When one thinks of social media, they do not often also think of the immense power that it has to bring old fashions and innovations back into style. This is a global platform that allows for a place for every possible innovation and trend there is; every niche and every revolution has its place in the realm of social media. But how deep do those places go? Are they ever really below surface level for niche respectives? For the most part, yes. There is nearly always a sizable group on global platforms, even for niches. But what about classic books? What hope (if any) is there of social media reviving an interest in the beloved stories in classic literature? The main difference between classic books and other niches is that many people argue that classic books are well outdated, given the global movement towards a paperless world. There are simply not as many collectors of rare or classic books anymore, but can social media provide an ample selling and buying point, and a point of general interest in classic books?
Ultimately, beyond some clever digital marketing savvy via social media, there is only so much that can be achieved through social media regarding the revived love for classic literature. Social media is the digital era’s modern iteration of a traditional storefront window, in multiple ways. While consumers used to walk past storefronts and take a look in, to get an idea of what was popular at the time, or what special deals were on, modern consumers now look to social media to get the same information. And social media has, over time, become quite the virtual marketplace. This is the biggest marketplace in the world, and it has practically no exceptions or limitations. There is a niche market for everything, and through social media marketing groups and events, that niche can come out in full force with the eyes of the world firmly on its tail. Classic books are one of the smallest niches there is, in terms of original or early editions, and for this reason it is one of the most difficult to initiate and maintain online.
Whether it is utilising the top ranked provider of Instagram likes to draw attention to classic books by initiating an influx of likes and comments, or collectors going out of their way to create a social media catalogue of all their favourites in their collection, therefore drawing more attention again, the point remains the same. Social media, like it has for any other niche respective, can very realistically revive an interest in classic books – but to a point. Classic books are classics for a reason, but it is not the covers they come in or the papers you leaf through to read them, that makes them a classic. It is the stories themselves. And so, while social media definitively has an aesthetic and precious market for classic books and those who are interested in them, there is more of a focus on moving further towards a paperless world. In a paperless world, classic books will not be lost, but reconfigured to be more suitable to the way of the modern (and future) world.
And while sure, classic books are one of the most trending hashtags on Instagram, this is more to do with the aesthetic that posts of the divine copies of these books have, than the content within those books itself. At the end of the day, this is ultimately what it comes down to; that content will always be more important than the cover. Social media might make moves to help keep the love for classic books alive, but more than likely as time moves on it will begin to move more and more towards the inclination that classic books evolve to become classic stories encased in e-readers. And really, at the end of the day, what is so wrong with that? Classic bookstores and books themselves will always be available for those who really want to own them – to a point – but a more environmentally and sustainably conscious approach to classic books is far from being a negative thing. In fact, it could be just what the world needs.
Social media is the digital era’s modern iteration of advertising and marketing. In fact, these days, social media is the modern equivalent to the traditional storefront window. Through social media, people can look at what is on offer and make purchase decisions by educated consumerism. This is exactly what traditional stores used to do. In the case of reviving interest in classic books, however, there has been much debate about how much social media can help (if it can help at all). As we continue to evolve into a very much paperless world, how much room is there really for traditional books, even if they are the beloved classics? Moving on from classic books does not have to mean leaving their contents behind – in fact, e-readers and digital copies of literature throughout history are becoming more and more popular all the time. So, at the end of the day, the answer is that social media can only revive interest in classic books so much, but even at the end of that tether, the content that makes those books to beloved will still be available – and is that not the whole point of a classic?