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BookTok: A phenomenon of book marketing

Thanks to the popular social platform TikTok, there is a now new form of digital marketing for authors. « BookTok » phenomena is a subculture of the platform filled with various types of content. It includes content such as book reviews for readers to take part in.

The page "Now Trending on #BookTok" on the website of Indigo with the best sellers under the category.
« Now Trending on #BookTok » on Indigo’s website, showing the best sellers under the category.

BookTok’s main demographic is women and popular genres include romance, fantasy, rom-com, and young adult. Shelves with these genres, labeled with “As Seen on TikTok” can be found in book stores like Barnes & Noble (USA), and Indigo (Canada). This shows BookTok is as an offline form of marketing and not only online which can be seen on Indigo’s website.

TikTok’s demographic as an application itself also consists of women. Out of the users, 60% belong to Gen Z, a generation of trendsetters. Thus, making BookTok a powerful marketing tool. Popular names within BookTok include Colleen Hoover, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Christina Lauren. These authors share a young adult audience, hence the rise in their popularity is no wonder the aftermath of BookTok.

An example of BookTok: Short, but effective review.

Powerful marketing tool

What makes BookTok so powerful is that it is a free form of marketing for authors. It is the self-evident explanation of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s where fans create and spread content that results in fun, creative ways of marketing. In comparison to paid advertisements, the organic engagement of BookTok is undermining authenticity. This is far more persuasive than sponsored posts. As a result, various book titles are becoming viral and exposed. This has created rising popularity and sales of books released before TikTok’s rising popularity.

Authors new-gained success due to BookTok

Colleen Hoover is an author who gained success following the rise of BookTok. Hoover’s book It Ends With Us climbed the charts years after its release in 2016 due to its recognition and has become one of BookTok’s most popular titles. Its popularity resulted in the release of a sequel, It Starts With Us, in October 2022 and re-releases of the 2018 title Verity. Other books of Hoover has also gained more exposure – making her more successful than ever.

Taking influencer marketing into a new branch

What it also has created is another niche of influencer marketing, with content creators getting partnership deals with publishers and authors. With the help of different BookTok influencers, the marketing of new titles based on the genre can become targeted to the best segments. But what makes BookTok what it is today is the importance of its authenticity. One should be aware of that sponsored advertisement have a risk of not increasing the successful sale of a book title.

BookTok is simply not for everyone. An author should not rely on TikTok as a platform for the marketing of their new books. Although, it is proving to be successful so with a little patience one can be lucky. But one should not question the impact that BookTok and BookTokkers have had on rising book sales. No wonder, it is both an innovative but also fun way of book marketing!

Sources

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bea/article/89428-u-s-book-show-how-tiktok-is-transforming-book-marketing.html

https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/

https://buildbookbuzz.com/booktok-for-book-marketing/

https://mailchimp.com/courier/article/booktok-tiktok-book-sales/

https://www.businessinsider.com/guides/learning/books-similar-to-colleen-hoovers-to-read

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