We’ve all been inspired by TikTok’s infamous hashtag, #BookTok, to read a popular book at least once. Now, BookTok inspired much more than book recommendations. Thanks to the popularity of the app’s book community, TikTok will start selling books directly to users via an in-app marketplace.
Recently, BookTok’s influence recently earned TikTok partnerships with major publishers including Bloomsbury, Harper Collins UK, WH Smith, and bookshop.org. Via TikTok’s online marketplace, TikTok Shop, users will now be able to purchase books from these publishers directly.
With over 80 billion views, BookTok is a force to be reckoned with in the bookish community. Authors like Colleen Hoover and Jennifer L. Armentrout experienced major surges in popularity due to user recommendations of their books on the video-sharing social platform. Hoover’s 2016 novel It Ends With Us continues to see significant sales bumps because of popularity on BookTok. In November 2021, the novel had gone back to presses 24 times to keep up with renewed demand.
“It has been incredible to witness the BookTok community sharing its passion for reading, and reshaping the publishing world in the process,” TikTok Shop’s senior director of e-commerce, Patrick Nommensen said about new partnerships.
“With these new partnerships, we’re delighted to be making it even easier for book lovers to buy the latest BookTok recommendations without ever leaving the platform, while also providing new avenues for publishers both large and small to reach their audiences.”
Users have mixed reactions to TikTok selling books
This marks the first time users can purchase books directly through TikTok. While many users are excited they can buy trending books through the app, there are those who are understandably worried. Some users are worried about what this increased commercialism means for the future of BookTok.
TikTok user TheLibbyRuth said, “While I enjoy content created by businesses, I think the best part about TikTok is the authentic and unpolished aspect of it, and I would hate to see it become overly commercialized, especially with the lack of diversity in publishing.”
Another user, zai_rambles, says while TikTok Shop is a good thing, it needs some work. Zai_rambles makes recommendations for books by and about Black people. She says TikTok Shop does feature a lot of popular and trending titles, but lacks diversity.
“There are very popular books there, yes, but I’m finding that most of the books that I recommend or that I want to read are not on TikTok bookshop,” zai_rambles said.
According to zai_rambles, BookTok’s diversity in user recommendations is what makes the TikTok community “so beautiful.” To be successful, she says TikTok Shop’s book offerings need to reflect that.
What do you think about TikTok’s new book-buying feature? Keep up with the latest BookTok happenings here at Bookstr!