Is Bookstagram Community Becoming More and More Competitive Each Day?


Hello everyone! ♥

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Asleigh’s post about the competitiveness in book blogging & book tube. Upon reading it, I immediately thought of bookstagram and how it is getting more and more competitive each day. So today I’m going to talk about bookstagram and the competitiveness in its community. I’m actually super nervous because chances are I probably would offend some people with my post 🙈 but please know that it is not my intention of writing this! It is simply to talk about things that are happening around us and make us think together 🙂 so without further ado, let’s get started!

Bookstagram is one of the greatest discovery of my life.

I mean… an account solely devoted for pretty pictures of books?!?!! ♥♥ I first found out about bookstagram around the beginning of this year but only decided to join the community on July. So… yeah, I’ve only been there for over 5 months but even on my short career, I’ve noticed the fact that bookstagram is getting more and more competitive each day. 

Maybe this isn’t something new and it has always been competitive all along, but I personally only noticed this difference ever since Instagram changed its algorithm. We could no longer see our feeds in chronological order. Algorithm-driven feed means that our feed will be arrange according to “posts they we believe we will care about the most”, whatever that means. I don’t like this algorithm either, mainly for these three reasons : 1) It IS getting harder to get the desired number of likes, 2) I keep missing posts from my favorite accounts, and 3) people started to do WEIRD things to get noticed 😂

The Phenomena.jpg

Obsessing over Likes

I’m fully aware that the goal of posting photos on bookstagram is probably to get as many likes as possible. Though it may not be the whole point, you can’t deny the fact that receiving many likes is very rewarding, considering the effort we put on our photos 😂 But I don’t think we should get so worked up over the number of likes. I’ve seen a lot of people asking (even pleading) other people to like their photos on their instagram stories. I even read on twitter that someone DM-ed one of her followers telling her to ‘just unfollow her’ if she’s not liking her pictures. I don’t know if it’s true but it sounds scary… People also get very upset when the number of likes doesn’t reach their expectation or lower than usual. Some even take it to the extreme and decide to delete their photos if said photos don’t receive as many likes.

I’m not gonna lie, I want to get as many likes as possible as well. And yes, I’m also upset if my photo, the one I have put a lot of work on, only received a little number of likes. But is it really necessary to do all the things I mentioned above? 

Obsessing over Follower Counts

A lot of people have gone overboard over their follower counts.

There’s something weird that I’ve been experiencing lately : I keep losing followers. What makes it weird is that I post regularly and I don’t do anything different from usual. I post one picture every day (sometimes every other day when I run out of stocks), I like and comment on other people’s posts, I respond to all comments on my own posts, and I don’t change my theme or anything. Objectively speaking, I don’t see any reason why people would unfollow an account that doesn’t do anything strange.

Apparently, this also happens to a lot of other people. A lot of people have talked about it on their posts/stories as well. Some theories of why this thing happens are :

  • People follow other accounts only to unfollow them later
  • People unfollow the accounts that don’t follow them back

Both reasons are sad because clearly the reason why these people follow other accounts is to gain followers for themselves. Again, I’m not gonna lie, I want to have a lot of followers too, but I also follow other accounts because I genuinely want to see their photos. Regardless whether they follow me back or not. Maybe this kind of thing only happens on bookstagram because I hardly ever lose followers on my personal account even if I don’t post or like or comment on other people’s pictures for weeks </3

Requesting Follow for Follow

I’ve had people liking all my pictures and commenting on some of my posts asking for ‘Follow for follow’ without even following me first. I was like…?!?!! Why does it seem like these people don’t want their following numbers to be higher than their follower counts. Like I said before, if I love an account, I will follow them without worrying whether they will follow me back or not. If they do follow me back, then great!! I’m over the moon, especially if it’s my favorite account, but I’m also okay if they don’t. If you genuinely want to connect with the account holders, then leave a thoughtful comment and follow them first.

Follow-for-follow not only happens on bookstagram but also on instagram in general and in the blogging world. Nevertheless, it’s annoying. I mean, sure it works, to some extent. Even if I end up following you back, doesn’t mean I’m not annoyed at you 😂

Too Many SFS

Basically another implication of people obsessing over their follower counts.

I honestly don’t mind occasional SFS, I’m serious! I have nothing against it. I have participated on some of it, gained followers and discovered a lot of great accounts through it as well. But when people do it too often (like I know this account who does SFS about three times a week), it’s clear that the purpose is not to introduce new or favorite accounts but simply to gain more followers for themselves. 

