Booktubers: el futuro ya está aquí

No son Bernat Pivot ni dirigen ni presentan un programa tan prestigioso como Apostrophes, pero son el relevo generacional, pese a quien pese, de los sesudos críticos literarios. Prescriptores e influencers (por utilizar un lenguaje 2.0) de jóvenes lectores, esos que conseguirán con su pasión por la lectura que la industria editorial no fallezca, sino que se transforme.

Ni todo el monte es orégano ni todos los canales de YouTube son de gammers, gamberros graciosos, apasionadas del maquillaje y de la moda o cocinillas didácticos. La próxima vez que veas a tu hijo o hija dejándose la vista en la tablet, y antes de poner el grito en el cielo, observa qué es lo que está viendo. Con un poco de suerte, en lugar de estar abducido por el visionado repetitivo de unas monumentales caídas o por el detallado paso a paso del maquillaje de ojos, tu querido vástago estará recibiendo una información valiosísima sobre las últimas novedades editoriales. Hablando su propio idioma, centrándose en sus intereses y consiguiendo con esa empatía lo que no han logrado años de lecturas obligadas en la escuela ni los planes de fomento de la lectura, por no hablar de las recomendaciones y hasta los chantajes emocionales familiares para que cojan un libro.

Los niños y los jóvenes leen y la misma fidelidad ciega, la misma pasión que derrochan frente al videoclip del ídolo de turno (Justin Bieber se inició en YouTube, no lo olvidemos) la demuestran bebiendo literalmente las palabras y las imágenes que los booktubers editan en formato de vídeo trepidante para que el invento de Gutenberg no caiga en el olvido.

Los inicios del fenómeno

Estados Unidos fue el primer país que comenzó, sobre 2012, a inundar la plataforma de YouTube de prescriptores de libros. Rápidamente la mancha se extendió a Latinoamérica, en donde estos nativos digitales son realmente activos y en donde muchos de ellos han conseguido, además de publicar libros, trabajar para grandes editoriales. Este es el caso de Federico Valotta, jefe de producto junior en Grupo Planeta en Argentina, bloguero y booktuber con su exitoso canal Atrapado en la lectura.

La viralidad propia de Internet hizo que aproximadamente dos años después, sobre 2014, España contará con una cuadra más que respetable de líderes de opinión en formato vídeo. Quien golpea primero golpea dos veces y esta es la razón por la que el más idolatrado y respetado por las editoriales sea Javier Ruescas, que abrió su canal a principios de 2010 y que cuenta a día de hoy (que no serán los de mañana) con 223.029 suscriptores. Sebastián García Mouret, El coleccionista de mundos, inició su andadura en el 2012 y en la actualidad cuenta con más de 206.487 acólitos. Que posean tal número de seguidores no es fruto de irreflexivos clics. El contenido que ofrecen engancha al primer segundo y el trabajo que hay detrás de cada vídeo pone de manifiesto una pasión por la lectura fuera de toda discusión.

Todos, absolutamente todos, desde Patricia García con LittleRedRead (45.876), Marta Álvarez con La libreta de Martitara (68.452), Sara Cantador con Nube de Palabras (80.534 suscriptores), Diego Marcapáginas (22.918) o Geek furioso de la Literatura (50.090), son blogueros, tuiteros, foreros, instagramers y hasta creadores de contenidos en Draw (historias apoyadas por dibujos realizados in situ y acelerados para vídeo). Su actividad es frenética y aunque algunas voces pueden menospreciarlos por su poco rigor crítico, muy basado en gustos personales, lo cierto es que, además de ser voraces lectores, ofrecen una información que ningún crítico o periodista cultural al uso brindaría. Un ingente trabajo que se sustenta simplemente en una webcam, una habitación plagada de libros y mucha, mucha labia y desparpajo. Perfecta dicción, lenguaje propio de los géneros que abordan y un humor, y en ocasiones una mala baba, difícil por no decir imposible de encontrar en otros canales que no sean YouTube.

En principio los booktubers son amateurs, pero muchos de ellos han encontrado en su pasión una salida literaria. Es el caso del mencionado Javier Ruescas, con una docena de libros publicados en editoriales de prestigio; Esmeralda Verdú, Fly like a butterfly, y May R. Ayamonte, Quieres libros, que han publicado a cuatro manos, mails y Skype por medio Besos entre líneas, o Andrea Izquierdo, Andrea Rowling (131.839) con Otoño en Londres e Invierno en Las Vegas.

