Books Front Matter

Let’s Talk BookTok

For the uninitiated, BookTok, aka #BookTok, is a viral TikTok hashtag for all things book and literature related. Book lovers, including some bona fide influencers, share videos about the books they’re reading, tips for styling bookcases, and of course, recommendations and reviews. With over 92.7 billion views — and counting — BookTok is a global online community for bibliophiles, and it’s changing the book publishing industry.

BookTok explained

The TikTok generation values connection and authenticity in the online content they consume. The BookTok influencers with the most pull share their personal experiences and genuine reactions to a book rather than author insights, historical context, literary analysis, or plot summaries. BookTok is all about sharing the reader’s understanding of a story from their unique perspective.

BookTok is approaching mainstream popularity, but it’s also making more voices heard within the publishing industry. BIPOC and LGBTQ+ content creators use BookTok to bring attention to a wider and more diverse range of authors and stories.

BookTok and book sales

Believe it or not, BookTok does drive book sales. Many backlist titles are enjoying a resurgence in popularity after BookTok recommendations. For an extraordinary example of BookTok-driven sales, look no further than Colleen Hoover. The romance novelist became a BookTok hit in 2022, and her books went on to claim eight of twenty-five bestseller slots that year. Her top two titles sold more than two million copies each — thanks in part to a hashtag.

So, it’s no surprise publishers are taking notice of BookTok — and making moves to get in on the action. Some publishing houses are hiring social media experts to create content relevant to their catalogues. So, a word of warning: TikTok users can spot inauthenticity in a heartbeat, and they don’t respond well to overtly commercial content.

BookTok for publishers

It might take publishers a while to figure out how to use TikTok, and they may never be able to capitalize on it as a commercial platform. But BookTok proves that word-of-mouth marketing and thoughtful recommendations from trusted sources are still among the best ways to sell a book.

From print to eBooks and eCommerce, Sheridan has your book publishing needs covered. Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation.

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