How BookTok strengthened the relationship between readers, writers and booksellers

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Somewhere in an unassuming corner of the internet is BookTok. Home to passionate reviews, storytelling hours and book races, BookTok is a place where readers come together to share their love of literature.

BookTok is a community of users on the popular TikTok social media platform, where people can connect with other readers and share their new favorite stories. For many people, reading is a form of escape where they can relieve stress upon entering a new world.

“The books I refer to act as a kind of catharsis for me; when the main character is able to solve something that I’m currently trying to solve, ”said Natalie Hayner, an English literature student at St. Edward’s University.

BookTok has thrived over the past year, and as of October, books with the BookTok hashtag have been viewed 25 billion times.

With the growing popularity of this platform, booksellers and authors are starting to notice it. Large retail stores like Barnes and Noble are responding to this new form of media by creating BookTok tables right in the center of their stores. These tables are regularly updated with books of articles that have gone viral.

“[The BookTok table] exploded, ”said Michelle Cortez, director and social media coordinator at Barnes and Noble in Sunset Valley. “BookTok was a smaller table. We had to move it to a bigger table… for a lot of people, this is the first place they will look.

BookTok’s impact on publishing shouldn’t be overlooked either. For many authors, BookTok has propelled their books to the top of bestseller lists even years after their original publication.

MJ Woodman, or @mjwoodman on TikTok, is a young adult fantasy writer and author of “Divine” who considers BookTok the most informative platform for receiving comments.

“BookTok allowed me to decipher current trends in literature… It helped me plan my future novels and understand the reviews and praise of my first novel,” said Woodman.

Besides being a way for authors to connect directly with their readers, TikTok serves as a way to promote their books. Participating in popular BookTok trends and giving a behind-the-scenes look at authors’ writing processes can inspire enthusiasm for their work and make them more customizable for their audience.

“TikTok has certainly been the most useful platform to promote my novel. It is also the platform where I have received the most encouragement and support… I firmly believe that TikTok is the best tool for authors, especially those who have self-published, to promote their work, ”said Woodman.

Ultimately, TikTok’s accessibility and ability to present even the most read readers with unfamiliar titles and topics makes BookTok very appealing.

“When I was in high school, TikTok obviously wasn’t a thing, but if it had been, a whole world would have been opened to me,” Hayner said. “Books I might never have heard of, classics I had never heard of… It’s for everyone and it makes (literature) more accessible and interesting for people who don’t know perhaps not consider avid readers.

BookTokkers has definitely changed the way authors, publishers, and booksellers will view consumers. BookTok gave a voice and illustrated the life of a community that was not so visible before.

“Consumers of my content have made a huge and noticeable difference not only to my book sales, but also to my confidence as an author looking to share and promote my book,” said Woodman. “The positive reinforcement and validation from BookTok encouraged me in my future aspirations as an author. I also think it provided me with a support network that would otherwise be difficult to bring together without social media. ”

BookTok was quite unexpected, but its impact certainly cemented its place in the literary world.


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