BookTok is a rising book community on Tiktok in which readers share their book recommendations and reviews and their reactions to books using the hashtag: #booktok.
BookTok has been praised for renewing interest in reading, especially among Gen Z’s and younger millennials.
The BookTok community was formed in 2020 after a creator with the handle @caitsbooks created a video using the hashtag, which led to a snowball effect. Videos tagged with the hashtag #booktok have received 50.8 billion views as of April 2022.
Not only did the video inspire fellow readers, it piqued the interest of Tiktok’s 1 billion monthly users. It even led to book stores hopping on the trend. For example, many retailers such as Barnes and Noble include booktok favourites lists on their websites. These videos are short and engaging, inspiring many to read as a hobby.
While reading, communities existed beforehand on social media platforms such as Instagram (where the community is known as ‘Bookstagram’) and Youtube (‘Booktube’).
There has been a growth in the number of content creators who focus on content surrounding reading and books. After years of those in the book industry dreading a looming decline in print sales due to a lack of interest and the expected transition to e-books, there was a massive surge in book sales.
In 2021, readers purchased over 825 million print books in the USA (an annual increase of 9%), which created a new record and is the highest since records began in 2004. While the pandemic is also a factor that should be considered, since people had more leisurely time, Booktok’s impact cannot be denied. Industry experts have forecasted that physical sales of books will also increase in 2022.
It is clear that BookTok is here to stay and is just getting started.
Below is an interview with Julia Margaret, a BookTok content creator and a fourth-year MUN student. She is an aspiring author and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English.
What inspired you to start reading? And how has BookTok impacted your reading habits?
Reading has always been a big part of my life. What inspired me to start reading was that I needed a place to escape reality, and books were that escape for me. BookTok has impacted my reading habits in a way. My reading habits have slowed a lot since I started BookTok because I always create content. Creating content does get in the way of reading sometimes, but I would not change it for the world.
When did you start creating BookTok content, and what influenced you?
I’m still new to BookTok, I’ve only been posting on BookTok for about a year, but I have been a book content creator since August 2018. I started on Bookstagram, and this last year I also started a BookTok account. I was influenced to join BookTok because it is another way to express my love for books, and I saw it as another way to help support the authors I love to read. I was also influenced to join BookTok, as BookTok is making waves in the book world, and aspiring authors’ lives are being changed because of BookTok. As an aspiring author, I felt it was important for me to join to help get my name out there.
BookTok has led to the revival of reading, especially among Gen Z’s. What are some advantages of BookTok? And what are the disadvantages, if any?
BookTok has led to the revival of reading, especially among Gen Z’s, that’s for sure. I’m speaking from a romance reader’s point of view, but I would say an advantage of BookTok is that it popularizes or normalizes reading romance. This is such a breakthrough as women were always shamed for reading romance. Still, I feel like, with the growth of BookTok, women are supporting and empowering each other to read what they love. Of course, there are downsides to BookTok as well. The biggest disadvantage to BookTok is that people are quick to jump on the trends that teardown authors and readers who like books that contain darker content which is unfortunate.
What do you think the future of BookTok looks like?
I think the future of BookTok is going to be huge. BookTok is still small as of right now, and you can easily see how it is affecting the book industry. BookTok can literally make or break an author right now, so I can only imagine the power it will hold in a few years. I also think that BookTok creators will become the number one marketing strategy for publishing companies and self-publishing authors in the coming years. I can also see being a BookTok creator becoming a full-time job for many people, which is amazing. As BookTok continues to grow, I think we will see more people start to pick up books.
And lastly, for our fellow readers, what are three books everyone should read?
I’m a Romance Reader, so I must recommend romance books. These are all adult romances, so they do contain explicit content. First up is Simmer Down by Sarah Smith, a lighthearted romance book perfect for summer. Hollow Heathens by Nicole Fiorina is a witchy read that involves a secret town and a cursed hero. I also must recommend Distorted by Nyla K. This is an extremely dark MM romance, so I recommend checking for trigger warnings before reading this, but it is seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read. I just love it so much. You can find all these amazing books on Amazon, as they are self-publishing authors.
You can find Julia at @booklovingredhead on both Tiktok and Instagram.