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Article

BookTubers as Multimodal Reading Influencers: An Analysis of Subscriber Interactions

Faculty of Education, University of Alicante, 03690 Alicante, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2021, 5(7), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5070039
Received: 3 May 2021 / Revised: 10 July 2021 / Accepted: 14 July 2021 / Published: 16 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of MTI in 2021)

Abstract

:
The objective of the study was to learn about the relationships between BookTubers and their subscribers by focusing on the comments left by viewers of the audio-visual literary reviews. We also examined whether viewer-BookTuber relationships resulted in the promotion of reading. A mixed qualitative-quantitative methodology was followed, including a descriptive analysis of contents and a case study. The main tools used were MAXQDA to process the qualitative data and Excel to obtain the quantitative data. The sample was a non-random selection of four BookTubers channels, taking into account both their impact and gender equality (two female and two male BookTubers). The categorization was conducted based on Cultural Studies and Reception Aesthetics. A total of eight videos (four reviews and four Book Hauls) were selected and 100 comments on each were analyzed, giving rise to four categories. The results indicated that in terms of content decoding, close relationships were established among community members, between both consumers and producers. In addition, message acceptance took place and a certain relationship was found between the BookTuber’s work and the promotion of reading. BookTubers were therefore identified as multimodal influencers.

1. Introduction

It is undoubtable that current social networks play a key role in new forms of communication, especially among young people [1]. In addition, it is possible to create learning communities, allowing members to interact and exchange questions, comments and ideas on a specific topic [2].
Young people have irrupted in the world of book reading as voices of authority. They sometimes even engage in tasks that once belonged to adults (literary critics) and are adding “new” canons to the literary horizon [3]. The possibility of promoting Children’s and Youth Literature (CYL) through social networks seems interesting to us [4]. The study was centered on YouTube, a social network that facilitates various types of multimedia exchanges and on a specific type of YouTuber: the BookTubers. These clusters of new “literary critics” are attracting large numbers of visits on the Web so it is interesting to observe the exchanges taking place in the contents they are creating and publishing [5]. BookTubers are consumer-producers who share their readings in the form of audio-visual narratives uploaded to their own channels and who interact with followers in the comments section. They represent new “literary critics”: a literary criticism 2.0 that is attracting large quantities of Internet visits. In the field of education, they are simulating teacher roles to the extent that they are promoting reading, albeit informally [6], as a new form of social reading [7] (and as a positive habit [8]).
The changes are tangible regarding young people’s reading habits and written production [9]. In fact, Lluch [10] points to the fact that new figures are emerging as reading “influencers” [11,12,13], who are replacing traditional channels of reading promotion, and the Internet representing a new playing field for reading experiments and dissemination.
As far as dissemination is concerned, we consider that BookTubers videos seek, by using proximity of language and the different terminology they use, to reach as many views and subscribers as possible. As a result of young people’s “empowerment” [14] as literary judges, Lluch [10] argues that reading has, for its part, been socialized and transformed into a constant conversation. This turns social networks into information exchange hubs. Such social reading takes place on virtual platforms, where a number of communities are configured around various forms of exchanges, sharing comments, tags and even books or readings [7]. In fact, as Shang et al. [15] point out, incorporating Web 2.0 into education provides students’ learning processes with a more social nature; the processes become more dynamic and personal and education acquires creative, participatory and socializing characteristics [16]. This reading promotion occurs beyond classrooms and new concepts related to CYL can be found on the Internet, such as CYL 2.0 [17].
The evolution of Transmedia Storytelling from Jenkins’ initial approaches [18] to Scolari’s latest analysis [19] shows that the development of digital platforms generates new forms of web interactions. BookTubers can be identified as yet another model of prosumers [20] and the phenomenon has attracted growing interest over the last five years. A specific lexicon is emerging which describes a number of new audio-visual reading practices and they include the following: Bookshelf tour, Book challenge, Book haul, Book tag, Book talk, Review, Top, Wishlist and Wrap up [21]. BookTubers propose a very wide range of videos and it is possible to apply the classification criteria that was previously used for reading blogs [22].
However, the focus of our research was on receivers and how they interpret the messages. Logically, a BookTuber’s fame is based on a key component: the subscriber. One without the other would be meaningless. Therefore, by adopting a Culture Studies approach, we centered on how BookTubers channel subscribers receive media content and the reactions they manifest through the comments they post. We considered this population to be an active one [23,24] and believed that their narratives would allow us to better understand the range of content evaluations.
