Welcome to our second Interview with a Bookstagrammer – a series of Q&As with bookstagrammers from all around the world who regularly post about all things bookish on Instagram.
This week, Meg, the owner of the wonderful Ironbridge Bookshop shares her bookstagramming journey so far. We have visited this charming bookstore a couple of times and it’s an absolute treat. Meg’s feed is colourful, inventive and packed with vintage Penguin books. She’s also the youngest bookshop owner in Britain so if you have ambitions to run your own bookish business, Meg is one to follow!
Hello from Meg!
I’m Meg Prince and I’m the owner of The Ironbridge Bookshop. I run the social media pages, primarily the Instagram as it’s the most fun! I took the shop over nearly 6 years ago when I was just 18. I had worked here since I was 13 (being paid in books for a while) and was not sure what direction my life would go as I decided not to go to university.
I spent some time travelling and while I was away, I heard the shop was being sold on. So, I got in touch with the new owner and ended up with a plan to come back to my old job in a few months. Once I had arrived back home the shop was up for sale again and I didn’t want to let it go. It was boxing day 2014 and within 24 hours I had used the rest of my savings (with a little help from my family) and I was self-employed.
How long have you been bookstagramming?
Nearly 4 years! I can’t believe it’s been that long really. The shop and my page have come a long way. I had a personal Instagram for a while which I used every now and again but wanted to expand and explore the Instagram world.
Why did you start your bookstagram?
I started Bookstagram to help move the shop forward mostly. I went on some business courses which were offered in my town for the local businesses and one of them was a social media focused course. I worked with someone who showed me the power social media had for businesses and I was hooked really. The shop had an Instagram account already, but I wasn’t sure on the best ways to interact and gauge interest.
It was a joy to discover so many other bookshops and book lovers all in one place. It has been a great source of inspiration for the shop and over the years I’ve tried to make the shop quite ‘instagramable’. A place for book lovers to meet, find some great books and tell all their friends about.
I also find it a great place to sell books. So much of my mail order and online orders are because of Instagram.
Has your account changed since you started? In what way/s?
I think it has changed over the years. I’ve tried my best to give the shop a bit of its own voice and personality, which is mostly an extension of myself. I post more regularly, checking up on the people and customers I regularly chat to and seeing what everyone has been up to/been reading. I used to edit my pictures with an app and put little designs on them, but I haven’t for a few years now. I prefer to let the picture or shop speak for itself.
What’s your favourite aspect of Bookstagram?
I just love chatting to people. I have met so many wonderful people, many I now call friends all because of bookstagram. It’s quite amazing that so many people from all walks of life, from all over the world have come together and bonded over the pure love of books. Every day I learn something new from a post or a picture. It’s also the biggest reason my tbr pile never gets any shorter!
How do you plan your feed? Do you use any particular editing tools or themes?
I don’t plan my feed much really. I usually come up with the post or subject on the spot and roll with it. I just try to keep it bright and positive as much as possible. I try to keep up with cultural events and goings on over the world but try not to get to political. Some posts I plan, usually to do with a holiday or seasonal event and I will make a little design or video out of books as a change.
What are your top tips for new bookstagrammers?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Bookstagram is a great place to get new book recommendations and to get to know one another. I find that most people on their love to interact and help each other along. Don’t worry too much about likes. It takes time to build up Bookstagram so take your time and don’t get disheartened.
What are your bookish goals for the future? Are you working on any projects at the moment?
I must admit I haven’t got too many plans at the moment. Things have slowed down a bit this year and I’ve focused mostly on having the shop open as much as possible. But you never know what’s around the corner so watch this space!
Who are your favourite authors/books?
Some of my favourite authors are:
- Maya Angelou
- Stephen King
- Haruki Murakami
- Judith Kerr – her books continue to make me smile at 24 years old!
- Tove Jansson
- Ta-Nehisi Coates for his black panther comics and writings on race.
A few of my favourite books are:
- Paul Kalanithi – When Breath Becomes Air. A fantastic medical memoir which left me feeling like a friend of the author by the end. It was also what made me obsessed with medical memoirs, they are my go-to genre!
- Shirley Jackson – We Have Always Lived in a Castle.
- Michelle Obama – Becoming
- George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my all-time favourite books and I now have over 35 different editions of the books…
- Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaimans Good Omens and Terry Pratchetts Mort.
- Tomi Adeyemi – Child of Blood and Bone.
I could go on for a while….
Thank you to Meg for taking the time to answer our questions. It goes without saying that we recommend following her bookstagram account and visiting the shop, which is an absolute must for Penguin book collectors (you can also buy online – just DM Meg via Instagram or Facebook). If you have specific book requests Meg will also keep an eye out for you as stock comes in. We can’t wait to make another trip to Ironbridge!
If you’re looking for more bookstagram inspiration you might also enjoy:
- Interview with a Bookstagrammer – Oonagh Moon
- Bookstagram Post Ideas for Growing Your Account
- Ways to Become a Bookstagram Influencer