BookTok: The Genesis of the Bookfluencer
It goes without saying that the internet changed literature forever. With the advent of inventions such as the Kindle, Amazon Books publishing, and a million other small and massive changes, the (printed) written word is now altered irrevocably—in many ways for the better. We’d like to celebrate the innovation of literature in the last few decades by looking at a new a new phenomenon that has swept the globe: ‘BookTok.’ Functioning on the online app TikTok, the consumption of literature has been drastically altered by this trendy movement, and the world of publishing generally has been shaken up with the new TikTok craze.
For those who may not know, TikTok is an online video sharing platform, for short minute-long videos. On it young TikTok users have been sharing book recommendations, catapulting certain titles into dizzying success. Becoming known as the ‘BookTok Effect’, books highly recommended by BookTok creators have hit seismic sales numbers. After receiving BookTok acclaim, Adam’s Silvera’s 2017 novel, They Both Die at The End, shot up in the fiction charts, selling 4,000 copies in a week. Major corporations like Waterstones have even jumped on the trend, setting up BookTok tables that curate all of TikTok’s current most recommended reads.
The BookTok Effect is perhaps nurtured through the sense of shared community amongst BookTok creators. Acting almost as an online book club, one book is often spread around the community, with many BookTokers sharing recommendations and interacting with each other’s posts. BookTok has often been described by users as refreshingly wholesome. Amongst the barrage of political and harmful content on the internet, BookTok is often seen as a safe haven on the TikTok platform; a place where a community can interact freely, sharing their interests and passions. And isn’t that what the arts is all about? Creating inclusive spaces for communities to express passion and creativity? This TikTok movement allows users to do just that. Many creators have taken an extremely ingenuitive approach when promoting their latest read, curating a series of images that describe ‘the vibe’ of the book or compiling a selection of books that fit a certain trope or theme. On BookTok, fans use literature to inspire creative imagery, taking the age-old book club format and expanding it.
Personally, I am a big ‘BookTok’ enthusiast. I find the way people promote literature to be extremely personalised– the way they describe certain novels feels like the books have almost been tailor-written for me to enjoy. Below I’ve compiled a small list of some of my favourite ‘BookTokers’ and books for you to explore. To truly understand BookTok it needs to be experienced, so I’d highly recommend checking out these users and see how they’re turning the world of literature on its head.
Some ‘BookTok’ Literature:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Song of Achilles
Daisy Jones & The Six
We Were Liars
Written by The Maker’s digital intern, Anna Craig