Originally, messages produced by traditional media were mostly hegemonic, as they supported an elitist ideology [25]. These latter authors do attach some importance to the message’s production, but they focus mainly on how recipients interpret the contents of the message [26]. Obviously, assessing the receivers’ interpretation maturity is essential. Based on Sanesteban [27], a work without a reader can be understood only as a theoretical construction. Therefore, we must bear in mind that decoding a narrative, in this case an audio-visual one, can result in as many interpretations as consumers. Therefore, it is necessary to limit this variety, arranging the interpretations into common categories thus reducing the complexity of the analysis. In addition, in our study, not only did we have to consider the receiver’s interpretation, but we also had to assess how it was transmitted over the platform: the narrative was virtual and could be reinforced by some of the platform’s resources [28].
In this manner, Palmer and Hafen [29], in a study of a sample of German teenagers, proposed a decoding of their reading of an American fiction series. They established the following classification:
  • Naive acceptance: Recipients accept what is shown in the medium as facts, without distinguishing between text and reality.
  • Sophisticated acceptance: In this case, receivers accept what is shown in the program, but on their own terms.
  • Sophisticated rejection: Receivers do not accept the program’s message, disputing the contents based on their own lives.
  • Deconstruction: Receivers are fully conscious that the program is a manufactured product.
Moreover, Horton and Wohl [30,31] introduce the term Parasocial Interaction (PSI) to describe the relationship between the message’s recipient and emitter. The term refers to drivers’ or media presenters’ mode of action, adapting their method of acting to an anticipated and target audience so that this audience feels integrated. It is very common for viewers to believe that their relationship with the public figure is immediate, close and reciprocal [32]. Nevertheless, these qualities may be illusory and non-reciprocal. This relationship can apply to social networks [33].
In addition, viewers establish various forms of links with the personality. We can first cite affinity and similarity, which are variables that refer to the elements that viewers feel they share with the personality. Attachment is the possibility that the receiver feels romantically or sexually attracted to the figure, while imitation addresses the teacher–apprentice relationship established between emitters and receivers, within which student-spectators sometimes perform self-assessments of their learning [34,35,36].
Finally, Hoffner and Buchanan [37] describe wishful identification as the audience member’s desire to be similar to the media content’s protagonist. We observe the following:
“a certain degree of similarity to the character seems to promote a greater desire to resemble him or her, possibly because these similarities show to the viewer that it is possible and appropriate to be even more like the character”.
[38]
Based on all the above, we started from the theoretical premises regarding message interpretation and how consumers and producers relate to each other and developed a series of codes specific to this study to analyze BookTubers. From the emitter perspective, we considered that the BookTubers’ videos sought, through language proximity and the diverse terminology used, to reach the largest possible number of subscribers.
We thus centered the comment analysis on the classification proposed by Palmer and Hafen [29] and made up of the categories mentioned above: naive acceptance, sophisticated acceptance, sophisticated rejection, and deconstruction. As far as the relationship between consumers and producers is concerned, we also took comment analyses as our departure point to establish the existence or nonexistence of PSI [30,31]: affinity and similarity, attachment, resemblance, and wishful identification [37]. Finally, we aimed at establishing what type of relationship existed between the subscribers of various BookTubers channels and the emitters of audio-visual content.
The general objective was to analyze the consumers’ reception of the message and define the relationships established between consumers and producers, while also uncovering any possible links suggesting that BookTubers promoted reading. The starting research questions were as follows: (1) What types of comments do subscribers make? (2) What subscriber reading takes place that is related to the video content? (3) What type of links emerge between the consumer and the producer? (4) How is video content consumption linked to reading? These questions resulted in the following specific objectives:
(a)
Describe the types of comments found in the BookTubers videos analyzed;
(b)
Assess the type of reading consumers engage in relating to the content of BookTubers videos analyzed;
(c)
Analyze the relationship between the BookTuber (prosumer) and the subscriber (consumer) of the videos analyzed;
(d)
Analyse the interest shown by subscribers in reading the works referenced by BookTubers analyzed.
To fulfil these objectives, we performed a categorization and an analysis of comments provided by subscribers in the various BookTubers channels. We thus applied a mixed methodology where qualitative and quantitative techniques converged: content analysis and a case study.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Corpus Analysed

