The rise of BookTok

Sylvia Kline, Writer

In regards to the internet’s fast paced trends, #BookTok deviates from the status quo. Gaining traction in April 2020, the height of quarantine and isolation, the subcommunity of TikTok has maintained its platform with an accumulative 78 billion views on the tag, #BookTok.

With the difficult adjustments of social isolation; working from home and the cancellation of schools and sports, people were forced to explore new hobbies— such as reading. A timeless pastime that had begun to be completely overlooked in the era of technology has now been embraced by the internet. 

“I first started seeing BookTok videos around May of 2020,” junior Cassandra Tatton stated. 

BookTok has also allowed new and seasoned readers to explore many new genres. “As seen on BookTok” displays occupy Barnes & Noble bookstores across the nation and have very diverse recommendations— including classics such as “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde and “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, to contemporary romances such as “Beach Read”  by Emily Henry and “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover. Individual Barnes & Noble locations have also joined the community, typically posting quirky recommendation videos, sale promotions and bookseller’s recommendations— often gaining thousands of followers as a result.

The influence of large bookstore chains on BookTok has led to many publishing houses joining the platform as well. In fact, BookTok has completely altered the marketing and publishing industry. 

According to the New York Times, “BookTok has helped authors sell 20 million books in 2021… So far this year, those sales are up another 50 percent.” 

As a result of this, marketing teams are viewing BookTok as a new, unconventional means of advertisement. For example, Penguin Random House has close to 40 thousand followers, and with such a platform they have catered their content to their primary teen audience, promoting a wide range of new releases and promoting lesser known authors. 

BookTok isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and will maintain its dominance on the internet and influence on the publishing industry.

To view #BookTok,  click here.