A new approach to books: Who are booktubers?

Booktubers, often known as "book nerds", are young people who share their opinions on books through video reviews posted on the Internet.

A new approach to books: Who are booktubers?
The rise of the booktubers represents a new way of thinking about literature. Photo by Anita Jankovic / Unsplash

In a casual and even funny way, the so-called booktubers get other young people, like them, interested in reading. They talk about their own experience and transmit their feelings and desires about what they have read, without giving lessons or pretending to influence anyone, just sharing the lessons that a literary work left them, says Imelda Martorell Nieto, UNAM's coordinator for the Promotion of Reading and Written Culture.

Introducing booktubers, a fresh take on reading

Booktubers generate empathy from their youth; they share their reading spontaneously in the socio-digital networks to bring them closer to books, to create a reading community. Today people read more than ever, and it is largely because of these new generations that started with Harry Potter and nowadays read Julio Cortázar.

There is a new phenomenon: the so-called reading clubs, which were created and developed as a result of the pandemic and thanks to new technologies. They are made up of 400 or 500 members, who read a book and then talk to the author. It is an event to be followed closely and comes from the booktuber logic.

It is worth mentioning that in 2020-2021 the National Chamber of the Mexican Publishing Industry reported that publishing production had a decrease in the open market of 59.3 million copies, compared to 2019 which was 82.9 million. Another fact is that by 2021 the reading population over 18 years of age increased two percent, compared to 2020, going from 41.1 to 43 percent.

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, from 2016 to 2021 the percentage of the population reading books in digital format went from 6.8 to 21.5 percent; that is, almost double in 2020, which was 12.3 percent. In addition, the books most read by Mexicans in 2021 were literature, text or university, self-improvement, and religious books.

Nearly two thousand books are produced annually with the university seal. UNAM's Central Library consists of 619,996 volumes. This collection is made up of general and specialized works. The General Directorate of Libraries has approximately one million 787,294 titles and seven million 126,584 volumes, of which 451,740 are electronic.

Options for everyone

Influential people, called YouTubers and influencers, manage to stand out on various platforms with their videos. Although some of them are not dedicated to literature, they are also beginning to publish their books in physical format in which they narrate their own life stories or fictional stories. In this regard, she considers that they are a fashion that will change.

Through social networks, people expose their daily lives and it is important that young people use this type of digital platform for reading communities and share what they have discovered, not only on a screen or on a computer, they also have to go back to bookstores and libraries to start organizing reading circles.

There are books for everyone and on any subject, from classics to contemporary, written in various genres such as narrative, fiction, chronicle, and poetry, among others. The valuable thing is to have a person who accompanies us in our reading and we make the decision.

The commemoration

According to information from Mexico's Ministry of Culture, National Book Day was instituted by presidential decree on November 6, 1979, during the government of José López Portillo. At that time, it was emphasized that education was a priority within the country's development process, being commemorated for the first time in 1980 to honor the birthday of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the greatest exponent of Mexican literature.

Its objective is to promote the impact of reading on social progress. Today it is 43 years of spreading reading with diverse artistic and cultural activities, to bring the population closer to literature in Spanish, as well as in indigenous languages.