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BookTok: The Revival of Reading

<p>In need of a new read? Booktok presents an array of book recommendations for any genre.</p>

In need of a new read? Booktok presents an array of book recommendations for any genre.

Depending on who is answering, reading can either be defined as a pleasurable pastime or a daunting chore. While it is something that may be difficult for some to appreciate, a new social media trend is producing more avid and dedicated readers. 

#BookTok on the TikTok app provides users with a platform to share book recommendations and reviews that have over 44.6 billion views according to the TikTok app.

The books that gain popularity through the hashtag are most often young adult or adult fiction novels. The genres that are frequently included are as follows: romance, historical fiction and mystery.

Since the platform began in 2020, it alone has put books like "It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover, which was published in 2016, at the top of "The New York Times" bestseller list in 2021. 

"It Ends With Us" is commonly recognized as one of the most popular books to come from the platform. The delayed and overwhelming success even surprised Hoover. 

“You know at first, I didn't really know what was going on and even my publishers were like, why are we seeing an uptick in sales?” Hoover told NPR in December of 2021. 

Hoover has become more active as a TikTok creator since the app contributed to the popularity of multiple of her novels. 

BookTok’s popularity has influenced some to begin reading as a hobby. 

“I have definitely read books because of their popularity on TikTok and social media,” Emily Adair Burgess, junior in business administration, said.

However, some can recognize downfalls to books that are gaining popularity from the Booktok hashtag. 

“It is easy for a book to become spoiled for a reader on social media and everyone has different opinions on what they enjoy reading and may not enjoy the same things as others,” Burgess said. “Also, it is very easy for users to criticize authors on social media more directly, which in turn can prevent future readers.” 

The power of the hashtag has been recognized by different platforms in their marketing strategies. 

Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million,  popular American booksellers, have a BookTok section for readers to browse, featuring books made most popular by TikTok. 

The Barnes and Noble section praises the platform and states, “For those who can't decide what to read next, #BookTok is the place to go.”

The platform has not lost traction since its emergence and the views don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, creating more readers who are buying more books.

“There are so many books that I would have never thought to read until I heard someone review them online … If I find an interesting review or recommendation, I would be interested in buying the book,” Burgess said. 

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Emily Nagy | Culture Writer

Emily Nagy, junior in sociology and a double minor in counseling and journalism, is a culture writer at The Auburn Plainsman.

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