The New York Public Library has recently started posting digital versions of classic books and accompanying animations to its Instagram stories. Collectively entitled “The Insta Novels,” this project is a part of the library’s new initiative to use social media to get the millennial generation more into reading.
Those who follow NYPL can scroll through animated visuals and read texts like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland exactly as if they were using an e-reader. New York-based advertising agency Mother was enlisted to create the branding for the campaign, with individual source artists and designers providing the vibrant imagery that accompanies each book.
According to a statement from both NYPL and Mother, the objective of the project is to make some of the world’s best-known literature more accessible to the modern masses, many of whom are often consumed by the other digital content found on these social media platforms.
If you log on to the NYPL Instagram page right now, you’ll find Alice in Wonderland in two parts, with visuals conceived of by designer Magoz. At first, we see blonde Alice wearing a blue dress and walking towards a psychedelic eye that twists and turns into a moving clock. That imagery then melts away into the book’s first chapter, “Down the Rabbit Hole.”
On the bottom right of each page, there’s a space for the reader to put their thumb. Upon doing so, the Instagram story is paused, allowing everyone to read comfortably and at their own pace. “Instagram unknowingly created the perfect bookshelf for this new kind of online novel,” says Corinna Falusi, Mother’s Chief Creative Officer. “From the way you turn the pages to where you rest your thumb while reading, the experience is already unmistakably like reading a paperback novel.”
The typeface being used on these novels is “Georgia,” mainly because it was one of the first serif fonts to ever be designed for the ease of reading digital text for leisure. The backgrounds behind the text glow a warm white, as opposed to the usual blue-white of most smartphone screens. This makes it easier on the eyes no matter what time of day you’re reading!
Instagram stories can typically only be viewed for 24 hours after being uploaded. But thanks to the recent addition of the “Highlights” feature, NYPL is able to leave the novels up on their reel for as long as they so wish. Two more “Insta Novels” are to be released by NYPL over the course of the next few months. Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis will feature graphics by César Pelizer, while Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper will be illustrated by designer Buck. These designers were found via their already significant contributions to social media network. This new project is a great way to market both their work and the aims of the NYPL.
NYPL also hopes that their Insta Novel readers will download their e-book app SimplyE in order to continue reading more stories and educating themselves in the art of literature!