BookTok: Transforming the Literary Marketing Landscape

30 October 2023
Reading: 2 min

As someone who loves books and enjoys using TikTok, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of BookTok on the world of books and publishing. BookTok emerged in 2020 and quickly became a prominent part of the digital marketing landscape for the book industry. It started with simple videos about book recommendations and swaps, and it has evolved into a significant trendsetter in how books are promoted.

Many BookTok fans believe that this platform has shifted the balance in the book world, giving more power to readers rather than the often distant world of publishers and literary agents. As the user base of BookTok continues to grow, it has become one of TikTok’s most influential communities, fundamentally changing how books are sold and marketed in the literary world.

BookTok: Transforming the Literary Marketing Landscape

What is BookTok

BookTok is a subsection of TikTok, an application intended for the generation of concise videos. Its contributors, referred to as BookTokers, encompass a range of individuals from readers and writers to publishers, literary agents, and graphic designers. The main feature of BookTok is the provision of book evaluations and assessments. Furthermore, users are empowered to highlight book collections, contests, promotional offers, and ads. 

TikTok’s algorithm is not only designed to engage with the existing follower community, but also to bridge the gap with a broad array of authors and users who have common interests in the disseminated content. Pertaining specifically to BookTok, such content invariably pertains to books and topics linked with literature. These are ordinarily found on TikTok’s “For You” page (FYP) which is personalized and incorporated with a multitude of BookTok hashtags.

BookTok has created a unique space that allows readers and authors, who might not have connected otherwise, to interact. These diverse groups engage in direct conversations through the app, exchanging updates, suggestions, and most crucially, sharing their passion for books!

BookTok: Transforming the Literary Marketing Landscape

BookTok’s impact

In what ways does BookTok impact trends in the book retail and publishing industry?

  • Primarily, as a book garners more discussions among readers, it stirs up greater buying interest among the audience. These books find new life as they are purchased, redesigned with fresh covers and additional print runs, adapted into TV shows or films, and followed up with eagerly-anticipated sequels or extensions of existing series. The authors experience similar transformations, with indie writers suddenly landing contracts with mainstream publishers, and veteran authors publishing at an expedited rate. 

The growth in the demand for BookTok content gives rise to a subsequent increase in the speed of their availability in bookstores. 

  • BookTok has also piqued the attention of publishers who view it as a potent advertising platform, leading to the utilization of literary networks rooted in this platform. Renowned publishing houses, such as Penguin Books, have ventured onto TikTok with dedicated accounts and consistently engage with the content and authors on BookTok. Furthermore, these publishers collaborate with their authors on the app to craft more innate content, execute focused campaigns, and team up with influential figures on BookTok.

BookTok: Transforming the Literary Marketing Landscape

Book marketing campaigns on BookTok

BookTok has become a powerful marketing tool for authors and publishers. Here are some strategies you can use to run successful book marketing campaigns on BookTok:

  • Understand the platform. Before starting your campaign, understand the dynamics of the platform, the type of content it supports, its major influencers in the genre, and the types of interactions that occur.
  • Create engaging content. The success of your campaign depends on how engaging and compelling your content is. This could range from snippets of your book or behind-the-scenes content to author Q&A and book recommendations. What’s important is to be creative and genuine. 
  • Use relevant #hashtags. Proper use of hashtags can increase the reach of your post. Common BookTok hashtags include #BookTok, #BookReview, #BookRecommendation, etc. You could also explore using specific genre-related tags, like #FantasyBooks or #RomanceBooks.
  • Collaborate with influencers. Collaborating with BookTok influencers who cater to your target audience can be a powerful method of engaging potential readers. Send them a copy of the book for an honest review, or even conduct a dual live session where you discuss your book with the influencer.
  • Host giveaways. Giveaways are a great method to increase engagement and visibility. For example, you could give away signed copies of books, merch, or even organize a meet and greet. Encourage users to tag others, share the post, or perform other actions that further increase your reach.
  • Respond and engage. Engage with your audience by responding to their comments and feedback. This not only helps to build a relationship with your audience but also increases the likelihood of your content being pushed by TikTok’s algorithm.
  • Engage with book clubs. Many BookTok users participate in or run book clubs. If you can get your book selected for one of these clubs, you could reach a wide audience all at once.

BookTok: Transforming the Literary Marketing Landscape

  • Be consistent. Consistency is key on most social media platforms, and TikTok is no exception. You don’t have to post daily, but a regular schedule helps retain your audience and attract new fans.
  • Stay updated with trends. BookTok has its own trends, challenges, and memes. Stay updated with these and creatively incorporate them into your content to increase engagement.
  • Cross-promote. Make sure to cross-promote your TikTok content on other social platforms, your website, your mailing list, and so forth. Using multiple channels for promotion can help increase your reach.

Running a successful book marketing campaign on BookTok can require being willing to experiment with different strategies, but the potential payoff is large given the platform’s young and enthusiastic user base.


BookTok is revolutionizing book marketing and reader engagement, establishing itself as a major player in the publishing industry. With its strong connection to readers and innovative marketing techniques, it’s shaping the future of book sales and industry trends. BookTok goes beyond selling books; it’s forging unique connections between authors and readers, enriching our cultural landscape, and inscribing a new chapter in the history of literature.

Have a story to tell about traffic arbitrage?
Become a ZorbasMedia contributor!
Become an author