The New Internet Library: Book Tok


Maddie Kaltsas

“BookTok” is the subcommunity on TikTok that focuses on books.

The TikTok community of BookTok has become one of the leading book recommendation platforms in the world. The unique combination of social media and book reviews has transformed the way people discover new books to read. This all began with a BookTok hashtag on TikTok by a group of book lovers, and it quickly became a major trend among users of the app. This hashtag/trend allows people to connect with each other and bond over their shared interest in books.

People create engaging videos on TikTok focusing on the books they read, they have created a fun method of discussing, reviewing, and recommending books that have transformed the publishing communities. BookTok has seen to be mostly positive outcomes for readers, authors, publishers, and even popular bookstores.

Although book sales spiked during the pandemic while everyone was stuck at home, sales dropped a little as the world opened back up. However, BookTok helped to combat this drop by inspiring new waves of readers. Nowadays, when people have free time instead of picking up a book they pick up their phone and scroll through TikToks. Even Barnes and Noble, along with other bookstores have taken this idea of BookTok and have advertised advertiser across their stores and websites. If you have walked into Barnes and Noble in the past few years, you have likely seen the tables and end caps with dozens of books labeled “BookTok”.

Some of the best books I have read this year, I have found through BookTok. I recently just finished reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides series and the best part about finishing this book was going on TikTok and seeing what other people had to say about the book. Seeing what other people had to say made me feel more connected to the book, seeing that it affected other people the same way.

This year, I have also read a bunch of books by Colleen Hoover and the main reason I kept reading books by this author was because BookTok kept on recommending more by herby this her author. After I finished her first book, I went onto TikTok and watched people make recommendations about future books by titling the TikToks, “If you like this book, read this book”.

As much as I would like to admit TikTok has only had a positive impact on the world and readers today, there are negative aspects to the hashtag being used on TikTok. As I just mentioned, I have read a lot of books by Colleen Hoover. Her most popular known book, It Ends With Us, has been talked about on BookTok as the “perfect romance”, when in reality, the book deals with and romanticizes sensitive real-world topics, such as sexual assault.

There are definitely many benefits to the BookTok community, like being able to share and recommend books you have read. But there are some negative aspects that haven’t seemed to be posted or talked aboutto posted on Book Tok be published yet on TikTok, that I think in the future might be highlighted more.