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Meet the ‘bookstagrammer’ helping people reconnect with reading one book at a time

Mumbai-based Vidhya Thakkar creates book-related content on her website and her Instagram page @reader_viddh.

Meet the ‘bookstagrammer’ helping people reconnect with reading one book at a time

Friday April 29, 2022,

6 min Read

Having a presence on social and digital media has become necessary to climb the ladder in any professional field. Those who have built and maintained their social media presence consistently over time are more likely to taste success.

Mumbai-based Vidhya Thakkar, a book influencer and social media strategist who is better known by her Instagram name @reader_viddh, is a good example of this. Having started her ‘bookstagram’ account in May 2017, she will soon complete five successful years of building her book review brand on her own steam.

She joins YSWeekender for a chat to give a peek inside the unexplored world of book influencers. Here are the excerpts from the edited interview:

YSWeekender [YSW]: Why did you choose to enter this unusual field?

Vidhya Thakkar [VT]: I have a bachelor’s degree in mass media, with a specialisation in advertising. I also have a diploma in digital marketing, and these degrees helped me understand the future of media, and how one can shine in competitive new mediums. I’ve been blogging on my website for over seven years, and I’ve been creating book-related content for five of these. The skills I have learnt over the years have enabled me to become a freelance social media marketer as well, and I work with brands and manage their social media accounts for their marketing and promotion plans.

Setting up my ‘bookstagram’ account was an impromptu decision. I already had a blog on my website where I would pen poems and write about my life experiences. One day, while travelling, I clicked a picture with a book, and while searching for hashtags, I came across a popular one called #bookstagram. It intrigued me and I decided to research further. And that was it… I started my own ‘bookstagram’ account @reader_viddh on May 17, 2017, where I talk about books, recommend good reads, and create interesting and varied content in the book space.

Vidya Thakkar

Vidya Thakkar

YSW: Why did you feel a need to create this platform?

VT: Honestly, the platform was created for me. Back then, the express purpose of social media was to express oneself. I too wanted to express my thoughts and opinions and wanted to provide book recommendations to people. The blog was definitely more for me than for other people. Till today, I’ve stayed true to this ideal and perhaps that is why my content is appreciated. I simply say what I feel on my feed. This space is a safe one for me to feel happy and express myself without hindrance or fear.

YSW: What is the USP that sets you apart from other book influencers?

VT: I believe my USP is my ability to share honest reviews in a very simple and forthright manner. Right from day one, I have endeavoured to ensure that each and every person can connect to my reviews and make a sound buying decision based on my review. People also appreciate the simplicity of my reviews – I don’t use fancy words and I keep every review to the point.

YSW: With short-form becoming the preferred medium to consume content, how do you attract an audience?

VT: In the world of social media, trends keep changing. The one thing that ensures a steady audience is consistency. In these five years, I have only taken about ten days off in total, and that too only recently. I have also learnt that one must understand their medium and create content specifically for it. For example, Instagram is more about visual content, so the pictures are of utmost importance but people who want in-depth details prefer to visit websites and read proper reviews. So, in this medium, pictures and content are both relevant.

One also needs to be aware of their personal niche or forte. My book content is highly appreciated so I mostly stick with that, but my journaling posts also do well. When I include personal stories in my book content, those posts do better than others. This knowledge has helped me grow further.

My advice to all content creators is the same – you must have tremendous patience, be consistent about uploading your content and most importantly, never give up!

5 best marketing books

YSW: How has your journey been in the last five years?

VT: I started @reader_viddh with zero followers in 2017 and now I have over 21,000 followers. It has been a long process but a very satisfying one.

Over the years, I have also collaborated with numerous brands and celebrity authors. I have written about over 700 authors and have been associated with the biggest publishers in the country. These include the likes of Penguin India, Harper Collins, Rupa Publications, and others. I have also worked with bookstores like Crossword, Oxford Bookstore, and others, and recently was one of the official bloggers for the reputed Jaipur Literature Festival.

Being a ‘bookstagrammer allowed’ me to meet my favourite author Sudha Murthy in person and I felt elated when she said, “I hope Vidhya and reading always go well!”. I have interviewed other celebrities like Soha Ali Khan as well. It has been an incredible journey so far!

YSW: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

VT: Perhaps the biggest challenge is to stay consistent and find new things to upload every day that work within my niche, especially after I reached the 10,000-follower milestone. I felt my page had become premium and it needed to reflect that stature with quality content and engaged interaction. Another challenge is overcoming the immense amount of negativity on ‘bookstagram’, but I’ve learnt to ignore all that.

YSW: What have been your most rewarding moments so far?

VT: There have been many rewarding moments. Meeting Sudha Murthy was definitely one of them. So was winning the Orange Flower award, as well as being associated with the Born on Instagram (BOI) programme and receiving a creator frame from them. I’ve been featured on Buzzfeed India, Outlook India, Shillong Times, and a number of other publications which was a huge deal for me. I appreciate every single milestone I’ve crossed along the way and am grateful for having made such wonderful friends in this field.

YSW: Any exciting plans for the future?

VT: I’m working on lots of exciting projects with several publishing houses, but I cannot disclose too many details at the moment. I’m also happy with my choice of two mediums for content – Instagram and website, and don’t plan to expand to other platforms any time soon. I feel all content creators should have a website because it is very important to have one’s own platform to stand apart from others. It is also good to experiment with other forms of content that you enjoy. I make journaling content and have an interest in home décor and plants. For this, I collaborate with homegrown brands and promote them on social media.

As for the milestone of completing five years, I’m planning to do some giveaways and I want to continue my growth trajectory on both my chosen platforms.

Edited by Kanishk Singh