The basis of our research focuses on the videos openly available in different YouTube channels in Spanish [39] as a new source of reading influence. The typology and quantity of these videos are constantly on the rise, reflecting the growing interest of teenage readers. The phenomenon has also attracted rising academic critical attention [40] based on different perspectives. A methodology was elaborated and designed specifically for this study. It focuses on examining interactions in several videos that can be considered as notable examples of the Internet’s reading promotion dynamics.
Our sample was four major BookTubers’ channels determined by number of followers that focused on Children’s and Youth Literature in Spanish. The channels belong to two female BookTubers and two male BookTubers: Claudia Ramírez, “Clau read books” (437,584 followers); Fatima Orozco, “Las palabras de Fa” (358,696 followers); Javier Ruescas (285,696 followers), and Sebastián García Mouret, “El Coleccionista de Mundos” (247,398 followers). The data analysis was performed between May and June 2019 although a follow-up was also performed later to confirm the trends. Two videos were selected per BookTuber: Book Haul, which is a common practice in which the latest readings are presented; and an audio-visual review, which is a prototypical video category. We proceeded to analyze the comments that presented the greatest relevance and resulted in the most community interactions (the platform allows for filtering of the comments’ popularity according to the number of replicas or likes): a total of 800 was achieved (100 comments per video). A mixed methodology followed. The qualitative analysis was performed using the MAXQDA 2018 edition software to analyze categories and the quantitative study was conducted with the help of Microsoft Excel 2019.
We distributed the analyzed videos by YouTuber gender, differentiating between “Female BookTubers” and “Male BookTubers”. The June 2019 data were as follows:
The BookTubers videos created by the two women were analyzed first:
The following videos of the two male BookTubers were then compared:

2.2. Methodology

We considered that content analysis was valid since the technique enables the examination of the nature of the discourse. In addition, it allows analysis and the quantification of the means of human communication and has gained great recognition in scientific-academic circles [41]. Seeking to achieve the reliability needed in this study, we received the help of two researchers for the collection of information and its analysis. This allowed us to apply the triangulation of researchers. The purpose sought was to remove all possible sources of invalidity as well as to reduce biases. Some training took place prior to coding: a comparison was made between the coding results of two videos. On that basis, we analyzed the results and proceeded to code the respective videos.
The selected population was mainly Spanish language BookTubers and the sample included members of that community [42] and the extent of their impact depending on the number of followers. We selected two videos per BookTuber included in the sample: a Book Haul and a Review, despite other videos having attracted more views. We did not establish a quality criterion for the books reviewed because the focus of our interest was subscribers’ reception. We analyzed 800 comments (100 comments per video). To narrow down the total number of comments, we began with an exploratory analysis of the platform resulting in the selection of 100 comments, which, from an algorithmic viewpoint on YouTube, presented the greatest relevance and resulted in the largest number of interactions in the community.
We subsequently established an ad hoc map of categories. It was supported on a variety of theoretical contributions [23,25,29,30,37,38] in the absence of models specifically aimed at our study object. Thus, for instance, Hoffner and Buchanan [37] focus on the attributes of fictional television characters but there are some elements that we were able to apply in our study, especially regarding the type of relationship with the emitter. Finally, our proposal for categorization included four categories with their respective subcategories (15 in total).
1. Reading or Intention to Read
(a)
Reading: Shows comments from subscribers who have already read the reviewed book or a recommended book;
(b)
Intention to read: The consumer takes the decision to read thanks to the content of the video;
(c)
Purchase or purchase intention: Following the prosumer’s recommendations, the user makes a purchasing decision or intends to purchase in the future;
(d)
Recommendation: Subscribers who post reading recommendations addressed both to the BookTuber and to other users.
2. Subscriber Interpretation
(a)
Naive acceptance: The recipient accepts what is shown in the medium as facts, without distinguishing between text and reality;
(b)
Sophisticated acceptance: In this case, the receiver accepts what is shown in the program, but on its own terms;
(c)
Sophisticated rejection: The receiver does not accept the program’s message, disputing it based on facts from her/his own life;
(d)
Deconstruction: The receiver is fully conscious that the product is manufactured.
3. Comment Topic
(a)
Comment related to the video: The subscriber values elements of the video, such as the following: form of recording, setting or decor, definition of video, editing, etc.;
(b)
Comment related to the BookTuber: The user values characteristics related to the producer, such as the following: clothing, appearance, hairstyle, method of communicating, etc.
4. Type of Relationship with the Emitter
(a)
Wishful identification: In this category, we looked for comments revealing the consumer’s desire to be similar to the BookTuber;
(b)
Imitation: In relation to this code, we looked for comments revealing the consumer’s imitation of the personality’s performances, including the purchase or consumption of books;
(c)
Attachment: A search was performed for opinions that explicitly suggested some romantic/sexual attraction to the BookTuber, including signs of affection;
(d)
Affinity or similarity: Special connections or points of agreement with BookTuber that were valued by users;
(e)
Parasocial Interaction (PSI): In this section, we sought to establish the signs of a close relationship between users and BookTuber. The emphasis was on assessing the degree of trust reflected in the comments (calling the prosumer by name, language used, etc.).

3. Results

3.1. Global Results

The comments from the eight videos were analyzed based on the following: the intention to read; the subscriber’s interpretation of the video; and its typology with respect to the content, i.e., comments on the video, the video’s protagonist or the type of relationship with the emitter. Concerning the interpretation of the interactions and as a preview of other analyses, the results revealed that a majority showed sophisticated acceptance. Overall, this coding accounted for approximately 83% of the total; deconstruction 2.5%, sophisticated rejection 12%, and naive acceptance 1.8%. Regarding the Book Haul, the overall result did not considerably vary: 72.6%, 2.8%, 22.3% and 2.1%, respectively. This initial data confirms the videos’ success, supported by the number of views. Although we were not intending to produce a segregated analysis of the video protagonists according to sex, we organized the results into two different categories.

3.2. Influence of The Female BookTubers

According to the categorization above, the following results were found for the four videos starring women. The most significant results are highlighted in the Table 1.
Regarding the interactions between the consumers and both producers, one can notably observe the high percentage of parasocial interaction (PSI) with a total of 287 categorizations out of a total of 783 (36.65%). The message receiver perceived some proximity with the emitter, creating illusions of friendship and reciprocity that, generally, are not reciprocated through a comment in return.
Addressing the BookTuber directly by her simple name reveals a feeling of proximity. What is also notable are the subscribers’ intentions to read, which are visible in their comments. As shown, 103 categorizations out of 783 (13.15%) show the influence of the BookTuber’s message, which is a characteristic related to the growing phenomenon of social reading. Other results show us that several community members manifest an intention to read or to resume their reading habits.
Regarding the interpretations made by subscribers of the video content, sophisticated acceptance corresponded to 101 categorizations out of a total of 783 (12.90%), reflecting the message’s acceptance. Although they accept the message’s content, they are aware that it is a manufactured product.