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My thoughts.jpg

I’ve mentioned this repeatedly that I too want to have as many followers and receive as many likes as possible, but I try not to let it become my priority. I mean, in the blogging community people keep telling other people not to obsess with stats and all that and I’m pretty sure that advice applies to bookstagram as well.

But please note that I’m also COMPLETELY FINE with people putting a lot of work into receiving more likes and followers. After all, it’s always nice to be rewarded. But there’s something kind of sad from seeing most people do extreme things and bend over backwards for that. People will still be fine even if they… say, don’t have 5k followers by the end of the month 😂 I love bookstagram and its community and those pretty pictures and I’m sure that we would enjoy it more if we don’t worry about numbers all the time and just try to have fun 🙂


LET’S TALK! Do you have bookstagram and if yes, have you noticed this trend lately? Or has it always been like this all along and I only just realized this? 😂 What’s your take on this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, drop me the link to your bookstagram account so I could come stalk you ♥

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55 thoughts on “Is Bookstagram Community Becoming More and More Competitive Each Day?

  1. I’ve noticed this, too. And have totally noticed it’s been harder to hang on to followers the past couple months – they’re dropping like flies. It’s hard not to care about it, but I keep reminding myself that this is a social media site and at the end of the day, NOT A BIG DEAL. Sometimes I’m tempted to do a SFS just to get more followers, but then I think, WHY!? What is the point? All it’s doing is feeding my fragile, social-media ego! It’s so dumb. I try to keep a perspective on things, but I admit it’s really hard!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know right?! It’s kind of beyond me because I personally almost never unfollow any account UNLESS they’re doing something annoying. Omggg me too! I had an extra copy of a book and was tempted to do an SFS giveaway but backed down at the last second because I didn’t want to ‘buy’ my followers. That and they’re probably going to unfollow as soon as the giveaway is over :’) true, it’s hard to not get competitive hahaha

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love seeing people’s bookish pictures but I’m never getting Instagram! I already know that I’d obsess way too much over the way my feed would look over likes/comments/followers. I feel like I can’t really have an opinion on this subject considering I don’t even have Instagram but I’d say just from viewing people’s accounts that there is a competitiveness involved, whether that’s based on how many followers people have or just the way their images look. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m also obsessed with that! Hahaha working on a beautiful & consistent feed is HARD 😅 my thoughts exactly. And sadly this competition seems to have encouraged consumerism in bookstagram. Like, people feel like they have to have funko or other expensive books to be able to compete 😦 of course not everyone is like this, but some are.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve noticed the same thing! I gain about 3 followers each day, but then I lose 5 too. It’s weird. One of my theories is the growing amount of rep searches. Those companies only choose the most popular accounts (which is understandable) so people are trying to get more followers to be able to be a rep, and that keeps getting harder with the algorithm changes.
    I’ve also noticed (at least, with me) that bookstagram used to feel like sharing pictures with my friends and chatting with them about books, but now it feels more like managing some sort of business. I still like it, but yeah, it’s changed.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oooh I’m glad to have inspired this chat with my own! This was basically a roundup of everything that annoys me on Bookstagram lately. The algorithm just sucks, not even a 10th of my followers see my posts now. But everyone has gone so overboard. It’s all about gaining followers, and it’s so annoying to see the same thing all the time. I unfollow accounts that do SFS all the time. Some random shoutouts of favourite accounts are OK, i’ve nothing against that. I delete the F4F comments (though I don’t get them much). And every single day I get “new followers” that aren’t even related to bookstagram, so I can tell they’re going to unfollow as soon as they realise I haven’t followed back. So frustrating!
    Honestly, all that paired with the competition for good photos themselves can really make me lose motivation to take my own photos, sometimes. I don’t let it get to me, because I love being in that part of the bookish community too, but y’know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Of course! Most of your posts are really inspiring 😀 It’s true! The number of likes I got per post are only 1/5 of my follower counts but I try real hard not to let it get to me hahaha I’, seriously considering the same! There’s some acc that do SFS and rep search all the time and it’s honestly getting annoying </3 I totally feel you! Sometimes I just feel tired and feel like I need a step back from all of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not part of the bookstagram bandwagon but I follow a LOT of bookstagrams, like my feed is literally ALL pretty books so I totally get what you mean. The new algorithm sucks, I can’t see accounts I love anymore and I noticed people doing the weirdest, most random things as well, like why is burning books even a thing, BOOKS ARE CHILDREN WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Also, it is so careless and annoying because people like me have a hard time acquiring the smallest amout of physical books and these people go around burning them, it’s privilege at its finest.
    Anywayn great post ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I only joined Bookstagram recently and I use it very casually, so I’ll admit haven’t noticed a lot of this behavior. I think this issue may come down to the algorithm, in some ways, though. I mean, I get that there’s an attitude in the book community that you’re supposed to do everything out of pure love of the hobby, but if you’re investing tons of time (and maybe money) into taking good photos for Instagram, I could see how it would be irritating to feel that there was no good way to people to see them–unless you get lots of likes and that pushes you up in the algorithm. I don’t think that excuses people begging other people to follow them and like their photos and getting bitter when they don’t, but it may be something Instagram should look into. People won’t want to join if they feel there’s no real way for their photos to be seen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeahhh I totally feel that myself! Like, it’s annoying when I put a lot of work and time into my pictures but only get a small number of likes 🙊🙊 hahaha but some people do take it to the extreme and the bitterness kind of makes me want to take a step back from it for a while 😛 and I agree, instagram should REALLY consider it. After all, they have to pay attention to the customers, right?

