You might be used to seeing publicity for new and forthcoming books on social media, but there is one social media platform that is showing love to a lot of older, lesser known titles. Book enthusiasts on TikTok are making videos about their favorite books and authors and using the #BookTok hashtag. Books that go viral in these videos often find themselves at the top of bestseller charts and with long waitlists at libraries, sometimes surprising the authors and publishers.
TikTok has been available in the United States since 2018, and it became the 6th most-used social media app globally in 2021 with 656 million downloads. TikTok users in the United States use the app 25.6 hours per month on average, according to Hootsuite (figure represents TikTok Android app users). #BookTok is one of many communities that have formed in the app.
Some #BookTok videos are as simple as the content creator talking about why they love a certain book. Other creators will take on the role of one of the book’s characters and tease a book’s plot. Others will reenact their reactions to reading a book’s plot twist or pivotal moment. TikTokers also document their participation in various reading challenges, answer other user’s questions about what to read, and more. While authors and publishers are tapping into TikTok to market their books and engage with their readers, #BookTok has become a hub of digital-word-of-mouth recommendations, giving books increased, renewed, or newfound success organically.
Below are just a few of the books we have been seeing a lot of on TikTok recently. If you want to get your hands on any of them, you can place a hold using our online catalog, the library’s app, or the Libby app by Overdrive.
This book was published in 2016, but as of November 2022, it has been on the New York Times Bestsellers List for 73 weeks and counting. It currently has over 250 holds across the 64 copies of the book, ebook, and audiobook in our library system.
After becoming a favorite of many #BookTok readers years later, fans of the book started a petition for Hoover to write a sequel - and it worked. Hoover made a TikTok video in July 2021 addressing the petition and asking users questions about what they would want out of a sequel. “It Starts With Us” was published in October 2022.
The New York Times reported that Hoover has sold more books than James Petterson and John Grisham combined. She also has 1.1 million TikTok followers.
Olivie Blake is another author whose book took off after going viral on social media. Her first book, “The Atlas Six” was originally self published in 2020, but after all the attention it got online, Tor Books acquired the book and published a revised, edited edition in 2021. The publisher announced that it will also publish two more books in the series (Book 2 “The Atlas Paradox,” came out in 2022).
While Buzzfeed called this book “one of the most captivating reads of 2017,” readers are still lining up to get their hands on "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" five years later in 2022. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 85 weeks in the paperback category. There are currently 133 holds on the 57 copies in our library system, including ebooks and audiobooks. Search the book on TikTok and you will see countless reader reactions, many of them claiming this was a book they couldn’t put down until they reached the end.
This book has been out for over a decade, but it is still being talked about all over #BookTok. “The Song of Achilles” is a retelling of a well-known myth, but according to the people of #BookTok, the ending is no less impactful just because it is expected.
Whether you loved The Iliad, or (like me) could never quite get through the whole thing, you can see for yourself if all the viral buzz about this retelling is worth the hype by placing a hold today.
If you are planning on participating in our Ultimate Book Nerd Challenge in 2023, both the adult and teen challenges have "Retelling of a Myth" as one of the categories you can choose from! Keep an eye out for more information on the challenge coming out soon.
Next time you aren’t sure what to read next, you might head to TikTok to see what titles are trending on #BookTok. Let us know what books you’ve discovered because of TikTok in the comments, and be sure to follow us on TikTok @caldwellpubliclibrary.