¿El papel ha muerto? ¡Viva el papel!

Aunque la actividad del booktubers y sus seguidores se vehicula en la red, el libro impreso es el objeto codiciado. Los ebooks no tienen cabida ni entre estos críticos literarios ni entre los lectores. Abrir un paquete con un ejemplar es toda una ceremonia, alaban o hunden las portadas y dan su opinión en cuestiones tan editoriales como es el cuerpo de letra o los formatos. Los libros físicos son su particular tesoro y todos, además del ordenador y la consabida webcam, necesitan grandes estanterías para dar cobijo a todas las novedades que les llegan de las editoriales, las que compran por Amazon o las que adquieren en librerías físicas. Además de leer necesitan tocar el libro y mostrarlo ante su audiencia, que poco gusto encontraría en contemplar el soso plano de un eReader.

Fomento de la lectura 2.0

Los géneros juvenil, fantasy, crossover y romántico son los dominios de los booktubers. Y sus seguidores y potenciales lectores raramente sobrepasan los veinticinco años. El poder que tienen para enganchar a la lectura a los adolescentes no se debe subestimar y aunque muchos de sus suscriptores abandonen el hábito con el paso de los años, la pasión por leer seguirá allí.

Esta no planificada estrategia para el fomento de la lectura ha encontrado respuesta en la inteligente iniciativa Campus Booktube Cubit, promovida por Zaragoza Activa y la biblioteca Cubit. Desde hace dos años se organizan sesiones, de una semana intensiva, para que los jóvenes lectores dominen el medio audiovisual, sepan valorar sus lecturas, intercambien opiniones y, cómo no, se encuentren con los booktubers más influyentes del momento. Una escuela de booktubers que modifica y revitaliza por completo el papel de la biblioteca y que además de fomentar la lectura ofrece herramientas para desenvolverse en las redes sociales.

El papel de las editoriales

Las editoriales son conscientes de esta nueva masa influyente que puede elevar las ventas de sus títulos y entronizar a sus autores. Una de las que más atención presta a los jóvenes lectores y en consecuencia a los booktubers es Salamandra. No en vano, la editorial se convirtió en negocio viable, tras su salida de Emecé, gracias a su visionaria decisión en el año 2000 de comprar los derechos de la hasta entonces desconocida saga de Harry Potter, la serie de libros más vendidos de toda la historia de la edición. Atentos a las opiniones de sus lectores objetivos, han organizado lecturas conjuntas en Twitter y debates entre varios booktubers vía Skype, que posteriormente se han viralizado por sus sus propios canales.

Como fenómeno nuevo, es difícil cuantificar el impacto de las reseñas de estos prescriptores en el volumen total de ventas. Si las apariciones en los medios convencionales se miden con clippings en las agencias de comunicación, es casi imposible que los departamentos de prensa de las editoriales visionen todos los vblog (blog en formato vídeo), book houls (reseñas de últimas adquisiciones) o unboxings (apertura de los paquetes de libros frente a la cámara).

Envían ejemplares a los líderes más influyentes, a los booktubers que les piden títulos concretos, y organizan algún encuentro para presentar los libros. Pero todas las fuentes consultadas evitan hablar de repercusión en las ventas. Y es que en una era en la que estamos constantemente vigilados y el Big Data nos convierte en elementos previsibles, todavía no se ha hallado el algoritmo mágico que relacione vídeo subido a la red con ventas reales.

Pero la visibilidad es una realidad. Las grandes marcas de moda y cosmética pagan a mujeres instagramers e influencers por subir una imagen posando con sus artículos. Muchas de ellas se han convertido en auténticos ídolos que necesitan de un entregado manager personal para gestionar su agenda. Pero la industria de la moda todavía no sabe cómo relacionar los likes con la adquisición de sus productos. Su promoción encubierta es aspiracional, y dado el volumen de negocio que maneja el sector, estas acciones son una partida mínima dentro del total de sus balances anuales. Pero los booktubers, al contrario de los y las influencers y celebrities, hacen mucho más que despertar la admiración de sus acólitos: empujan a algo tan sano, íntimo y gratificante como es abrir las páginas de un libro y dejarse llevar por el placer de la lectura.

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