3.3. Influence of BookTubers

Concerning male BookTubers discourse reception, as can be observed in the Table 2, the categorizations resulting from the comment analysis produced similar results.
The results follow the same trend as that of the female BookTuber data. Parasocial interaction accounted for 267 examples of a total of 707 (37.77%), i.e., very similar comment examples and data to that in the table above were obtained.
Again, the consumers’ feelings of proximity to the video message allow them to address the BookTuber in a peculiar manner, including examples of direct questions that await an answer.
As far as reading or intention to read is concerned, 161 categorizations were obtained out of 707 (22.77%). A quarter of all commentaries demonstrated how successful the BookTuber was at promoting reading.
Finally, male BookTubers also received a high percentage of sophisticated acceptance, with up to 132 categorizations of the total of 707 (18.67%). Naturally, as in the case of female BookTubers, subscribers who consumed this type of content were aware that the video was created for a purpose, although other underlying intentions may have been overlooked.

3.4. Analysis of the Global Categories

3.4.1. Reading or Intention to Read

In line with the study’s main objective, we sought to verify any reading continuity or intention to read deriving from the relationships between BookTubers and their subscribers. We found that many comments, since the contents of the videos themselves (four reviews and four Book Hauls), were about reading and so the messages flowing from subscribers tended to be related to the consumption of the product they saw in the videos. In accordance with Lluch [10], we observed how the prosumer adopted the role that used to belong to adults as literary critics and succeeding, through their transmedia narrative, in convincing users to start reading a book. In addition, the intentions, which are gathered from the comments, of purchasing books could also be interpreted as intentions to read. BookTubers and their relationship with subscribers eliminate traditional mediator roles [6], making exchanges much more dynamic. While there is indeed talk of the disappearance of small shops to the benefit of virtual purchasing, we do also observe the existence of bricks and mortar retail consumers. We notably witnessed comments that reflected exchanges of opinions between the members of the cluster and even recommendations [43] by consumers addressed to the BookTubers themselves. YouTube is an information exchange hub that presents bidirectional exchanges of opinions and readings [7].

3.4.2. Interpretations

The second category was based on subscribers’ interpretation of the message emitted by BookTubers. According to the data obtained, the largest number of comments were linked to sophisticated acceptance: Users agreed with the emitted message and placed the content into a close context. The message they received thus resulted in acceptance. In addition, they were able to differentiate between the functions of content emitter and receiver.
The exchange of messages between BookTubers and their subscribers implies that receivers will intrinsically accept the type of message they will receive, based on the title of the video. For this reason, we did not encounter any comments belonging to the naive acceptance category. Indeed, the emitter narrative is non-fiction and so fantasizing about parallel realities was not an option for subscribers.
In addition, considering that the vast majority of the online community exchanges opinions on reading, some subscribers naturally need to provide an opinion which sometimes differs from that of the emitter. We thus obtain a sophisticated rejection of the received message. This subscriber rejection may be directed towards the BookTubers’ attitude, the method the content is presented, or it can even manifest a rejection of BookTubers’ reading promotion efforts, including direct criticism of their work as influencers.
We also found a number of deconstruction comments. While no references indicate that this category implies content acceptance or rejection, it does constitute a critical interpretation of the message in which the recipient is capable of pinpointing the manufactured nature of the product aimed at satisfying the producer’s interests.

3.4.3. Comment Topic

The third category in both tables reflects the probability that the subscriber’s comment is related to the BookTubers or to the video’s content itself. The trend we found revealed that most comments alluded to the video content. On the one hand, they assessed an element of the video (how it was recorded, technique used, setting, etc.) and, on the other hand, they mention BookTubers characteristics (clothing, appearance, hairstyle, method of communicating, etc.). The BookTubers’ mode or style of emission procure them a status within the reading community. The better their storytelling, the greater their impact on the market [6]. We found one case where the viewer valued the BookTubers’ knowledge of video editing, revealing a capacity to critically evaluate production aesthetics. In contrast, some subscribers were more distant and transmitted negative views on the product.

