of serious shots of their massive collection and casual celebrations of its community of patrons. They post vintage index cards full of questions that patrons have asked librarians (subtly reminding us all how vital librarians are to their communities!). The NYPL also spearheaded #BookfaceFriday, where some of their librarians and staffers match their faces or their surroundings to a book cover. The trend has spread and NYPL reposts photos from other libraries, creating cross-library awareness and goodwill. It’s a great reminder to be creative with your photos, and to have a sense of fun with your visual marketing.
She Designs Books (2.2k followers)
Highlighting books designed by women, this feed is full of beautiful book covers. If you are a self-publishing author, get inspired by these innovative and effective images. If you work in book design, take a look at new trends in the field. Even better, if you are a designer in New York City, follow this account for their live meetups and networking events!
Marley Dias (47.7k followers)
Marley Dias has been on the literary scene since 2015, when, at the tender age of 11, she began a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks, calling for more children’s books about black girls (she complained to her mother that she was given mostly books about white boys and their dogs to read in school). She has been promoting better representation in children’s books ever since, interviewing other creatives, writing a book, and going on book tour. Keep an eye on her and on other young voices who are the next generation of literary tastemakers.
Jen Pastiloff (34.2k followers)
Jen Pastiloff, author of the forthcoming On Being Human, has an Instagram presence that shows some of the less glamorous moments in her life, like wearing pants that still have their tags on them and eating a tupperware full of goldfish crackers for dinner. Her account is relatable, and very personal. She posts photos of her family, including her young son. It helps her audience connect with her at an intimate level, rather than purely a professional or literary one. Not all authors will want to divulge their personal life, but for those who do, Jen’s account is a great model.
How have you used Instagram to market your titles or engage with your audiece? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to feature stories from our publisher and author community for future stories.