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BookTok: The Change TikTok Had on Reading and Publishing

Written by Julia Penchuk, Account Executive


Growing up, I hated reading. No matter how much my mom begged me to read a book, I would refuse. That all changed in my senior year of high school due to the rise of BookTok.


According to TikTok’s official website, #BookTok has become one of the most popular hashtags reaching both book lovers, authors and casual readers. It plays a serious role in the increase of book sales over the past year and a half.


After being locked in our houses during COVID-19, young readers — myself included — turned to TikTok to cure boredom. That's when I first discovered BookTok.


BookTok is the side of TikTok where anyone can share book recommendations, reviews and hacks. Since its creation, the hashtag BookTok has had more than 70 billion views.


Since discovering BookTok, I have seen that many of my peers have been reading at a significantly higher rate than ever before. No matter where I turn I see people reading popular titles from Colleen Hoover, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Emily Henry, and so many more.


The publishing industry has seen significant growth in the sales of fiction authors. Book sales are up 50 percent in 2022. According to NPR, publishers say that BookTok became a major force in the increase in sales of books, especially young adult and contemporary romance books.

An increase in sales like this has never been seen with any other form of social media, said the New York Times. The best way to describe the uptick in book sales since BookTok is word-of-mouth.




Social media platforms amplify the speed at which people find out about information. Videos have gone viral, increasing the purchase of many books. The more videos the audience sees about a specific book, the more interest will grow. I have realized that after I finish a book, I always want to talk about it with someone. Booktok gives us (readers) the opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings on the books we have just finished. More recently, I have seen my friends reading the books that I just finished because they heard that I loved them.


A prime example of the power of BookTok is how quickly Colleen Hoover’s books became best-sellers. According to BuzzFeed, Hoover’s most popular books on TikTok such as It Ends With Us, Verity, and Ugly Love have spent over 150 weeks on the bestsellers list and are still on it to this day. The dominance of Hoover’s books on TikTok demonstrated how online presence had a significant impact on sales.



Source:RD.COM, GETTY IMAGES, VIA MERCHANT



Publishers and developers have used strategic methods on TikTok to the growing BookTok movement to promote their work. . Publishers send content creators free books in order to bolster the sales of their books.


This is very smart on the publisher's end because they are using influential partnerships to build a social community and branch out. Influence followers often follow them because they trust and agree with them, and by posting these books they encourage their fans to read.


Books are trendy again, but how long will this last? I predict that as social media continues to grow and develop, we will see big changes in the book publishing world.


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