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ahhhh I know exactly what you mean. I used to have a blog Instagram, but I left because of this very reason. As I’m getting more into book photography I’ve been debating whether or not I should get a bookstagram, but the algorithm and the competitiveness are kind of driving me away from it. I remember the site being a super toxic and drama-ridden environment, and I don’t really want to return to that. :/

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have noticed this too, I have been on 240 so followers for I think like a year now, it goes up and down to that but I do sometimes go through the motions of posting. I just love sharing my book pictures I take so i’m not so bothered about stats although the anxiety in me sits on my shoulder and fills my head with ‘nobody wants to see this’, ‘look that girl has thousands you suck’.
    I just have to push that voice down. The whole Algorithm thing confuses me, I really don’t like when people just follow to be followed back, i’ve noticed that with twitter too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I totally understand what you mean! I mean, I love my feed but then when I look at other people’s accounts who have thousands of followers and all that I feel… small. But yeahh I try to keep it casual and not take it too seriously :’) exactly!! It’s annoying when people do it ANYWHERE 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I started on bookstagram. I had it before even discovering blogging or twitter. So I have definitely noticed how this algorithm has changed things. I don’t usually get too obsessive with my likes or followers, but it is kind of frustrating. When I put work into a photo to not have nearly as many likes as before, it’s discouraging. It’s also been incredibly difficult to get new followers. I don’t do any SFS because I’d rather people come to my page organically (although, I have no issue with others doing it, unless its like you said…too much). But I used to slowly build a following and now I’ve been solidly stuck at 4600 for MONTHS. It’s kind of ridiculous, to be honest. Another thing I’ve noticed are the type of photos people take. While I love and appreciate the people who put a lot of work into their photos, I feel like I NEVER see the smaller accounts that maybe just take a quick snapshot here & there. I loved those accounts too! I’ve even noticed people taking their stories really seriously, to match their theme. I’m assuming it’s a way to stand out & keep it professional, but it also seems like maybe it’s a way to get people to check out their photos?

    This algorithm really needs to go. Even TWITTER offers a way to view chronologically. IG should have that same setting.

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ahh really?! That’s awesome though hahaha it IS frustrating! I mean, I’m not there for only collecting likes and followers but it sucks when NO ONE even sees my posts because of the algorithm! I feel the same too, it’s no use to have people follow you only to unfollow in the next few days 😦 ahh my thoughts exactly! Sometimes when someone does a shoutout on their story, I find pretty accounts only to find out that I ALREADY followed them but the stupid algorithm prevents me from seeing their posts. Yeah, because stories are still shown in chronological order and it’s easier to get discovered there 🙊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great post! There’s so much truth to what you said. I’m not super active on Instagram (although that’s something I’m going to try to change in 2017) but even in the small amount of time I spend on Instagram, I’ve noticed a lot of what you’re saying. I think it’s the same kind of thing that happens on blogs, too, where people obsess over stats so much that they forget to just enjoy what they’re doing haha

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I just joined Instagram recently but haven’t really posted yet, I’ve been so busy with my blog I haven’t gotten around to taking bookish pictures yet but I’d like to. Maybe in the new year. It does look fun but I can see where it would get competitive and people would get a little miffed if they put a bunch of work in and didn’t get much attention! still I think you’re right it’s not worth going to such extremes! Interesting…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is a lot of what I’ve been thinking!! I’ve noticed a lot of SFS recently among people that I follow, but since I’ve gotten to know the bookstagrammers I don’t want to unfollow even if they do it all the time. I can definitely see how the algorithim is messing with stats/likes and causing people lots of anxiety! I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it’s so frustrating when you think you have a wonderful picture and …. very few people like it. Although I’d rather get comments than likes. It’s so much more fun to chat than see a number go up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Me too! I feel like it’s rude to unfollow hahaha buuuut Iguess I’m gonna have to do that at some points 😂 exactly my thought. Like I get why people go overboard if they don’t receive the desired number of likes but still it’s overwhelming hahaha I knooooowww receiving comment is the best ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I think you are SO spot on! First, the algorithm thing DID change the way I see posts and I do not like it AT ALL. I want to see EVERYONE’s posts, not just the ones that already have thousands of likes! Full confession: I sometimes seek out posts with fewer likes and like them, just because I hate the algorithm and WANT to see ALL the people. It’s like- if I follow them, it is because I wanted to see their posts, right? So why hide them!?

