TikTok, the global social media platform that is known for trafficking in short videos, is home to many viral trends. Dance, comedy and aesthetic videos are categories that make up the “For You” pages (a page that shows videos based on what individuals like) of people worldwide.
Recently, something that has blown up on TikTok is the world of literature. Users of the app call it “#booktok,” which is utilized by readers to discuss and share information about books through 15-second videos.
According to the New York Times, early last year, the publishing industry began to notice that the books that people were posting on TikTok ended up on best-seller lists. A year later, #booktok became a sensation in the book industry, thus creating some of the most popular books on the market. This took book publishers, authors and even readers by surprise.
“I was late to #booktok trend. I just started to discover it over the summer,” said sophomore Julia Rossback. “The first book I read was ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ by Jenny Han. This book was filling my ‘For You’ page, and I had never had the motivation to read like I did after seeing it. After reading that book, I completely fell in love with reading.”
Sixteen-year-old Kate Wilson from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is one of the many teenage girls who have made a name for themselves through #booktok. Wilson posted a TikTok video featuring a series of quotes from books that she had read entitled “quotes that say I love you without saying I love you.”
The video is set to a gloomy soundtrack and shows Wilson holding up the books with the quotes highlighted.
The result, according to The Guardian, saw Wilson’s TikTok handle @kateslibrary become one of the most popular accounts seen on #booktok. It is an account completely devoted to reading and has over 9.6 billion views and counting.
Sophomore Amanda Boscarino said, “If it wasn’t for Tiktok, I wouldn’t have even started reading in the first place. I have never considered myself to be a reader. It was always something that I found boring and had no interest in. When I discovered #booktok, I got lost in it and spent hours scrolling through people’s book reviews and summaries. That’s when I knew I just had to get these books.”
According to AP News, numerous authors have gained popularity through #booktok. One such author who owes much of her success to #booktok is Colleen Hoover. Hoover’s “It Ends With Us” has been trending on #booktok since June and has sold upwards of 10,000 copies per week.
Sophomore Jenna Vargas said, “If it wasn’t for TikTok, I would probably have never heard of Colleen Hoover. She was all over my ‘For You’ page and people wouldn’t stop talking about her books. Once I bought her books, I was reading them so fast and could see why everyone loved them so much.”
According to AP News, some of TikTok’s success in selling books can be traced to bookstores.
“I think that bookstores have a lot to do with it. I walked into Barnes and Noble last week and saw a table of books with a #booktok sign on it. It was all titles of books that I have seen on my ‘For You’ page,” said sophomore Julia Rossback.
Barnes and Noble and TikTok entered into an official partnership that was announced during the summer of 2022, resulting in a summer reading challenge to get people to post about the books that they are reading.
Vargas, who participated in the summer reading challenge, said, “This summer, I read over 10 books and it’s because of TikTok that I now have a love and passion for reading.”