The Tiktok book community has become a new medium for authors and publishing houses to catapult their book sales. Can you rely on their recommendations?
TikTok is known for being a platform good at harvesting communities of people with similar interests. Booktok is one of them. On that side of TikTok, people can review, suggest, and discuss books. The phenomenon it became during lockdown has generated amazing book sales.
The British publishing house Bloomsbury reported record sales of £100.7m in its interim half-year results and a 220% rise in profits. The publishing house CEO, Nigel Newton partly attributes this rise to TikTok’s “phenomenal” impact. Newton confirms that these numbers “ are our highest-ever first-half sales and profits,” .
BookTok is highly profitable to publishing houses and authors but is the books recommended reliable?
Books like It Ends With Us and It Starts with Us written by Colleen Hoover are placed at the top of Amazon’s most-sold charts. Colleen Hoover and her books are always being recommend by a big part of BookTok. While some love her books, one reviewer even describing It Ends With Us “raw, honest, inspiring, and profoundly beautiful, many disagree. Another part of the community expresses their discontent with her writing finding weak, surface level and a romanticisation of abuse. A lot see the initiative of tackling the subject of abuse as useful, as it could be educational. However, Colleen Hoover mostly use it as a plot devise and shock value, with no real substance, which is harmful to people that have experienced abuse.
As much as BookTok is a valuable medium for both readers as they can find a community to share their opinions with and seller, it still have its shorts comings. The recommendations should be taken with a grain salt.