Traditional Publishing

BookTok’s influence on publishing is set to last – Tuesday May 7, 2024

The bursting of the pandemic sales bubble has been sharp and painful for sectors such as online retail. In publishing, an unlikely source — social media — has helped avoid a hard landing.

Social media should, in theory, be an enemy of the publishing industry given the competing pressures on consumers’ time. Since the pandemic, though, it has produced growth for once-niche genres such as fantasy and propelled authors who were little known to mainstream audiences on to bestseller lists. This will not be a fleeting phenomenon.

BookTok is a community within the video app TikTok in which influencers post content such as reviews of their favourite books. Similar groups can be found on YouTube or Instagram. Yet it is BookTok that has shaken up the sometimes fusty literary world, turbocharging sales of authors such as Sarah J Maas, Colleen Hoover and Alice Oseman among younger readers.

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