In a country where reading is not among the favourite pasttimes of the local population, every initiative that could incite people to grab a book and start, is to be welcomed. A special group of influencers are booktubers (described by Antònia Justícia as follows):
They are between 15 and 25 years old, lovers of both, reading and social media. They use youtube, the world’s #1 online video platform, to diffuse their passion for books. They do it before the camera, in a refreshing but critical manner, and a lot of them already sum thousands of followers.
They have got enough with a webcam, a computer and ease, a lot of ease. … they share with their followers habits, manias, games and other philias related to books. … “Video reviews provide a lot of dynamism. I am very expressive, and in this format I can express myself as I am, a thing that you cannot transmit with a blog, where there are only the words.” (May R. Ayamonte (Huelva, 1997; youtube channel) … All booktubers tend to overact. … More elaborate in his presentations is Sebas G. Mouret (Oviedo, 1996; El coleccionista de mundos). … The interaction -converse with the followers-, maintain a regularity and be original, are three of the keys to success of these online critics… there are some who begin to recognize the booktubers’ merit in the renaissance of the pleasure of reading in a generation famous for reading very little. … Two of the famost followed booktubers, Esma Verdú and May R. Ayamonte, have published a juvenile novel on a booktuber called Besos entre líneas [Kisses between the lines; English summary] that enabled them to see for themselves how hard it can be to be the object of online critique…
Spanish state TV had this piece of news on booktubers [video, 01:13 min, in Spanish].
You can find Spain’s most popular ones and their youtube channels conveniently summarized in this blogpost. Among the Catalan ones are Marta Botet (Barcelona, 2000; a TED talker; Recomanacions de llibres) and Bernat (Perduts entre llibres).
As to their real appeal, in a recent El País article on youtubers in general, Carles Geli referred the numbers of a specialized website, according to which “with their supposed beatific naturality [youtubers] hook a 66% of those aged between 18 and 55, with a medium weekly consumption of 3.5 hours…” According to this article, to be successful one needs to upload one or two videos every week. And “one needs to create a brand and diversify with books, records… One can make more money outside of youtube than inside. … From 10,000 followers upwards one begins to feel something.”
Fortunately, money-making doesn’t seem to be the first priority of booktubers. Keep on vlogging!
SOURCE: Antònia Justícia, “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, July 9, 2016, p. 4-5 [printed edition]