The Influence of TikTok on Publishing

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The article discusses the influence of TikTok on publishing. TikTok has rapidly emerged as a cultural phenomenon, captivating millions of users with its short-form videos. However, its impact extends far beyond entertainment. TikTok is also transforming industries, including the world of book publishing.

Over the past few years, TikTok has fundamentally shifted how consumers, especially young people, discover and engage with products and media. Its algorithmically curated “For You” feed immerses users in trends and communities tailored to their interests. This level of personalization and sense of authenticity has proven enormously effective at influencing consumer behavior.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with books. A vibrant community of readers has organically blossomed on TikTok, commonly known as “BookTok.” Here, impassioned users post reviews and recommendations of their favorite reads. Specific books will unexpectedly go viral through trends like the #BookTok hashtag. Suddenly, these titles appear on bestseller lists as sales spike upwards of 800% overnight.

The Rise of BookTok

BookTok took off during 2020’s lockdowns as people turned to reading to fill time. It has since amassed over 105 billion views and counting. The hashtag #BookTok alone has over 84 billion views. Other popular hashtags include #BookRecommendation and #BookReview, with 29 billion and 25 billion views, respectively.

What makes BookTok so powerful is its authenticity. The reviews come not from paid endorsements but from genuine readers sharing their excitement over a new literary discovery. Seeing someone personally connect with a book’s characters or themes resonates more than any traditional marketing.

Reshaping the Publishing Landscape

BookTok is transforming every aspect of publishing. Backlist titles like Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us are resurrected, often hitting #1 on bestseller lists years after release. Publishers scramble to capitalize on viral hits by ordering reprints and striking book deals with popular BookTokers.

Even America’s largest bookstore chains are responding. Barnes & Noble created a “TikTok Made Me Buy It” display. Indie bookstores are curating BookTok sections. The American Booksellers Association now tracks TikTok’s impact on sales.

Far from a fad, BookTok represents the emergence of TikTok as a tastemaker guiding consumer choices across industries. Other platforms have reshaped entertainment, but none have done so with TikTok’s level of grassroots community building and algorithmic personalization. For better or worse, TikTok is rewriting the rules for discovering art and building movements.

How BookTok Hashtags Wield the Influence of TikTok on Publishing

BookTok has emerged as a vibrant literary community within TikTok over the past few years. On BookTok, users create and share short videos recommending books, discussing plots, showcasing their bookshelves, and participating in reading challenges. Through these videos, a genuine passion for reading shines through. The #BookTok hashtag alone has amassed over 84 billion views, showing the incredible popularity of this niche community.

On TikTok, hashtags play a crucial role in content discoverability. When a hashtag starts trending within the BookTok community, it often leads to a surge of interest in certain books or genres. For instance, after TikTok user @the_novelgirl created an emotional video about the book They Both Die at the End, the #theybothdieattheend hashtag brought this lesser-known book into the spotlight. It quickly became a bestseller thanks to BookTok’s promotion.

Some trending hashtags like #romancerecs and #horrortok spotlight fan-favorite genres. Others like #TBRpile promote reading challenges. Such hashtags make it easy for people to find books tailored to their tastes. They also encourage participation in a shared reading experience through TikTok.

Propelling Books to Bestseller Status

Several books have shot up the bestseller charts thanks to going viral on BookTok. For example, Madeline Miller’s novel The Song of Achilles saw a meteoric rise thanks to BookTok hype. After booktubers like @moongirlreads raved about this Greek mythology retelling, it landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

BookTok is making stars out of lesser-known writers and giving overlooked backlist titles a new lease on life. Its influence allows books to succeed through grassroots promotion rather than traditional marketing campaigns alone. For publishers and authors, having a book go viral on BookTok marks a major coup. It demonstrates the platform’s unmatched ability to catapult books from obscurity into the upper echelons of publishing success.

Unveiling TikTok’s Impact on Book Sales

TikTok has significantly influenced book sales, especially among younger female readers. Data shows that women under 54 are more likely to use TikTok and be swayed by its book recommendations. This demographic represents the majority of book buyers, meaning TikTok’s book promotion power should not be underestimated.

Driving Sales Through Authentic Recommendations

What makes TikTok so influential is the authenticity of its users’ recommendations. BookTok content comes from readers genuinely sharing their reactions, not paid promotions. This grassroots enthusiasm draws in fellow book lovers seeking trusted recommendations.

For example, Erin Morgenstern saw her book The Starless Sea suddenly shoot up the bestseller charts thanks to TikTok users organically creating videos showcasing excerpts and discussing why they loved the novel’s world-building and prose.

