A few years ago, BookTok, opens a new window didn’t exist. Older social media platforms had communities of book lovers, but TikTok was unknown. Then, seemingly overnight, titles by lesser-known authors were soaring up the bestseller lists, particularly in romance and fantasy genres. Readers, authors, and publishers quickly discovered that the new bookish corner of TikTok was driving the surge in popularity of these books.
Bookstagram, opens a new window and BookTube, opens a new window, the nicknames for the book-related groups on Instagram and YouTube, seemed old-fashioned in comparison. BookTok focused on feelings and authenticity without being judgmental, and thousands of people were finding new titles to read as well as settling into communities of like-minded readers. Made for quick engagement, BookTok drove the increased pace of conversation, which allowed for changes to happen more rapidly than in the past.
Since BookTok limits the length of its videos and has built-in editing capability, more creators are finding and using it, which has increased its popularity, particularly among younger adults. Book clubs, read-alongs, and book conversations thrive on the platform. Its many different corners allow readers from all walks of life and backgrounds to find comfortable niches for exchanging ideas and various cultural issues.
The CRRL Picks: Favorite BookTok Titles, opens a new window list includes many of the books most loved on TikTok.
Like the older social media communities, BookTok appeals to those comfortable online who want to connect with readers of similar genres. Along with the other platforms, it surged in popularity as a result of the pandemic, which drove many online for information and entertainment.
All social media sites have influencers, authors, read-alongs, and book discussions, but they differ in several ways. Even with its new video capabilities, Bookstagram contains photographs and detailed captions with lovely book displays, book-filled surroundings, background information about books and authors, and stacks of new titles. The pictures and videos tend to be more stylized and staged, while BookTok videos are often spontaneous and focused on feelings rather than plot.
BookTube is also video-based, but it tends towards more in-depth reviews, longer videos about the reading life, and the newest releases. BookTok, on the other hand, reaches into author’s back lists for ideas, bringing older books to people’s attention, and promotes books in brief videos. BookTok’s algorithms easily adapt to the user’s likes and dislikes, allowing them to find others with similar reading interests with less effort.
Even with its benefits, BookTok is not for everyone. Some readers who would prefer longer, deeper reviews may prefer using BookTube, while those who like photos and captions may want to stick with Bookstagram. Some readers would rather receive book ideas from professionals who carefully curate their choices and help the financially-strapped reader find books to borrow rather than purchase.
Then there are those who enjoy finding book recommendations locally. Perhaps they don’t want to jump on yet another social media platform, they are looking to cut down on their phone time, or they just want to talk to a person face-to-face. If this sounds like you, your library can help you find your next book.
Our Book Match, opens a new window service will give you some suggestions for books that are similar to your favorite book or a book you just finished and loved. Do you want something even more personal? Check out our My Librarian, opens a new window page. Several librarians have listed their favorite genres, and they would love to share book suggestions with you. Find the librarian whose reading is most like yours and ask them for some titles. Once you start, you may find that they become your go-to person when you’re looking for the next great read.
If you like in-person conversations, stop by the Adult Research desk at your local library branch, opens a new window. Library staff members are always willing to help you find a new book or two to take home for the weekend, an audio for that long car trip ahead, or a movie for your family to watch tonight.
Whether you get your book ideas from Bookstagram, BookTok, BookTube, or the local library, connect with someone to help you find your next favorite title to read, enjoy, and discuss.