Let’s Talk BookTok

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TikTok users have started discussing popular books on the social media platform and have created a community of book lovers.

Bryce Mallory, Writer

It seems like most pop culture trends in the past few years have come from the popular social media platform, TikTok. But the app isn’t just responsible for the latest dance routine or viral recipe. Recently, the book side of TikTok, also known as BookTok, has inspired a new wave of readers through its book reviews, quotes and author recommendations.

Since April 2020, BookTok has taken the publishing world by storm, increasing sales in the publishing industry by 50%. 

As different books become popular on TikTok, the sales of those books go through the roof. People watch the trending videos, then go buy the books based on information from the post. 

It is useful to see a book being platformed here so you can get a look at what the book is based around. You can tell if it is romance, science fiction, or fantasy. Books will also be marketed to be more sad, or more happy, so you can tell which one you may be in the mood for.

BookTok has recently been promoting a lot of different styles of writing, with usually the same category of books. There is not a lot of diversity, and unpopular books are being kept in the shadows. 

“I think that there are certain books that are heavily promoted that shouldn’t be, and I think that there are books that you have to dig for, but you can find someone to advocate for them,” junior English teacher, Lindsay Brownlee said. “The trouble is, I think there is a lot of smut, and fantasy that’s promoted and we don’t get a ton of just fiction, science fiction, even YA, we don’t get a lot of.”

Sometimes books claim too much fame from the famous platform, but many people keep going back for more. Between spoilers, quotes and summaries, much is to be said about BookTok and the advertising style it is bringing.

“There are some really good recommendations on there [BookTok],” junior Bree Newport said. “But, I would say some of the books are over-hyped, and once you read it, it is so hyped up that you are more let down by it than you would be if you just found that book and read it.”

Authors like Colleen Hoover have attained mass popularity from this app. Hoover has sold more books than ever before since her platform became popular. 

“She [Colleen Hoover] is the queen,” Newport said. “Every single book I’ve read of hers, which is a good majority of them are amazing. I love her books. Everything about them is terrific, they’re all good.”

A best-selling author, claiming 15 best sellers, her number one being “It Ends With Us”, Hoover shows the effectiveness of using social media to market and brand her name. 

Hoover has written over 20 books, not all becoming crowd favorites, but the ones that are popular end up having a mass following through BookTok. 

BookTok books are usually sold out in stores everywhere, but are all of them worth the price tag? Many people fall into the trap of BookTok, buying a book after they have heard one quote from it, and end up hating what they read. 

As a reader, I have also fallen into the trap of the BookTok world. I have read many books that were over credited, some not even worth finishing. Plots can drag on, be boring, or end up becoming uninteresting. 

One letdown, in particular, was “The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas. The main problem with this was the amount of popularity it received and did not live up to. I felt that it should have been a much greater book, because of all the attention it had received.  

However, not all BookTok recommendations have been bad. My top five BookTok books are as follows:

  1. “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover
  2. “From Lukov With Love” by Mariana Zapata
  3. “The Love Hypothesis” by Ali Hazelwood
  4. “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
  5. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

BookTok is good in theory. However, to be satisfied with a read, check reviews first. I turn to Goodreads if I have my doubts, and I usually am grateful I do.