What’s BookTok?


Claire Arneson, General Reporter


As a TikTok watcher and book reader, BookTok combines two of my most time-consuming hobbies. Since Tik Tok truly came into popularity at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were “scrolling for way too long” and avoiding the chaos in the world. Most people know TikTok for the crazy dances, catchy songs, and the variety of content it possesses. People started to notice that one’s For You Page placed you into categories based on what you have been watching. For some, it could be Baby TikTok, Craft TikTok, or one of my favorites, Food TikTok. But the one that has gained much traction from book lovers everywhere is BookTok. So what is BookTok? And what does it consist of? Surprisingly, it encompasses a lot more than one might think. 


BookTok, in basic terms, is videos about books. Precisely, creators share books within a specific genre or trope. At first, it seemed just to be a bunch of book recommendations, but it has quickly grown into the public. Going to book stores, “BookTok” is advertised, and the recommended books get their own table. Stories that gain enough attention sell out to online sellers rapidly. Some books are even starting to get movie or television deals for the upcoming future. BookTok sent book sales skyrocketing during COVID, saving the publishing industry from losing so much business due to the pandemic. The executive director of industry analysis at NPD Bookscanner says, “Unit sales for print books in the U.S. last year were the highest ever seen in NPD BookScan, going back to the start of data tracking in 2004. Led by adult fiction, annual print volume reached 825.7 million, rising 9% over the prior year — the first time annual sales volume rose above 800 million units” (McLean, 2022).  


BookTok has completely eradicated how the publishing industry used to market books. Instead, authors like Colleen Hoover -a romance writer and genius, notably known for her book titled It Ends With Us– have downloaded TikTok to promote their books, increasing their sales and profits. Last year’s popular titles included, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, The Hating Game, It Ends With Us, They Both Die in the End, and so much more. With all these authors advocating for their stories to be read and the publishing moving in a new direction, it’s refreshing to see some inspiration from the pandemic. Since summer is coming, and we will soon all have some free time to enjoy, I hope these book recommendations give you some adventures to go on this summer.  


My Current Book Recommendations: 

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern – Dystopian 

Verity by Colleen Hoover – Psychological Thriller 

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Fantasy  

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez – YA Fiction 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover – Romance


Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].