BookTok, the best friend of authors and booksellers

25 March 2023

Constance Grady, writing for Vox, on the impact BookTok — the book lovers’ community within video-sharing platform TikTok — has had on book sales in recent years. In terms of the American book market at least, BookTok is almost unrivalled when it comes to selling books. That could come down to the (unrivalled) sincerity of BookTokers, when they talk about their favourite novels:

The main reason BookTok sells so many books, according to most of the BookTokers I talked to, is because it feels authentic and personal. TikTok’s native format of short, punchy videos and culture of casual chattiness combine to create an atmosphere of intense intimacy between content creators and their audience. In the book world, that kind of intimacy and emotional connection is rare. All the caps-locked blog posts in the world can’t match the visceral force of a camera on a real person’s tearstained face as they sob over their favorite books — books that could easily become your favorites, too, if you want to buy them.

Grady also explores the matter of remuneration. Some BookTokers are making a living from their channels, but many are wary about accepting payments from book publishers. Others of course do, but usually declare which of their posts are sponsored, and which are not.

I’m not sure it’s territory I’d like to venture into. As regular readers know, I frequently feature new and recently published books, that are usually Australian. But they are outlines, and seldom reviews, and are written at my own volition, and not at the request of anyone else.


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