How BookTok is affecting reading
I am excited to see how the younger generation are latching on to reading in a big way at the moment. With the advent of BookTok, an offshoot of TikTok, there is a plethora of book reviews and promotions which are affecting the Book Charts in a big way! The forced isolation of lockdown during the pandemic fed into the lure of this phenomenon much faster than normal life would have allowed and seems to have continued apace even with the return of relatively normal times.
Authors such as Collen Hoover, Emily Henry and Christina Lauren have found new audiences and now, mainstream authors and even bookshops are cashing in using snappy enticing videos to promote their books on the platform. It works the other way as well with bestselling authors. Madeleine Miller, Matt Haig and Delia Owens are just three authors being read by a whole new audience now.
It’s great to see and here in Library land we have noticed a marked increase in requests for many Tiktok recommended titles amongst our readers both in physical as well as eBook/eAudiobooks. Interestingly though the younger generation seem to enjoy buying the physical books and then showing them off online in their overflowing, colour coordinated bookcases. There has been a strong trend towards fantasy and romance that is now moving to include horror and mystery too. I have even noticed classics, biographies and poetry being reviewed. The heart felt, direct approach of these reviews, straight to camera are totally believable and I hope that the ‘influencer’ marketing trend (being paid to promote a product) doesn’t begin to taint the honesty of these reviews. Personal recommendations are always the most valued, in my opinion.
Mainstream bestseller charts are being heavily influenced by the TikTok content bringing a whole new rash of lesser known authors (and their back catalogue) to the fore. The TV series ‘Heartstopper’ was made on the back of the BookTok popularity of these YA books by Alice Osman and it has revitalised her back catalogue at the same time.
As librarians we are always happy to see an increase in readership in whatever form it takes – and as the economic situation continues to tighten everyone’s budgets we expect that many will turn back to the library to keep feeding their reading habit.
We do our best to keep abreast of these trends in our Libraries to keep up with demand – but we can’t promise to have your favourite books shelved in colour coordinated order. It would make it a nightmare for us to find anything!
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