The Instagram rhetoric and aesthetic of antiquarian booksellers: A case study


  • Willy Stastny Eastern Illinois University


Instagram, bookstagram, bookselling, influencers, social media, rhetoric, millennials, Gen Y


While Internet commerce (e-commerce) and social media commerce (s-commerce) have presented consumers with quicker and easier access to information and purchasing opportunities, they have posed challenges to business that rely on relational selling. The physical separation between the consumer and the business as well as the sheer number of businesses available to the consumer make it easier for consumers to make purchases on a transactional instead of relational basis. Given that antiquarian and collectible bookselling is traditionally built on relational selling strategies (e.g., cultivating customers through personal interactions, discussing customers’ collections, quoting books for sale directly to customers), the shift to transactional Internet commerce has the potential to disrupt a centuries-old business. To adapt with the technological advances and change in consumer habits, some antiquarian and collectible booksellers have taken to Instagram. This case study analyzes the visual and textual elements of Instagram posts by three antiquarian booksellers to determine the extent to which they use the social media platform to establish a brand identity and cultivate customers.




How to Cite

Stastny, W. (2021). The Instagram rhetoric and aesthetic of antiquarian booksellers: A case study. First Monday, 26(10). Retrieved from