Reshaping the Publishing Landscape

TikTok has demonstrated its ability to propel new releases and backlist titles to bestseller status. Colleen Hoover enjoyed a surge from 237,000 lifetime sales before BookTok to over 2.3 million units sold as of August 2022. Her works now occupy six of the top ten spots on national fiction charts.

In response to these viral phenomena, booksellers like Barnes & Noble now track and promote BookTok trends in-store. This accessibility and visibility, in turn, further fuel sales, creating a self-perpetuating cycle and cementing TikTok as a major player in the publishing world.

While unpredictable, this influence should not be ignored. Savvy authors and publishers increasingly tap into BookTok as a promotional avenue, recognizing the platform’s unmatched power to create literary stars overnight.

TikTok has had a seismic impact on the publishing industry. In 2021 alone, over 181 billion views related to books on TikTok directly contributed to selling millions of books. The platform’s unique ability to make short videos go viral has created a new way for books to find massive audiences overnight.

Statistics demonstrate TikTok’s influence on book sales. According to NPD BookScan data, print book sales rose 10% in 2021 to 825 million units sold, the highest number tracked in decades. Much of this growth has been attributed to viral TikTok trends that spotlight books and propel them up the bestseller charts.

Publishers Respond with Tailored Marketing

Recognizing TikTok’s marketing power, major publishers and booksellers are responding by optimizing books to capitalize on viral trends. Publishers now track hashtag views to acquire titles with potential viral appeal. Book covers and concepts are designed to be TikTok-friendly.

Barnes & Noble set up special in-store displays for popular BookTok reads. Amazon and Bookshop created sections featuring TikTok’s famous books. Even libraries jumped in with BookTok collections to meet surging demand for trending titles.

Influence of TikTok on publishing

This industry pivot reveals how profoundly TikTok has disrupted traditional publishing. Over 181 billion views and counting shows that BookTok wields tremendous influence in breaking books, shaping bestsellers, and transforming reader tastes.

The Mechanism Behind BookTok’s Influence

BookTok has become a phenomenon on TikTok, garnering over 112 billion views and emerging as a major force in promoting books to diverse audiences. But what is it about BookTok that makes it so popular and influential?

Spotlight on Underrepresented Voices

BookTok amplifies underrepresented voices that may get overlooked by mainstream book coverage. Creators highlight their voices, stories, and diverse authors, introducing viewers to books they may not discover otherwise. Hashtags like #BlackBookTok and #TransBookTok allow niche literary communities to thrive. By showcasing a wider range of books, BookTok helps titles succeed that traditional publishing gatekeepers may have initially passed over.

Viral Sharing Drives Discovery

Additionally, BookTok thrives on TikTok’s viral video-sharing capabilities. Creators can instantly reach a large audience, allowing book recommendations to spread rapidly. Viewers can easily share videos they enjoy, exposing new users to book suggestions. This viral effect kicks obscure books up the bestseller charts, as happened with Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. BookTok transformed it from a slow-burning backlist title into a smash hit.

Interactive Platform Builds Community

Finally, TikTok’s interactive features foster a vibrant BookTok community. Comments and stitching allow back-and-forth conversation about books, while hashtags unite fans of genres from romance to fantasy. This interactivity helps convert viewers into engaged readers. They can ask questions, debate plot points, share fan art and cosplay, and make connections over favorite reads. For many users, BookTok provides a welcoming space to immerse themselves in books fully.


We have examined the influence of TikTok on publishing. Through the emergence of BookTok and viral trends like popular hashtags and challenges, TikTok has become a powerful force in driving book discovery, recommendations, and sales. As highlighted in this blog post, the data clearly shows TikTok’s significant influence – contributing to 181 billion views and selling millions of books in 2021 alone.

Key Takeaways on the Influence of TikTok on Publishing

  • Authentic and relatable book reviews on BookTok resonate with TikTok’s diverse user base, garnering over 112 billion views.
  • TikTok trends and recommendations have successfully turned books like It Ends With Us into bestsellers.
  • BookTok has connected readers to books they may not have discovered through traditional channels, reshaping the publishing landscape.
  • Major booksellers have responded by creating dedicated BookTok sections, increasing the visibility and accessibility of trending reads.

TikTok has created a vibrant, dynamic community changing how we discover, discuss, and experience literature. Whether you’re a book lover looking for new recommendations or an aspiring author hoping to gain exposure, TikTok has become an essential tool for everyone in the publishing industry.

With its ability to reach a broad audience, promote diversity, and foster a sense of community, TikTok is revolutionizing how we engage with literature. So don’t miss out on the BookTok phenomenon – join the conversation, share your favorite reads, and discover new books that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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