Recently we got the chance to put a few questions to booktuber Ben (of bangadybangz) and find out ALL the answers to what life is like on YouTube, how he got started, and why booktube is “the perfect place” for his “supremely nerdy brand of humour to shine”.
What first attracted you to booktube and made you begin posting your own videos? Well, I’ve always been a voracious reader, ever since I can remember, and I was already a fan of other YouTubers like Tyler Oakley, Joey Graceffa, Marcus Butler, Shane Dawson, Dan and Phil, Alfie Deyes, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart long before I was even aware booktube was a thing. I really admired those people and thought it would be fun to post my own videos about things I was interested in, which a lot of times happened to be books I was reading and also stories I was writing, because by that time I had developed huge passion for writing as well and wanted to share it with as many people as possible.
After a few months I started noticing other people on YouTube posting videos about books and entire channels devoted to books and reading. I was so excited and immediately binge-watched a ton of their videos, and it wasn’t long before I figured out they were all part of this tight-knit community called booktube. At that point I was hooked. I knew that I had found my people, and from then on I started interacting with the community, commenting on their videos and posting more bookish videos on my channel than ever, and I’ve identified as a booktuber ever since.
How long have you been an active member of the community? I first started making videos that I would consider “booktube videos” in December 2014. So about a year and a half, I’d say.
What equipment do you use to film your videos? When I first started, all I had was an iPhone 5S which I would prop up on a stack of books to film and then edit my clips together with iMovie. That was how I made videos for about six months until I invested in a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera and a pair of light umbrellas from LimoStudio to step up my picture and sound quality. And now Premier Pro is my editing software of choice.
For anyone unfamiliar, can you describe your channel and content in only one sentence? The zaniest fanboy ever shares his love of all things bookish, usually while being casually strangled by a stuffed monkey.
Booktube has become a massive online influencer in its own right, growing and growing each day. What sets your channel apart from the mass? I think one thing that attracts viewers to my channel is simply the fact that I’m a guy, which is actually a bit rare on booktube. A reason for that may be because most booktubers tend to focus primarily on Young Adult literature, and that genre is just more popular with female readers. That being said, I still get a lot of enjoyment from reading works like ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas, ‘The Mortal Instruments’ by Cassandra Clare, ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ by Marissa Meyer, etc., and I think readers who enjoy books such as these are intrigued to receive a male’s perspective on them.
Additionally, I try to distinguish my channel from others within the booktube community by supplementing the TBRs (To Be Reads), Hauls, and Wrap Ups that kind of come with the territory with more unique, quirky videos. I’ve done lots of bookish sketches, parodies, and original book tags, and booktube is the perfect place for my supremely nerdy brand of humour to shine. I even have videos dedicated to writing featuring everything from inspirational music recommendations for writers to discussions of my own struggles and aspirations in writing and my journey toward publication.
I also have a brother who has only recently become an avid reader, so it’s fun to throw him into videos from time to time as well.
‘Harry Potter Spells Tag’ is one of your most popular videos. Can you tell us about what went into making it and what it’s reception from your viewers was like? I believe the reason that video is so popular on my channel is mainly because it features Kat O’Keefe from Katytastic, who is one of the most well-known booktubers. I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Kat while we were both staying in New York City for BookCon back in May 2015. One of my favourite things about the booktube community is going to events like that and having the opportunity to meet other booktubers face-to-face. When that happens I feel like we’ve crossed that bridge from being just “online friends” who only communicate through YouTube comments and tweets and whatnot, to actual, real life friends. And when booktubers gather in one place, we love making videos together, because let’s face it, it’s more fun doing just about anything with friends than by yourself.
That video was probably one of the most well-received I’ve ever put out. I think it’s just very exciting for viewers to see booktubers appearing together in collaboration videos. It makes the community feel closer and more like a family, and it’s definitely more fun as a booktuber to have someone else there to feed off of and banter with, and that translates to more entertaining, better quality content. Also, collaborations are a great way for booktubers to promote one another and grow their channels, as they will effectively combine their audiences for those videos.
And come on, who doesn’t love ‘Harry Potter’? :)
Thanks so much to Ben for chatting to us! If you’re interested in his videos you can watch them here, or tweet your own questions to him @BangadyBangz.
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