The InstaNovel: Your Fave New Way to Read on Instagram

August 28, 2018 | by Melissa Muñoz

When pondering the meaning of life and that age-old marketing question, what is the coolest brand on the block doing innovative new things that make you say “wow,” one can be forgiven for not skipping straight to an institution like a library. That’s about to change.

Libraries have a reputation for being stodgy and traditional, but the New York Public Library (NYPL) clearly does not fall into this category. They are doing something pretty ingenious with their social media that’s turning their followers’ downtime spent perusing Instagram Stories into dignified and respectable time well spent enriching the mind.



Yes. The NYPL is translating the classics into digital stories, or, “InstaNovels” that appeal to our visually driven nature through a gorgeous blend of literature, illustration and technology. This endeavor is aimed at making classic literature “more accessible to the masses” and creating a direct line to literature that readers can access any time, any place. Effective August 22, anyone with a phone can make their way to NYPL’s Story Highlights to read novels and short stories in full.

Here’s a little taste of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which was illustrated by Magoz (@magoz).





…The full book, short story, or novella is uploaded into Instagram “Stories,” complete with unique and engaging design elements. The Instagram-specific design includes stills and videos that mirror the unique layouts of the original works. The background is a warmer white that’s easy to read on screen, and the font is Georgia, a typeface that pays homage to the history of the written word in both print and digital (it was one of the first serif fonts ever designed for screen to make long form text more pleasing and legible).


— Angela Montefinise, NYPL


Preach! I love it.





With all it’s distractions, I usually think of the digital era as being in direct conflict with libraries and what they stand for. I’m inspired by this endeavor and how, instead of resisting a changing culture, the NYPL saw our collective obsession with screens as an opportunity instead of an obstacle.






Soon you’ll be able to catch a couple more beautifully executed and deliciously designed InstaNovels. The next ones up will be “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman illustrated by Buck (@buck_design) and The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer).



What piece of literature would you like to see animate to life? What would be at the top of your list to read as an InstaNovel? Let us know your literary wish list in the comments below.

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