The Success of #BookTok Is Making A Difference
June 7, 2022
Since early 2020, the #BookTok community on the popular social media platform TikTok has abetted hundreds of authors and is taking the publishing industry by storm.
The term “BookTok ” is used to describe the rising bookish community on TikTok. Dominated by young readers, authors, and publishing companies, BookTok is responsible for the success of a multitude of old and new works. Videos of book reviews, book recommendations, and cosplays of fan favourite characters are among the popular TikToks often found in this community.
By attracting both readers and authors, BookTok has made it easier for authors to gain popularity and earn a living. Colleen Hoover, the author of the contemporary romance novel It Ends With Us, attributed the majority of her success to BookTok. Due to the emotional nature of her novel, it received a lot of attention on BookTok, causing her sales to skyrocket, and enabling her to continue writing.
Observing this trend, many aspiring authors have begun sharing content on BookTok to establish a following before publishing novels. Chloe Gong, the author of the popular fantasy novel, These Violent Delights amassed a large following before writing and releasing her novel. In an interview with NBC News, she says, “Leading up to release, I was able to reach so many more people than I could have really imagined. I was getting droves of comments from people who were just generally interested in books or generally interested in young adult fantasy or the kind of plot material that I was writing about.”
This community has been able to stay afloat and remain popular due to the nature of the algorithm. TikTok allows avid readers who are continuously looking for new recommendations to do so without viewing the same titles repeatedly. However, this algorithm may be problematic for lesser-known authors. Books that become famous on BookTok are frequently recommended by different influencers, creating a cycle that is nearly impossible to break. This cycle amounts to free advertising for authors who do not need it. Authors may be unable to promote their own novels if they have not gained traction on TikTok.
Eager to remain relevant, retailers have noted the popularity of BookTok and twisted it to their advantage. Most bookstores now have an aisle dedicated to books that are trending on BookTok, which boosts sales and helps consumers readily access novels they have been meaning to read. The use of printed books, which had been declining in recent years, may experience a surge as a result of this change in marketing.