3.4.4. Consumer-Producer Relationship

Parasocial interaction—when subscribers maintain a direct contact with emitters—was found in the vast majority of the comments analyzed. The reason may be the closeness and ease of interaction proper to the YouTube platform. Subscribers felt they were members of a community and were visible, which turned reading habit into a social event [10]. The relationship between subscribers and the BookTubers under study became close due to how easy it was to share opinions. The relationship was even sometimes reciprocal, which is not usually the case [31].
Regarding the affinities or similarity between consumers and producers, the results were ambiguous. On the one hand, female BookTubers had great affinities or shared much similarity with their followers and various kinds of comments were found in this sense. On the other, male BookTubers presented very few comments belonging to this category, regarding affinities or similarity as almost irrelevant.
With regard to both romantic and sexual attachment, female BookTubers also presented a greater number of related comments. We did not collect data on the reason for this trend. We did find various comments revealing romantic and sexual subscriber approaches to emitters. It is worth noting that in addition to written messages, we encountered other resources typical of virtual communication, supporting what Yus [28] proposed in terms of the difference between what is transmitted in a face-to-face communicative interaction versus a virtual one.

4. Discussion and Conclusions

New methods of exchanging information over online learning communities have developed among the youth [44]. The growth of new informal learning methodologies [45] goes hand in hand with the development of transmedia skills. Thus, new pedagogies relating to collective network participation [40], such as digital, multimodal, critical, and informal Transmedia Literacy [46], translates into an increase in producers/consumers potentially able to generate and share different types of content and levels of complexity [9].
We agree with Cabero [47] and Martín et al. [48] that using social networks as a communication channel permits energizing information flows –sometimes on issues of great social relevance [49]— and additionally provides visibility to each individual user, which in this case are the Booktubers’ followers. Moreover, these networks are being increasingly integrated into students’ education, facilitating cooperative and collaborative work [40,50,51]. We thus share the conclusions reached by Cordón and Gómez [7] and Rovira-Collado and Mateo Guillén [52], according to which the YouTube platform, more specifically BookTubers clusters, are facilitating new channels to promote and encourage social reading. The bonds between subscribers and BookTubers turn into collaborative synergies permitting them to grow in unison. They value the roles adopted by each member based on the created conversations in which they exchange comments, criticisms, and even other types of related readings or works by the same authors. Thus, they are shaping a self-sufficient nexus that draws on participants’ collaborations. In this manner, Web 2.0 is fostering educational dynamism and provides a creative, participatory, and socializing nature in the learning process [15].
As for the message’s interpretation, the sophisticated acceptance advanced by Palmer and Hafen [29] reveals how audience members are aware of the communicative exchanges they are exposing themselves to each time they play a BookTuber video. They are the recipients of a message of which they may or may not have a premeditated idea, although they are aware that it is a manufactured product. They manifest their approval of the product most of the time and discontent to a lesser degree.
Consumers and produces share a closeness, as demonstrated by the high rates of parasocial interaction [30]. The latter results in breaking social barriers, which have no place within an online community. As verified in the context of booktubers, participants are active subjects who often believe they have a much closer bond with the producer; this happens in other similar contexts as well [30,31].
Young people’s empowerment via social networks is resulting in the emergence of new literary canons [3]. The exchange of comments, reading recommendations, and opinions by both producers and consumers brings about a continuous narrative that is more interested in the message’s contents than in the message’s aesthetics [9]. Thus, the data collected in our study supports the findings of Rovira-Collado [17] on the evolution of CYL 2.0 promotion, from blogs to BookTubers, since CYL on the Internet has evolved towards a multimodal nature. In this regard, the video format is acquiring more and more relevance, as attested on the social media most often used by young people, such as Instagram or Tik Tok.
In the interest of drawing conclusions, it is worth highlighting that, when it comes to message interpretation, the acceptance suggested by Palmer and Hafen [29] reflects a public that is aware of the communicative exchange they undergo every time a Booktuber video is played. Viewers are the receivers of a message about which they may or may not have a pre-established idea, but they do know that it is a manufactured product. Furthermore, viewers show their approval of that video much more often than their dislike of it.
