At first glance, the book world might seem simple: a group of people who like to read. Upon closer inspection, however, there are so many communities, clubs, sites, and sources out there to choose from. If you’re new to the scene and want to find likeminded readers, it can be challenging to find your niche.
It can feel impossible to weed through your options, but don’t let the variety intimidate you! These seemingly never-ending choices will actually make it easier to narrow it down, see the content you want on your feed, and maybe make some friends.
I’ve broken down some of the types of people you’ll see in bookish places of the internet into basic categories to help you find exactly what you crave.
For the sake of this post, I define readers as people who clearly enjoy books but don’t create much/any content. Maybe they’re on Goodreads to track progress as they whittle down their endless To-Read pile. You see them participating in reading challenges and sharing the occasional bookish memes. Maybe they’re that friend you can always DM about your latest bookish crush. They may not share a lot of their thoughts publicly, but they sure are fun to be around!
Being a reader is great if:
- you like getting recommendations and keeping up with publishing news
- you enjoy being around other bookworms and bibliophiles
- you aspire to read more frequently or more broadly
Book clubs are an ideal environment to meet fellow readers, try books you normally wouldn’t pick up, and reflect on what you read more intentionally. If you can’t find a group in person, there are online groups for every genre and age range, or you could try starting your own! Goodreads is a great place to look for groups because it has lots of well-established, active communities to choose from.
Joining a book club is a good idea if:
- you like discussing books, but maybe don’t feel like blogging
- you crave more social in your social media
- you want to learn more about writing and literature
If bookish chit-chat isn’t hitting the spot, you might be ready to try book blogging. These are the people you see online whose website and social media profiles are wholly dedicated to books. Book bloggers create content related to books, reading, and sometimes cater to fans of a specific series or author. Book bloggers include vloggers and Booktubers, curated social accounts dedicated to reading, blog contributors, reading podcasts, and bookstagrammers. Book bloggers will often write reviews, but they’re not always a book reviewer.
Being a book blogger is ideal if:
- you enjoy creating content like reading lists or book photos
- you want a space to share your views about favorite books or series
- you feel like your perspective would be entertaining or helpful to other readers
Book reviewers focus on publishing their thoughts about books—usually about recent or forthcoming releases—to aid book buyers. Giving these books a trial run and mark of approval helps people, booksellers, and even publishers decide where to spend their time and money. It’s fun to follow reviewers if you love in-depth analysis, brutally honest opinions, or humorous reactions.
If you’re interested in becoming a reviewer yourself, places like NetGalley and Eidleweiss allow newbies to get in at entry level without needing a huge platform. Put in the work, and you may find yourself one of the lucky few to get a first look at bestsellers and highly-anticipated sequels.
Being a reviewer might be a good fit if:
- you enjoy helping people find good books
- you can read quickly and communicate your ideas clearly in written form
- you want a more involved way to interact with the reading community
EDUCATORS & LIBRARIANS
Teachers and librarians are always on the hunt for books that fit into their curriculum or would circulate well amongst patrons and students. They know firsthand how people respond to and interact with books, and are uniquely able to connect the right books to the right readers. For this reason, insight or endorsement from these sources is highly valued.
Some teachers and librarians review books or blog with emphasis on books can be a resource by fellow educators. This faction of the reading community is often focused on the practical and educational value of reading. Following them, even if you’re not an educator, can be an awesome way to see books from a different perspective.
Blogging for educators and librarians is a good fit if:
- you have experience as an educator or librarian
- you enjoy coming up with creative solutions and resources
- you want to engage more with the educational community
Most writers begin as readers, and therefore have a strong connection to the reading community. Although many prefer to interact with the writing community, it’s not uncommon for writers to review books with an eye toward technicalities or dive into in-depth studies on their favorite (and least favorite) books.
Writers can be harsh and somewhat biased critics, but if you like that unique brand of nerdiness, their perspective may help you become a more discerning reader, and perhaps encourage you to begin a creative adventure of your own.
A fun thing about being part of the modern reading community is the ability to connect with the authors you admire. Many authors have a dedicated newsletter for fans. It’s not hard to send a message via their website or social media to share a compliment or virtual thank you note. Many are active readers and bloggers themselves!
Following and interacting with authors can give you new insights on your favorite books, and helps support them while they’re working on the next novel or installment to that highly-anticipated series.
You probably won’t see people using these exact definitions, but I hope exploring the different roles and options has helped you better understand the reading community, and your place in it!
How did you find your place in the bookish community?
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