If you know me well, then you will know that I love two things: books and Instagram. I know, they don’t really go together all that well. Or do they? The New York Public library is using Instagram to bring digital versions of their classic books to a wider audience. I should back up and say that classics are among my favorites when it comes to books. Creative consultancy Mother has helped bring the Insta Novels project to life through the social media platform’s “Stories” function, which shows images for a limited time before they disappear and the next image pops up.
The first book that was brought to the platform was Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. (Also, a favorite of mine) It was uploaded to the library’s Instagram account (@nypl) on August 22 – in two parts. Making use of Instagram’s “Highlights” feature, the digital book will remain on the library’s page for a prolonged time and will not disappear after 24 hours as other Instagram stories do. As more books are uploaded to the Instagram account over time, the project aims to turn the “Highlights” row into a digital bookshelf, allowing users to access books at any time.
I wish you could see my face right now. I’m so excited! The design of the digitized Alice Through the Looking Glass upload aims to mirror the “unique layouts” of the original book, with the addition of new stills, graphics, and videos. The text in the book is presented on a warm, white background in a Georgia font. (This is literally speaking my love language). This particular typeface was chosen to “pay homage to the written word in both print and digital”. This was one of the fonts used to make longer pieces of writing easier to read on digital screens.
A stylised page-turner has also been added. While reading, users can hold their thumb on the corner of their screen to hold a page and let go to turn the page. The spot for thumbs to be placed in the bottom-right corner of the screen is marked with an image of a blue dot that transforms on each page, like a flip book. What begins as a dot, morphs into a keyhole, an eye, a clock and more as the book continues. I’m nerding out way too much over this whole initiative. I’m not joking when I say that this is bringing several of my passions together into one digital by-product.
What books are they looking to add? Next up is The Metamorphosis, which is a novel by Franz Kafka. This is a fitting choice, according to the library, as the project was “completely transforming” the way that people looked at Instagram. I also enjoy a clever pun, so this entire initiative is warming my heart in a way that nothing else can! After that, the library intends on uploading The Yellow Wallpaper, which is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What the New York Public Library is doing is giving people the opportunity to take a modern approach to read classic literature. They get a huge thumbs up from me!