June 23, 2024

BookTok: mainstream or revolutionary?

The recent growth of BookTok has led many books to gain popularity, However, is this growth beneficial for the literary industry or is it just part of another mainstream trend?

BookTok came along as TikTok began to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app quickly picked up traction and now has over one billion monthly users. As people were spending more time inside during the pandemic, they had more time on their hands. With this increased time people began to read more and share their favorite books through their social media platforms.

TikTok really allowed each user to find their niche while also discovering new topics they might be interested in. The discovery can come from liking videos with similar hashtags. As people began to share their book recommendations #BookTok began to go viral.

#BookTok now has over 39 billion views on TikTok leading many bookstores to rethink their marketing tactics for younger readers. Barnes and Noble has played this to their advantage and created a BookTok page on their website as well as have added a few BookTok tables in store.

“We’re identifying these trends as big opportunities,” Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes & Noble, told NBC. “So [Barnes & Noble store managers] say, ‘Let’s create a table, let’s create a shelf, let’s create a statement because I know I have so many customers coming in saying, ‘I saw this trending on TikTok,’” DeVito said.

It’s obvious that BookTok is making a major impact in literature and on social media. Some of the most popular books from this social media trend come from Colleen Hoover with the most popular book being It Ends With Us.

Hoover’s novel is heartbreaking as Lily and Ryle navigate their relationship and try to break their generational trauma. The book gained popularity on TikTok and “It Ends With Us Colleen Hoover” has over five million videos on TikTok. As more and more people began to read the novel it almost seemed to be generic. It appeared to be another social media trend that everyone was participating in.

Despite the fact that everyone seemed to be reading the same book it created a sense of community for the people who were. 

One TikTok video showed the community between readers as someone who had already read the book said, “I’m at a conference and someone’s reading It Ends with Us. I hope they’re ok.”

In some ways, BookTok has become revolutionary by allowing readers to share book recommendations in a new way. TikTok allows creators to get creative themselves while making videos to share book recommendations. Although many people might be reading the same books, unlike other social media trends, BookTok seems to be getting people off their phones to participate in activities outside of social media. 


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