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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

As a proud member of Gen-Z, it should come as no surprise that I love a good scroll on TikTok. From Hobama edits and music reviews to OOTDs and comedy, I am always sure to find something entertaining. One side of TikTok I especially enjoy is the reading content, known as BookTok. Since March is National Reading Month, this feels like the perfect time to delve into BookTok in a bit more detail.

The first question to answer is, of course, what is BookTok? At its core, BookTok is a TikTok subcommunity concerning all things literary. A quick TikTok search of the phrase will pull up a huge selection of book-related videos, ranging from creators’ all-time favorite reads to honest reviews of popular works and lists of all the books the creator hopes to read in the upcoming month (known as a “TBR”).

Given that it is a place for readers of all kinds to come together and discuss their reading activities, BookTok plays a major role in shaping literary trends. On TikTok, #BookTok has over 111 billion views. The community is so influential that many bookstores, including the well-known chain Barnes and Noble, often have #BookTok displays. Here, they exhibit books that are currently at the forefront of the BookTok community.

Some of the best books I have read are ones that reached me through BookTok, such as Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Lily King’s Writers and Lovers.

Overall, I am a fan of the BookTok community. For one, I think it is a great way for readers to find a community of people they can share their interests with. Given TikTok’s wide reach, it is much more likely to find someone else interested in the same niche genre or book as you on the platform, than it may be to find someone in your neighborhood.

While reading is a very personal practice and not everyone enjoys discussing their reads with other people, I think it is wonderful for people to have the option, even if they never pursue it. With shared interests often providing a solid foundation for friendships, BookTok is a great way for people to make friends who share their love of books.

Something else I love about BookTok is that, because of how big it is, there is always more to discover. I mean this in terms of both books and genres.

While this is somewhat controversial, I personally love how BookTok has reintroduced reading to younger generations. When I was in middle and even early high school, I cannot recall my friends and I doing much reading. While this was partly because of how busy our lives were between school, friends, and extracurriculars, I think it can also be attributed to the nature of social media and the internet at the time. There wasn’t much talk of reading, meaning it wasn’t seen as very cool. Therefore, we kind of just stopped doing it.

However, now that BookTok has become a massive sector of TikTok, young people online are being exposed to the idea that reading is cool. I have personally witnessed younger people in my life get into reading for this very reason. Although some people argue that reading just for the sake of it is not productive, I am of the opinion that exposing yourself to other ideas and worlds (at least to an extent) is always a good thing.

While I have mostly good things to say about BookTok, there are a couple of things that I am not the hugest fan of. I believe that sometimes TBRs and monthly wrap-ups of everything a creator has read in a month can be discouraging to those people just getting into reading or those with busy schedules. For this reason, I think it is important to diversify the BookTok creators you follow, as incorporating some with similar reading habits into your feed can help you stay motivated and encouraged. Nevertheless, the lengthy TBRs and wrap-ups can be great ways to discover new titles that interest you.

Another thing I am critical of BookTok for is it does sometimes bring problematic books into the mainstream. One such example of this is It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, which many criticize for its romanticization of abuse. While I will say that I have not personally read the book (for this very reason), it is a common thing that people point out. This becomes especially problematic when we consider the aforementioned point that BookTok reaches many young people. Thus I think it is smart to look up content warnings before starting anything new, regardless of age.

On the whole, I am a huge fan of BookTok. I love how it exposes me to titles I would never otherwise think of reading, while also showing me what is currently popular. I appreciate its balance between surface-level content and nuanced analysis, and I love that it is exposing younger generations to the joy of reading given that it was at their age that I stopped. I encourage you to take a look this Spring Break, and find a way to spend your downtime! While there are a couple more unfavorable aspects of the community, I think it is overall one worth checking out for National Reading Month.

Hi, I'm Sloan, and I'm a second-year sociology major at UCSB! I love the beach, music, going to the gym, and cats. I am interested in mental health, fashion, sports, and so much more. I can't wait to share my passions with you through Her Campus!