The rise of #BookTok
August 2021

By Anika Keys

TikTok is behind almost every bizarre trend on the internet. The platform is credited with popularising everything from reciting sea shanties to the infamous #wraphack, and who can forget #dalgonacoffee?

In the depths of TikTok, there’s a wholesome place, which is single-handedly reigniting people’s faith in the internet. BookTok is a magical sanctuary for literature lovers, and a community filled with video reviews, recommendations, debates and authors highlighting their work. What’s not to love?

#BookTok currently has over 17.6 billion views (and counting), and some authors have seen a tenfold increase in book sales for works that are decades old. Madeline Miller’s 2012 book, The Song of Achilles, has found renewed success thanks to TikTok. The hashtag #thesongofachilles has clocked up almost 22 million views to date and is selling about 10,000 copies a week in the US.


#BookTok has created a safe space for discussion and is advocating for change, striving for more diversity and inclusive representation through reaching new audiences. BookTok is a major player in diversifying bookstores and libraries, calling for inclusion while actively supporting popular content. The global LGBTQ community can find books that accurately represent themselves and their struggles, showing that comfort and community are available in the palm of their hands.

Do it for the aesthetic
Vintage typewriters and extensive book collections with colour coordinated bookshelves and are just some of the romanticised aesthetics found within the realm of #BookTok. You will even find users acting out extravagant literary battle scenes, complete with detailed costumes, horses, and bow and arrow.

“Books I would sell my soul to read again”

TikTok’s short, snappy nature makes it the perfect platform for people to succinctly share their favourite books, top books to cry too, and even the books they would sell their soul to read for the first time again.

How are publishers reacting?

#BookTok has had a notable impact on the industry. One side-effect of the trend’s popularity is that both new releases, and several books published decades ago, are skyrocketing to the top of bestseller lists. Publishers, such as Penguin Teen, have started joining the platform to promote books, and some have started sending early copies, free books, or payment to popular influencers in exchange for endorsing their titles.

In summary, BookTok is a haven for book fans and a much-needed escape from reality. If you’re looking for somewhere to go and lose hours of your day analysing new worlds and dissecting character traits, BookTok is the place for you.



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