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How Booktok is Making Reading “Cool” Again

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Let’s be honest, reading has always been cool but now the rest of the internet knows it too. With the rise in boredom during the first round of quarantine in early 2020, came the rise of the social media app Tiktok. The app consists of short-form videos that will take up most of your time with little use of brain cells. It’s no wonder that Tiktok has expanded into different communities, or “sides”, and one of the biggest communities on the platform is Booktok. Booktok is a community of readers who not only share recommendations but create content for specific book fandoms and connect readers from all over the world together. 

Though Booktok is more popularized, its predecessors Booktube (reader community on YouTube) and Bookstagram (you get the gist) have also seen a rise in popularity due to Booktok. These creators and their content allow for consumers (you) to feel a sense of togetherness and group. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than finishing a slow-burn romance novel, looking up from the book, and having nowhere to discuss, cry, scream and rant all at once. Booktok creates parasocial relationships where viewers and creators alike feel connected by the books they read, creating a bestie-like friendship sparked by mutually read books and shared “Book Boyfriends” (mine is Gus from Beach Read). 

It is this sense of community that creates the hype around the books popularized on Booktok. Popular books on Booktok are well known because of the trusting relationships that creators have with their audience; the creator reads a book that they love, makes a TikTok about it, and later their audience goes on to buy it to feel the way the creator felt after reading it. This cycle continues until the book is infamous on the app and you get weird stares when you mention that you haven’t read it yet (ahem,  My Year of Rest and Relaxation). Booktok at the hands of people who have never or have rarely ever read for pleasure makes for an interesting turn of events. Like Tiktok itself, the Booktok side has become so large in scale that it has been broken up into smaller communities. 

There’s a Booktok side for specific book series, contemporary romances, fantasy books, different creators that share their fanart, fanfiction, and even cosplay as the characters they read about. This community brings out the most creative side of people, allowing them to finally have an outlet for the things they previously had to keep to themselves. New readers have a variety of genres and social “sides” of TikTok, that there is truly something for everyone.
The book community on TikTok is an amazing place to perfect your reading palate or even to use as a beginner’s guide to reading for pleasure. I have found a mountain of amazing recommendations and a few of my favorite books on Booktok.

With all that being said, here are some of my favorite books I’ve found through Booktok:  Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Brown Sisters Trilogy by Talia Hibbert, and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E Schwab. You’ll thank me later.

Luisa Colón is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. They are currently studying English Literature. Besides the usual long walks on the beach, she enjoys reading romance novels, updating their bookstagram, and starting (but never finishing) crochet projects. We know you'll love her, xoxo HC.
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