The BookTok phenomenon: young readers recommend books and turn titles into bestsellers
Created: 01/11/2023, 18:00
By: Sven Trautwein
TikTok runs on all smartphones of the youth.
Book publishers are using this channel more and more purposefully to win new readers.
100 billion views speak for themselves.
While the worldwide views of TikTok videos with the hashtag #BookTok were just over 80 billion in October, the 100 billion mark was recently broken.
Thousands of young people around the world show their favorite reading under the heading.
The reservation that has repeatedly cropped up over the years that young people are not interested in books has thus been invalidated.
This phenomenon helps the book industry to increase sales and some authors experience surprising success.
BookTok – This is where young readers discover books at the Frankfurt Book Fair © Peter Henrich (HEN-FOTO)/Imago
#BookTok: Global phenomenon
TikTok has become a mass phenomenon.
New clips are uploaded and consumed every second.
So it was only a matter of time before book fans from around the world gathered under a hashtag and the book industry jumped on the bandwagon.
Currently, the majority of book recommendations are in the “Fantasy” and “Romance” categories.
Authors from this area also cleverly use TikTok to market their brand.
The successful author Mona Kasten is currently in the top 10 of the Spiegel bestseller list with two novels.
Some clips are only a few seconds long, other BookToks several minutes.
More and more publishers are also trying to present themselves on the platform.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair last year, a separate stand and many demonstrations showed what is behind the Internet phenomenon.
Publishers also use the #BookTok hashtag to analyze and acquire new titles.
Since the majority of new releases appear first on the English-speaking market, the local publishers can see from the number of hits on certain genres and titles whether one or the other book is suitable for a larger marketing campaign in this country.
BookTok on TikTok
The hashtag has been trending on TikTok since the pandemic began.
It's primarily the playground of Generation Z, born in the late '90s and early 2000s.
In Germany, half of all 12 to 19 year olds use TikTok regularly.
In the 20 to 29 age group, it is around a third, according to Deutsche Welle.
This makes it the perfect target group to promote books from the areas of fantasy, young adult, new adult or even romance novels.
The hashtag, which emerged in late 2020 and is gaining traction, is also having a major impact on older books.
For example, reviews on BookTok and the algorithm made Madeline Miller's 2011 book The Song of Achill (promotional link) a huge success long after its release.
The American Colleen Hoover is the most successful author in this field.
Her hashtag #coleenhoover has more than 1.2 billion views.
For ten years she has been publishing novels that have become standard picks on TikTok.
Her book It End's With Us (promotional link) was the best-selling book in the US in 2021.
If that's not an incentive.