The Bookstagram Powerhouse: An Exploration Into the Success of Bookstagram and the People That Run It. Week Three Interview: paperbacks.and.petals

Bookstagrammer Gabrielle, also known as @paperbacks.and.petals, lives in New Zealand and started her bookstagram journey in April 2019. What I love about Gabrielle is how inviting she and her bookstagram profile are, both visually but also in a general sense. Gabrielle as a knack for creating an environment that is welcoming and reminds of me someone that will always stay humble. Thanks so much to Gabrielle for participating this week and answering questions about the online world of bookstagram.


It’s known that the bookstagram community is one of the best to be in. Why do you think it’s been so successful and yet remains a humble environment to be in?

I think many of us are here because we’re looking to share something we love with people who understand! I don’t have any friends who read in my real life, so joining bookstagram was a way to find fellow book lovers I can connect with. I think that’s what makes us different from other instagram communities, because we genuinely enjoy what we share and it’s not about being glam and perfect. I’ve had conversations with bookstagrammers with tens of thousands of followers and they remain down to earth because we all have a shared interest and want to enjoy it with others.

An aesthetically pleasing bookstagram is something most creators aspire to have and create on their Instagram feeds. What do you think is the key to creating this? The personal touch, a great camera, a good filter, up to date and engaging content?

I think finding a style is important and sticking with it most of the time. It took me a while to find what works for me and I felt pressure that I had to mimic the aesthetic of others because those styles are popular. Eventually I went with bright, colourful shots because that’s what I like. I think it’s also important to keep trying new things and be creative, rather than just producing the same thing over and over. Make book towers, make spirals, try different props in your flatlays. That will keep people curious about where you’re going next.


“We genuinely enjoy what we share and it’s not about being glam and perfect…”


The social media world can easily become a chore, posting and sharing for others, rather than enjoying it and doing for yourself. Have you felt this happen to you before? How did you get yourself out of it?

Yes, recently in fact! I’ve barely posted because I’ve been busy with life and I just don’t have the motivation. I find it helpful to stockpile photos and prepare some captions in advance, which I save in my phone to use when my inspiration is gone. That way when I’m feeling motivated, I create and it makes up for times that I’m not in the mood.


What’s the one book you would happily become a chatterbox about to let everyone know that they need to read that book?

I know I’m ridiculously late to the party, but I just discovered Jay Kristoff and I am now obsessed with the Nevernight series! I’m also a massive fan of the two stunning novels by C.G. Drews, A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Boy Who Steals Houses. I will sing their praises proudly from every rooftop!

Walking the aisles of a bookshop is an inviting experience but we can all admit the attraction of better bargain books online can easily become the better option for our wallets. Do you have a preference or a combination of both?

I actually love the thrill of secondhand book shopping because there are serious bargains to be found out there for those who have the patience to hunt! I do buy books online though, usually because its next to impossible to buy hardcovers in New Zealand, so I have to buy them overseas.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the number of ‘likes’, especially for those who have been online for awhile and can’t seem to grow their page. What’s some advice you could tell those in that situation and feel like giving up, measuring their self-worth on likes?

I’ve found it helpful that Instagram has hidden the likes because I feel that takes the pressure off a little bit. I may know when a post bombs but at least no one else does! I think my best advice is to value quality over quantity. It’s very easy to double tap a picture but that doesn’t build friendships or make connections. Comment on people’s posts (they will often do the same in return) and reply to people’s stories. Talking to people will build your engagement and make your content visible to more people, which will increase those likes we’re all so desperate for! But at the end of the day, it’s the friends you make that are more important than a number on a screen anyway.

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What’s a post that you’re proud of?

I recently got a bigger bookshelf (my books still don’t fit!) and I spent some time decorating and arranging it, so I’ve been enjoying showing it off and making rainbow book towers in front of it! It makes a nice backdrop and I’ve even been brave enough to put myself in some of my pictures. I think my recent post about Serpent and Dove with my white dress and pearl hair clip has to be one of my faves.

Name three fellow bookstagrammers that inspire you.

@paperheartsnz (read her interview here!), @figandflowerbooks and @paperfury


Keep an eye out next week for another interview and feel free to share your own thoughts below!

All photos have been used with permission from @paperbacks.and.petals.