I often feel the need to defend my book-blogging hobby in the face of questions like: ‘Why do you take photos of books?’ and ‘Why don’t you just read them?’ And to those people I want to say:

Of course I want to read books, but I don’t JUST want to read books.

So here are the top 3 reasons I take photos of my books, told with help from the ever quotable Cassandra Clare.

1-47911. “We live & breathe words”

I created Babbling Books in May 2015 after my friend Charlee convinced me I was missing out on a whole ‘bookish’ sub culture that existed right under my nose. As she well knew I’ve been an avid reader since I could read story books on my own, and that passion has never abated. So discovering the Bookstagram community felt like coming home, now I have place to talk about all the books I am passionate about every day, not just once a month at my local bookclub.

Through connecting with people I’ve also discovered there are overlapping communities of booklovers all over the internet. Everywhere I look there are bookworms who ‘live and breathe words’ like I do. Some of my favourites are:

-Booklr (babbling–books) for photo inspiration and to indulge my inner Harry Potter fangirl.
– Twitter (babblingbookbox) for bookish news, and connecting with authors and publishers.
– Goodreads (Tamsien West) for posting star ratings, reviews, recording my book ‘shopping list’ and participating in online book clubs
– Booktube (Coming soon) currently a place for me to watch reviews and discussions, and be inspired by the passion of others.

af819da9bb88c0bef2cd49cc5e1222902. “It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.”

One of my favourite things about sharing book photos and reviews is all the incredible friends I have made from all over the world. It is a joy to connect with inspiring, encouraging & sometimes challenging people. They motivate me through reading slumps, blow me away with excellent book recommendations, press me to read outside my comfort zone, and enrich my world far more than I ever could have anticipated. There are no greater friendships than those forged through shared experience, and the stories we share are just as important.

Though there are too many amazing women for me list them all, here are a few of the ladies who have most supported and influenced me:


Only the Weak Minded3. “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”

To me, it’s not just about taking photos of books, it’s about sharing stories on pages and the stories in our hearts. It has been said that readers live a thousand lives, and I think that truth is only amplified when shared with friends.

I read to change my world and to confirm it. I read to experience joy, fear, sadness, love and hope. I read to broaden my horizons and to feel at home. I read. But I do not read alone, and I hope that you will continue to read with me.

So tell me, why do you take photos of books?

Tamsien - Babbling Books
Reader, blogger, photographer with perpetually itchy feet. Host of Babbling Books' Readalongs and curator of a very eclectic Instagram account.


  1. I truly went ‘yaaaay!!!’ when I read that ‘coming soon’ where the name of your YouTube channel should have been. I declare myself a fan of that channel since this very moment.

    Also, the main reason for me to be part of bookstagram is to share thoughts and ideas with my fellow avid readers. Also, to discover new authors and books, and hear/read what some people think about the books I like/don’t like.

    I don’t have any avid readers around me in real life, and for most of the people I know, I am the very rare kind of person who loves reading. While I actually find it funny every time someone goes all ‘woow’ when they find out I usually read between 3 to 5 books in a month (and I think to myself that is nothing in comparison to others who read way more than 5 a month,) I also never have the chance to discuss or talk about the books I read. That, until bookstagram. And for me, it felt like having found home, too.

    I take pictures because I want to use the books I’ve read or want to read as props to share my thoughts, be it on said books or on other topics. I’ve discovered so many new amazing books through people sharing their thoughts and feelings on this or that book/author, that it feels right to put my own 5 cents into that great pool of bookish wisdom.

    1. Thanks for commenting Tiss! Always great to hear your feedback! It’s so true that it’s hard to have no friends nearby who are passionate about books and willing to get excited about cover reveals or gush about their latest and greatest reads. I’m so lucky to have found a local book club where I have met quite a few wonderful readers, but we only meet once a month! Luckily now I have all my insta-friends in my hand any time of the day (or sometimes weird hours of the night!!).

      Can’t wait to share my next book-ish adventures with you! xx

  2. The title caught my attention at once. What a lovely blog post!

    It was actually quite an accident that I discovered the bookcommunity on Instagram. I wasn’t even on Instagram that much before I was required by my job (I work with social media) to “learn how to use it”. One of my colleagues started a makeup account, and I decided I wanted to do the theme thing too. My main interests are books and food, and since books seemed like the least time-consuming subject, I went for that!

    I didn’t expect to get so invested in the community at all, but after just a few weeks I started to make friends and it really fuelled my love for reading. I haven’t had anyone to share books with since high school and here were LOADS of bookworms to discuss with. I agree with Tiss that it felt like having found a home. So I guess that even though I started taking the pictures for work, I continue with it because it enriches my world through all the nice people I’ve gotten to know. They challenge me to read more than I would on my own, and inspire me to start on projects I would have put off. And that makes me very, very happy 🙂

    1. Oh Vy, your comment makes my heart sing! I too have had hardly anyone to share my passion for reading with, and even in high school I don’t think anyone understood my love of reading like the bookworms I have met on instagram. I definitely feel too like my love of books has been fueled by the community. I have been reading more, writing more in-depth reviews and really THINKING about the books I am consuming.

      I’m, like you, inspired to take up my own extra projects, and your literary lipbalms are just the cutest idea! Keep an eye out for the next newsletter, there will be a sneak peek at my first book-ish merch!

      Happy reading, and thanks for sharing!

      1. Aww yes, having book friends is the best thing! They know what gifts to get you without you having to write a wishlist, you can borrow books from eachother, argue over books versus movies together and so on… I don’t really think I knew how much it impacted my reading before I discovered bookstagram.

        Thank you so much and I look forward to the sneak peak!

  3. It’s hard to keep up with everything, but I love #bookstagram and seeing pretty book photos! Other people’s hobbies seem strange when you don’t share them, I guess!

    1. That’s so true! I have a friend’s boyfriend who loves fishing and unless I could sit with a book while waiting for a fish to bite I couldn’t think of anything more dull, but for him it’s the best way to spend his time. Passion is a funny thing!

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