While our findings can indeed be considered to coincide with the trend marked by Cultural Studies, young people’s empowerment over social networks has had an exponential impact on the role they play in various fields. Each individual subscriber opinion has the same value within the community, thus breaking with the classic hegemonic message advanced by Hall [22]. In this case, subscribers and commentators have considerable relevance and the author, i.e., the Booktuber, is not the only focus of attention. A conversation between both parties is generated around the video about the book, which extends its message. We consider the message’s emitter and receiver as active agents of content creation and communication exchange. Thus, on the basis of Hall’s work, it would be necessary to develop a new model that adapts to the new conditions of the message, taking into account interpretation and decoding:
(a)
Describing the types of comments found on the videos created by BookTubers;
(b)
Assessing consumers’ types of reading that derive from the content of BookTubers’ videos;
(c)
Analyzing the literary relationship between the BookTuber (prosumer) and the subscriber (consumer);
(d)
Examining the interest shown by subscribers in reading the works referenced by BookTubers.
Concerning the first objective of the study, which is describing the types of comments encountered in the videos under study, we found that users did not limit themselves to the message they received from the prosumer. They also referred to other aspects associated with the video, including its presentation and edition, the protagonist’s appearance, etc. Therefore, we can conclude that the users not only value the content’s substance but also its form, which is confirmed by recent research works on Booktubers [53,54].
Regarding the second objective, which are the types of video readings consumers engage in, we observed that the community agreed with the message, reflecting the naive acceptance advanced by Palmer and Hafen [29]. Thus, we consider that a transmedia literacy or culture [46,55] is essential to train a critical audience that is aware of what they are consuming and orienting them towards deconstruction.
Concerning the objective of understanding prosumer-consumer links [56], the results indicated a close relationship. Despite the conversation unfolding on a virtual platform such as YouTube, the bonds generated sufficiently strengthened the communicative exchanges in order to fulfil the channels’ objectives: That of young people and adolescents exchanging their reading interests.
Finally, regarding subscribers’ interest in reading or their intention to read, the data indicated a high percentage of readers and potential readers. However, the sample of analyzed channels, as well as the number of comments, did not allow us to establish a directly proportional relationship between the viewing of these contents and the growth in reading habits. Nevertheless, it did allow us to assess the educational potential of BookTubers messages.
Nussbaum [57] suggests the need to make students aware of the importance of literature in various fields with the aim of cultivating our humanity through the art of storytelling: She explains that our ability to develop opinions, sensitivity, emotions, feelings, and thoughts could be seriously hindered if we were deprived of stories and, therefore, of the possibility of using our imagination when we tell and hear stories.
With regard to the work’s limitations, the sample was not very significant and could be broadened in future studies. Further research could also address a larger diversity of channels and uncover trends of interest in literary consumption. It would also be relevant to explore the gender factor regarding BookTubers and subscribers to uncover possible gender differences. In addition, a synchronous analysis, which is also related to the maturing of BookTubers and viewers, could allow us to learn about the evolution of the comments and relationships.
In addition, future research could center on other types of videos within the classification presented above to uncover literary consumption trends. The inclusion of these audio-visual dynamics in social reading networks such as Goodreads also allows us to examine other types of comments [52,58,59]. It would likewise be interesting to delve deeper into the gender factor not only of Booktubers but also of subscribers and to analyze that aspect trying to identify potential differences.
Lastly, social networks, as a means of information exchange, seem to have turned into agents of informal learning [60,61]. Therefore, we must avoid turning our backs to them in the classroom and, on the contrary, welcome their introduction in the academic world as an additional teaching resource [62,63]. New methodologies that use ICT as a common thread must be introduced to bring about a synergistic relationship between technology, new teachings [64], and learning communities. To this end, we hope that this study will provide the basis for developing new methods of promoting reading in and outside the classroom).

