Monroe’s personal library, auctioned by Christie’s in 1999, featured more than 400 titles, “the books of a well-read and inquiring mind,” according to the auction catalogue. Like Gigi Hadid, Monroe owned a copy of “The Stranger,” the little black dress of books, never out of fashion. The Christie’s catalogue points out that many of the books have pencil marks and annotations in them. Absent a reading diary, it’s hard to know what Monroe really made of Camus’ classic, or “Ulysses,” or “The Great Gatsby,” “Invisible Man,” “On the Road,” or the other serious books in her library. Reading remains a private act, no matter how many times it’s photographed or Instagrammed.

Books, however, are increasingly designed to show a public face, especially on social media.The publishing industry counts on platforms such as Instagram to help spread the word about this season’s must-read novel or nonfiction blockbuster. “Instagram is a major tool now in ginning up excitement that we used to see in print magazines,” author and indie-bookstore owner Emma Straub told Vulture magazine earlier this year.

It’s no wonder that publishers, as Vulture reported, design covers that scream “Share me on social media!” Short titles, bright colors, and blocky graphics inspire more posts tagged #amreading (1,461,994 posts and counting) and #bookstagram, a hashtag that graces more than 26 million posts as of this writing.

Some bibliophiles take their ink-on-paper fetish a little too far online. “Ladies are draping their bodies across a swath of opened books like some sort of Abrahamic sacrifice to the gods of paper and ink,” Hillary Kelly wrote in Vulture last year, identifying one of the more unsettling bookish fads to sweep Instagram.

I love my books but I have never draped myself across them, on- or offline. But I confess that I have posted wannabe artful shots of my to-be-read pile, or a #catsofinstagram pic of my cat Darcy (using the not-yet-viral hashtag #darcyreads) next to a book with intellectual cred. That said, I do heartily recommend Emily Wilson’s recent translation of “The Odyssey,” which makes both a good read and a fine #bookstagram post, whether or not you include a cat.

Jennifer Howard, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C., is at work on a history of clutter. Follow her on Twitter @JenHoward.