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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Scrolling Through Stories

C. Hyder
Just as people scroll through “TikTok stories”, books have become the same deal. Now it’s all about the current trends and less about the beauty of writing.

The digital age, marked by the proliferation of social media platforms, has redefined the way literature is consumed, produced, and perceived, effectively transforming books into a form of fast fashion. 

Just as fast fashion garments cycle through trends at breakneck speed, books in the digital era face a similar fate, with stories and narratives being churned out, consumed, and discarded at an unprecedented rate.

Moreover, social media influencers and content creators have leveraged their platforms to promote books and reading materials, often emphasizing aesthetics and trends over substance and depth within their novels. 

The curated “#bookstagram” culture, characterized by stylized photos, trending titles, and influencer endorsements, parallels the fashion industry’s emphasis on visual appeal and brand recognition.

Books are no longer just literary works but have become accessories, status symbols, and lifestyle statements, perpetuating a culture where consumption and visibility overshadow literary merit and intellectual engagement.  

Social media platforms, like BookTok, have created an environment where the focus has shifted from crafting meticulously written novels to producing more books at a faster rate. 

Writers, under the pressure of staying relevant and visible on these platforms, are driven to churn out books at an accelerated pace, akin to the rapid turnover in fast fashion industries.

The obsession with trends and tropes is particularly pronounced in the romance genre. Writers, driven by the need to conform to popular themes circulating on platforms like BookTok, prioritize adherence to formulaic plots rather than developing intricate and unique narratives. 

This approach compromises the originality and depth of their works, as the pursuit of trends often leads to the neglect of genuine storytelling.

This emphasis on following trends compromises the artistic integrity and originality of the novels, as writers prioritize meeting audience expectations rather than pushing creative boundaries.

The homogeneity of book covers has become a hallmark of the fast fashion influence on literature. Authors and publishers, influenced by social media trends, tend to adopt a standardized approach to cover design. 

This results in a sea of indistinguishable covers, lacking the uniqueness and artistic diversity that once defined the world of book cover design.

The pressure to conform to social media trends also extends to the marketing strategies employed by writers and publishers. The focus on marketability often overshadows the emphasis on the literary merit of the works. 

Writers, motivated by the desire for visibility and sales, prioritize creating content that aligns with popular themes rather than focusing on the nuanced development of their novels.

The algorithm-driven recommendation systems prevalent on social media platforms contribute to the homogenization of literary tastes and preferences, mirroring the fast fashion industry’s tendency to dictate trends and consumer choices. 

Readers often face repetitive themes, genres, and narratives, limiting exposure to diverse voices, perspectives, and genres. This narrowing of literary consumption patterns diminishes the richness and diversity of the literary landscape, fostering a culture where conformity and predictability overshadow innovation and experimentation.  

The ephemeral nature of social media content, characterized by its transient nature and fleeting relevance, permeates the literary world, encouraging authors and publishers to prioritize quantity over quality. 

Serialized novels, episodic storytelling, and cliffhanger endings cater to audiences’ desire for instant gratification, sacrificing narrative depth, character development, and thematic complexity. 

This shift towards disposable literature, characterized by its fleeting impact and transient relevance, resonates with the fast fashion industry’s emphasis on disposable garments and ephemeral trends.

The emphasis on instant gratification, visual appeal, and viral potential has reshaped the literary landscape, challenging traditional notions of authorship, readership, and literary merit.

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