The start of a trend

Once upon a time, there was a young mum named Kathy.

She had an idea.

She wanted to share her favourite book recommendations with the rest of the world.

For 79 days in a row, she posted under the hashtag “Booktok”.

Kathy’s first post received 1,376 likes.

Meanwhile, a teenager named Cait decided to make a post under #Booktok.

Her first post was about the LGBTQ+ books she loved.

Cait’s first post has received 37,300 likes.

Kathy may have started #BookTok, but Cait found the right audience.

After that, everything changed.

BookTok videos started booming as they tapped into many young adults’ pent-up desire to share their love of literature, their favourite books and their jokes about reading.

And just like that, in March 2020, #BookTok became a cultural phenomenon.

BookTok has grown beyond what Kathy and Cait could have ever imagined. 

From nothing, #BookTok has amassed around 54bn (yes, that’s 54 billion!) views and spawned a range of related areas of interest.

Some of the biggest reflect what’s at the heart of BookTok – romance and spice.

  • #SpicyBookTok, focused on books designed to get you hot and bothered, currently has around 720m views, while,
  • #RomanceBookTok, focused on love at first sight or second chance love, and favourite romance authors like Colleen Hoover has 444m views.

And in terms of the commercial impact…

  • Publishers say the popularity of readers discussing their favourite books on TikTok helped lift sales to record levels in the UK in 2021 – Chief Executive Stephen Lotinga, Publishers Association.
  • US sales of Young Adult (YA) fiction novels increased by 70% In 2021 – NPD Group.
  • Research suggests that 14% of UK book buyers were BookTok users in 2021, rising to 37% of 13-14s and peaking at 50% of 16-29s – Nielsen Book Data.

So, what’s behind this trend?

What can it tell us about the people behind it, their needs and motivations?

Join us on the 22nd of June 2022 to find out.

Sign up to the webinar here.



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