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Insta Novels

Insta Novels - The NYPL & Mother New York

When was the last time you read, and more importantly finished, a book? Fiction or nonfiction, digital or paperback, the chances are for many that you can’t remember. And yet we are constantly reading, constantly consuming words through the devices we carry in our pockets.

For the New York Public Library, these devices posed the greatest opportunity for they are, essentially, portable libraries. Working with Mother New York, the NYPL created Insta Novels which uses Instagram stories to bring full books, as well as short stories, to life.

They have created a digital bookshelf, and instead of disappearing after the prerequisite 24 hours, the stories are saved as Highlights. The project has replicated the way you’d usually read a physical book down to where you put your thumb and how you’d lift it to turn the page.

Insta Novels is a recognition by the NYPL that to ensure the protection of both libraries and their contents, it’s essential to go digital. The project’s purpose is to introduce the Instagram audience, a younger audience, to classical literature and more importantly, encourage them to read it. It aims to make reading accessible through a medium that is free and is already used by everyone with a smart phone.

The first book to launch was Part 1 of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Magoz. This is closely followed by the short story the Yellow Wallpaper and Franz Kafka’s the Metamorphosis. Each book has been illustrated by a different artist who already has a significant presence on Instagram. The illustrations are vibrantly graphic and update the stories brilliantly for the visually-led platform.

The question is will people read entire books on Instagram? Or is it really that this format can offer a perfect teaser to encourage the audience to go on the hunt for an actual, physical book. As the wise King says in Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, “Begin at the beginning…and go on until you come to the end: then stop.” And see for yourself.

To read the books, visit the New York Public Library’s Instagram page.

About the author

Izzy Ashton, Assistant Editor of BITE, Creativebrief

Izzy is a writer/researcher for BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She keeps abreast of the latest communication, technology and consumer news, and is responsible for conducting interviews with key agency strategists and creatives to gain insight into the most innovative global campaigns.