The images we create around books is another form of communicating about them. Adolescents are creating a network amongst each other of book lovers and friends. They are also connecting to authors. Writers of young adult novels are not in a distant corner of the universe. They are right there and can be clicked on and spoken to. Young adult authors have made it a point to expand their social media presence. Authors can be found across social media platforms. A student can not only wonder about alternate endings or details about a character – they can communicate with the author and ask any question about the book. The question is if the author will actually answer…
Part of Booktube is an experiment authors and filmmakers are taking to skip the big screen (movies) and the small screen (network television) and adapt books for web series. The Morganville Vampires is a series of novels written by Rachel Caine. The series, through a Kickstarter campaign, was turned into a web series. Each episode is only around ten minutes long, but the support for the webseries is a little unclear. Each episode boasts about one hundred thousand views, but many of the comments on the episodes are negative. For readers, a web series does not do justice to the books. The Youtube episodes are short and an entire novel is finished in a short setting. On the other hand, moving books to Youtube is easier than any other platform. Users could gather together to make fundraising campaigns and a dedicated author may be able to find a way to bring images to a story.
But adolescents do not need to rely on authors. They have each other to turn to for interpretations of the books they are reading. One of the widest resources is Youtube or more specifically Booktube. The last few years have seen a rise in Youtube stars. There is no doubt that a new form of celebrity has been created on Youtube. Users are willing to consume media created by their peers. The Youtube celebrity is part of the excitement around Web 2.0: user generated content. There are Youtube stars who are known for comedy sketches, makeup tutorials, and clothing hauls. Naturally, there are stars who are dedicated to books.
Abookutopia’s channel on Youtube demonstrates the range of uses adolescents can apply to Youtube. With another Youtuber, Peruse Project, she has an online book club where users can go and watch live feeds as they discuss books. The channels show off book collections, book hauls, and give advice on what to read. The videos have the same appeal as other Youtube channels. The videos serve as a conversation starter: comments below turn into long threads about books, ideas, and suggestions. Adolescent’s are not just watching what Youtuber’s have to say. They are pushing back, providing criticism, and creating thoughts for themselves. The websites are not just dedicated spaces to talking about what books people should consider reading. Videos also give descriptions about books.
A social media culture has formed itself around books, complete with its own language. Fangirl language, not just from Rainbow Rowell’s own book, has spurred numbers of videos with people interpreting the vocabulary thanks to a Fangirl Language Challenge that was started. People have had their friends guess what acronyms and words in the book community mean.
Here is a list of Youtube channels to use to start exploring Booktube:
- Little Book Owl
- Peruse Project
- Hails Hearts NYC