The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s BookTok week here at Her Campus UCSC, super exciting. For those of you who don’t know, BookTok is but the latest iteration of book fans uniting over social media. I thought it would be interesting to look at the evolution of book communities at different social media platforms. But, I think it is important to talk about what makes these communities first.
For the most part, these sectors of the internet are communities of dedicated and, quite frankly, nerdy individuals who love to read and wish to share that love with other people. Usually, this means book reviews, read-a-longs, and aesthetic pictures and videos. Like any internet based community, these book-centered subcultures can sometimes be rude and toxic, so please tread lightly and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
Now, I’m going to be honest. I have been a part of every single one of these communities, either as a viewer or creator. I had a Bookstagram and Bookblr and even tried to start a BookTube account. Alas, I couldn’t figure out how to edit the videos so that never really came to fruition.
Even so, I am just one of hundreds of thousands of others in these communities. What I think is really interesting, though, is how and when these bookish communities pop up. The development of these book subcultures directly correlates to the rise of popularity of a certain social media platform. When YouTube was at its height, that was when BookTube was the most popular. Now that TikTok has risen as the dominant social media platform today, BookTok is what is currently the most active and up-to-date bookish community.
In addition to the previously mentioned Booktube, Bookblr (Tumblr), and Bookstagram (Instagram), there was also Booktwt (twitter). While these communities are still around, they are not as active or involved as BookTok is right now. Another interesting phenomenon in all these communities is the popular book cycle. To put it plainly, this is when a highly anticipated book came out, lets say, 5 years ago and blew up on BookTube or another bookish subgroup.
Now, 5 years later, that same book is rising in popularity again, as Booktokkers rediscover it and share it with their friends and followers. This has happened to a lot of books in all of these communities. Personally, I believe that it’s because many Booktokkers today were a part of the other bookish communities on the other social media platforms, either as creators or viewers. So, they saw the hype when these books came out.
Maybe they read them, maybe they didn’t. But, when it comes time to make a TikTok on “10 books to read during Halloween” or something like that, they remember a book they heard about a few years ago and include it in their video. Regardless, all these communities are intertwined and inspire one another.
Hot take, but I think BookTok and these other bookish subgroups are important sectors of the internet. For me, at least, I didn’t have very many friends that read with the passion or voraciousness that I did. These small and dedicated communities gave me a sense of belonging that I didn’t have in my real life.
If you love BookTok, or books in general, maybe try making a video of your favorites and post it! Who knows, you might just find a home on a small corner of the internet.