The New York Public Library today launched a new initiative it's calling "Insta Novels," in which it will post classic novels and short stories as Instagram Stories. You won't need a NYPL card or have to live nearby to gain access to Insta Novels as the feature will be available to anyone who has an Instagram account (via The Wall Street Journal).

NYPL Insta Novels
To start off, the library is offering Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," and plans to next highlight Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." The platform was built to "promote reading in general," as well as expand the brand recognition of the NYPL and its ability to "adapt to the digital era."

“We want people to understand that libraries aren’t just those brick-and-mortar places full of dusty books,” said Christopher Platt, the NYPL’s chief branch library officer.

Specifically, these novels and stories will be housed on the NYPL's Instagram page as Story Highlights. The library is dividing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland up in multiple parts, and Part 1 is available to read today. Once you open up the "Alice Part 1" story, the library has created an area on the page to rest your thumb on the screen.

The way Instagram Stories work is that when you place a finger on the story, it pauses as long as you continue to interact with it. So, in order to ensure you can read a full page without the story progressing at a fast speed, you can rest your thumb on the screen, and then lift it to turn the page. Alice Part 1 extends to page 83 and the sixth chapter of Lewis Carroll's novel, and Part 2 will be added as a Story Highlight tomorrow.

Unlike stories posted to the central area of Instagram, which disappear after 24 hours, stories that you add to your "Highlights" on your account page are permanent. This means that those reading Insta Novels don't have to worry about finishing the books in under a day, although there doesn't appear to be any way to save your progress if you don't finish the story in one sitting.

The library worked with advertising agency Mother in New York to create Insta Novels, with Mother chief creative officer Corinna Falusi stating that the experience is "unmistakably like reading a paperback novel."

Top Rated Comments

Saturnine Avatar
52 months ago
I understand and respect what they’re trying to do here but Instagram is just the wrong tool for the job.

There are surely better ways to use Instagram to promote reading and literacy. Surely nobody is going to be reading an entire book on there given the difficulty of doing so.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamjackson Avatar
52 months ago
Valiant effort. Pretty stupid though. ePub / eBook, PDF, hard copy, Kindle has been around for so long now. I really can't think of any good reason to do this other than "going to where the kids' eyeballs are" but I feel bad for the social media expert at NYPL who has to post these.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
edgonzalez32 Avatar
52 months ago
Well, I think this is cool. It's obviously a start and I look forward to see how else they use IG to promote.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
supremedesigner Avatar
52 months ago
Probably not accessible to screenreader...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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