New York Public Library Brings Classic Novels to Instagram Stories

Books can now be read on Instagram Stories
Books can now be read on Instagram Stories | Pixabay
Photo of Peter Ward
Tech Editor28 August 2018

In an effort to encourage more people to read, New York Public Library is offering classic novels in a digestible format via Instagram Stories.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of the most loved novels for both adults and children, is coming to Instagram. The New York Public Library has created Insta Novels, which will attempt to appeal to new readers through visually driven formats on the social media platform.

Alice is the first of three literary works that will be converted to Instagram Stories, the others being Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper and Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis. Each famous tale has been illustrated to fit with Instagram’s format. Well-known designer Magoz illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, while The Yellow Wallpaper will feature illustrations by Buck, and Kafka’s story will be illustrated by Cesar Pelizer.

The stories were created through a partnership with the New York ad agency Mother, and feature some interesting design elements that make the tales easier to read. Instagram Stories can be paused by holding down a finger on the screen, but that can hide any text under your digits. The New York Public Library stories have a gap at the bottom-right corner of the screen, where users can place their thumbs to pause the stories long enough to read the page. By lifting their thumb, users then move on to the next page.

It’s an impressive use of the Instagram Stories platform, with only one real drawback: users may find it difficult to halt reading the story and then find their last position in the book when they return.

The stories will all be available on the New York Public Library’s Instagram account in the coming weeks, and are accessible to everyone with an Instagram login. The organization already offers other digital options for readers. Cardholders can check out ebooks and audiobooks online using the NYPL catalog. Reading a novel on an Instagram Story, however, is another step completely.

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