Author Contributions

The authors R.R.-V., H.R.-G. and J.R.-C. contributed equally. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades: “Innovacioón epistémica de un modelo de comentario argumentativo de textos multimodales en la enseñanza del español como lengua materna y extranjera”, grant number PGC2018-101457-B-I00-IARCO; and University of Alicante “Research Group GIDU-EDUTIC/IN”, grant number VIGROB-330.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to own use of the data for other complementary publications.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Table 1. Comment Analysis-Female BookTubers.
Table 1. Comment Analysis-Female BookTubers.
CategoriesVideo 1 (F)V1
(%F)
Video 2 (F)V2
(%F)
Video 3 (F)V3 (%F)Video 4 (F)V4 (%F)Total (F)Total (%F)
1. Reading/Intention to Read2010.64%3517.33%1510.34%3313.31%10313.15%
2. Interpretations
2.1 Deconstruction10.53%31.49%00.00%00.00%40.51%
2.2 Sophisticated Rejection52.66%188.91%74.83%10.40%313.96%
2.3 Sophisticated Acceptance126.38%2110.40%2416.55%4417.74%10112.90%
2.4 Naive Acceptance00.00%00.00%10.69%20.81%30.38%
3. Comment Topic
3.1 BookTuber1910.11%136.44%32.07%166.45%516.51%
3.2 Video126.38%104.95%138.97%3212.90%678.56%
4. Consumer-Producer Relationship
4.1 Wishful Identification00.00%10.50%10.69%10.40%30.38%
4.2 Imitation10.53%10.50%0 00.00%20.26%
4.3 Attachment
4.3.1 Sexual00.00%31.49%00.00%00.00%30.38%
4.3.2 Romantic2613.83%20.99%21.38%239.27%536.77%
4.4 Affinity or Similarity31.60%3316.34%138.97%2510.08%749.45%
4.5 Parasocial Interaction (PSI)8947.34%6130.20%6645.52%7128.63%28736.65%
SUM TOTAL188100.00%202100.00%145100.00%248100.00%783100.00%
N = Documents1 1 1 1 4
Table 2. Comment Analysis -Male BookTubers.
Table 2. Comment Analysis -Male BookTubers.
CATEGORIESVideo 5 (F)V5
(%F)
Video 6 (F)V6
(%F)
Video 7 (F)V7 (%F)Video 8 (F)V8 (%F)Total (F)Total (%F)
1. Reading/Intention to Read1510.14%3019.11%4926.49%6730.88%16122.77%
2. Interpretations
2.1 Deconstruction10.68%21.27%10.54%00.00%40.57%
2.2 Sophisticated Rejection42.70%117.01%31.62%10.46%192.69%
2.3 Sophisticated Acceptance1912.84%2113.38%3921.08%5324.42%13218.67%
2.4 Naive Acceptance00.00%10.64%21.08%00.00%30.42%
3. Topic commentary
3.1 BookTuber85.41%106.37%73.78%209.22%456.36%
3.2 Video42.70%74.46%21.08%41.84%172.40%
4. Consumer-Producer Relationship
4.1 Wishful Identification00.00%00.00%00.00%10.46%10.14%
4.2 Imitation21.35%21.27%73.78%00.00%111.56%
4.3 Attachment
4.3.1 Sexual10.68%00.00%00.00%31.38%40.57%
4.3.2 Romantic1510.14%21.27%31.62%73.23%273.82%
4.4 Affinity or Similarity106.76%10.64%00.00%52.30%162.26%
4.5 Parasocial Interaction (PSI)6946.62%7044.59%7238.92%5625.81%26737.77%
SUM TOTAL148100.00%157100.00%185100.00%217100.00%707100.00%
N = Documents1 1 1 1 4
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Roig-Vila, R.; Romero-Guerra, H.; Rovira-Collado, J. BookTubers as Multimodal Reading Influencers: An Analysis of Subscriber Interactions. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2021, 5, 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5070039

AMA Style

Roig-Vila R, Romero-Guerra H, Rovira-Collado J. BookTubers as Multimodal Reading Influencers: An Analysis of Subscriber Interactions. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction. 2021; 5(7):39. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5070039

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Roig-Vila, Rosabel, Héctor Romero-Guerra, and José Rovira-Collado. 2021. "BookTubers as Multimodal Reading Influencers: An Analysis of Subscriber Interactions" Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 5, no. 7: 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5070039

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