The Rise of BookTok


Alexandra Jaspers, Writer

TikTok features many different subjects for all kinds of people. One of TikTok’s most popular communities is BookTok, which has surpassed over 26 billion views on the platform. But how did BookTok get this popular in the first place, and what keeps viewers coming back?

Many people attribute the rise of BookTok to the pandemic, with a plethora of readers who now solely receive their book recommendations off the platform. One way BookTok attracts its viewers is by typically sticking to recommending genres and subjects they know their audience likes. The most commonly recommended genres on BookTok tend to be romance and fantasy, along with tropes like enemies to lovers gaining much popularity.

Avid reader Allison Staples said, “I usually read fantasy, realistic fiction, and romance. And I love trashy vampire books.” These BookTok recommendations have become so popular that they tend to sell out extremely quickly, and Barnes and Noble has even started putting up a BookTok display in their stores. But really the only way to find out how these BookTok videos get so popular is to talk to someone who makes them.

Catherinesbookshelf, a TikTok page with over 33k followers, started her BookTok page due to the pandemic.  “I had just gotten back into reading and I was feeling a bit isolated from the world,” she said. “I was looking for a community of people that shared similar interests with me.” Catherine said that she’s seen similar patterns that others have seen in BookTok recommendations. Commonly recommended tropes include found family and academic rivals to lovers, and common genres are young adult, dystopia, new adult romance, and fantasy. 

Catherine has also seen several creative trends come and go on BookTok, and even participated in a few. She said, “One of my favorite trends on BookTok was when people described the plot summary for a book as if it was a story that happened to them and then revealed what the book was and encouraged people to read it. When I joined in on the trend, it was a lot of fun and I loved reading everyone’s reactions in the comments.” 

Catherine has found much support in the BookTok community since joining, especially in the sapphic book community. “Through BookTok I’ve been able to meet some incredible people and form friendships that I can tell are going to last for a long time,” she said.  “I’ve found a lot of support from the sapphic BookTok community, especially, and I love how I was able to find so many kind-hearted people who also want sapphic books and characters to get the recognition that they deserve.” If you’re looking for some book recommendations, Catherinesbookshelf recommends Six of Crows, We Hunt the Flame, and Crier’s War

All in all, BookTok has certainly been a positive result of the pandemic by bringing readers closer together all for the love of books.