BOOKS AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA
Today, books are increasingly available to us in formats other than the printed volume. At the same time, the communal activity of the book club is adapting to the current technological age: Authors are establishing Facebook groups and engaging in Twitter discussions with fans, and bookish posts on Instagram that highlight new releases, book recommendations, and book reviews done by book bloggers and Advanced Review Copy (ARC) readers. These posts often feature high-resolution photos of bookshelves or bookstacks purposefully arranged to be aesthetically pleasing and include pops of color. This assortment of social media communities has allowed new conversations to take place about books.
As a 22-year-old millennial reader, I have gone through the gamut of book forums, privileging different ones at various stages of my adolescence and young adulthood. Growing up, a particular book would gain my attention because I somehow knew I had found a good read. A person who goes to the trouble of reading a book in today’s media-saturated environment, in which she can stream a Netflix or Amazon series, watch a movie, or simply occupy herself with a funny YouTube video, genuinely yearns for the unique experience of reading. A reader wants to be transported by a strong plot, complex characters, and the beauty of the written word. I grew up with physical books, often purchasing them from the nearby Borders bookstore or checking them out from a local library branch. Around middle school, I purchased my first e-book for my Kindle, and now I use the mobile Kindle app to borrow e-books through my online library account daily. I still like to get my hands on a physical copy of a book, whether from a used bookstore, an eclectic indie shop, or during a Target run, especially if there’s an extra discount or a signed copy available. However, the convenience and portability of the Kindle app on my phone has led me to read more e-books.
In today’s online world filled with social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is opportunity for continuous discussion between literary professionals and book aficionados.
I’ve noticed that I tend to find recommendations for new reads through my social media feeds. For this reason, the connection between publishing and social media makes sense to me: I’ve long valued the reading communities I’ve found online, comprised of people absorbing and interacting with books through screens. Readers can engage with authors, reviewers, and other readers about the new publications they are most excited about. In today’s online world filled with social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is opportunity for continuous discussion between literary professionals and book aficionados. Through these discussions, the book lover can learn more about their favorite author than they could from reading the inside flap of a book sleeve. Through online platforms, the author’s fans, or “followers,” are able to stay up to date on new releases and other upcoming events. Book fans can also learn about other writers’ work through their favorite author’s book recommendations or To Be Read (TBR) list.
The various forms of social media complement one another, and interactions on-screen help facilitate future face-to-face interactions. Therefore, I am encouraged that, through social media, we are able to form communities of bookworms who not only like to read, but who also uplift and encourage one another. Online platforms allow us to share dialogue and passages from our beloved books with each other. Before the internet, we did this one-on-one, but today, our communities have become much wider thanks to social media. I am thrilled by the prospect of the relationship between book culture and digital media continuing to evolve and expand into a future where literature has a meaningful presence for people worldwide.
Cristina Cisneros is a recent graduate from University of Nevada Las Vegas with a BA in English. She is an avid reader who loves to read young adult novels during any spare moment. During her undergraduate career, she worked as the Public Relations/Social Media Officer for her university’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and acted as Sigma Tau Delta’s Associate Student Representative for the Far Western Region. Cristina also served as the Social Media Editor of Witness Magazine at the Black Mountain Institute. She attended the 2019 AWP for the first time while representing Witness Magazine at the book fair.