    As for the competition.. GAH, this is SO annoying. I admit, I have unfollowed a few “bigger” accounts lately because literally NOTHING they posted seemed genuine- it was all sponsored stuff, SFS, etc, and I was just so sick of it! AND since they had large followings, it was clogging my feed wayyy too much. Had to go!

    Between all the rep searches, the sponsored stuff, the random yet constant shoutouts… I get pretty irritated. Like yes, build your account, of course! Everyone likes having likes and comments and having their hard work pay off but like… there’s a good way (quality posts, interactions with followers) and a not so good way (spamming the actual hell out of people and bribing for followers bwhaha). This post is SO good, and seriously EVERYTHING I have been thinking myself lately! LOVE.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Shanon 😀 OMG that is so nice and clever and a great way to cheat the algorithm 😛 EXACTLY! Sometimes I even forget I’ve followed an account because I literally never see their posts on my feed 😦 ahh really? I knooow it turned out to be a full business account, isn’t it? Hahaha thank you so much!! So glad that you can relate as well ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Puput, Your post is always interesting. How you do that? I think you are really good observer.. I notice some people who do follow for unfollow,at first it break my heart but I learn my lesson . Now, I often refuse to follow back if they ask right away, without like my or interacting with me for several days. But I learn some people will stay even though i did not follow them back and try not to stress over stat. Totally agree about ig algorithm,i prefer the old way,not based on popular or what they think that I will like.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I completely agree with you! Ever since the new algorithm, I’ve been going on Instagram less and less because it has more negative vibes. I can see why people do want more followers and likes (doesn’t everyone?!) but the means they go to is just too far. I’ve lost so many followers, and while that’s not the happiest feeling, I’m still doing exactly the same thing. I wish people would focus on one thing: the love of books, instead of obsessing over stats. It’s not what it’s about!

    Denise | Riot Grrrl Reads

    Liked by 2 people

    • I feel the same! I haven’t posted in like 5 days because I’m too fed up with it 😦 EXACTLY! It’s understandable to some extent, but like with everything else too much is never good hahaha omg same, but yeah I try so hard not to get so worked up over follower counts 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I started Bookstgramming in August.and I’ve noticed all these things. I really only started hanging out on Bookstagram after the algorithm so I didn’t realize that some of the things haven’t always gone on. I just try not to focus on the likes and followers. I’m there to talk about books I love with people that get it. I just try to remember that. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I will admit that I’m a little too likes- and followers-driven for my own good, and that it can be very disheartening when I start noticing that… basically nobody cares about my stuff? Yesterday I saw an account that had several thousand followers for only ~40 pictures, while I struggle to stay in my first hundred, and I just don’t understand how this “popularity contest” works.

    Or I just have to admit some people have no problem buying likes and follows. And that a good part of the likes and followers I do have are paid too by people wanting to be seen by as many people as possible…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ahhh yes I feel you!! There are some accounts that have only posted a few pictures but already got hundreds of followers it doesn’t even make sense! 😂😂 but I totally get where you come from, it IS hard not to care about likes and followers, especially considering the amount of efforts we put into our account

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. I have noticed a lot of the same accounts repeatedly following me, then unfollow, and some days later, follow me again.

    But really, I think the competitiveness of followers comes from the many, MANY rep searches. Somehow, it seems to people that the follower count is taken more into consideration than the quality of the photos. Which isn’t exact true, but if I was a business and had to chose between one gorgeous account with few followers, and another gorgeous account with a lot of followers, it would make sense to pick the one who could give me most exposure. That is after all, what repping is for.

    I rarely participate in shoutouts myself, but i do like the story shoutouts. I think it’s a great way to find new accounts.

    As for me? I’m bookishaddicted on instagram. Feel free to holla at me someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG YES! I’m almost sick of rep searches because it’s just not that fun to look at </3 plus people become more and more completitive as a consequence! But yeah it makes sense if I have a business I'd also pick the account with more followers for better exposure haha me too! I like story shoutout ahaha and I often do random shoutout for accounts I love just because 😛 yayyy I checked out and followed you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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