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A Beginner’s Guide to #BookTok

Stumped by the phenomenon that is #booktok? Well, we are here to make it easy to understand! Let’s start at the beginning.

What is #BookTok?

In short, BookTok is a community of users on TikTok who are passionate about books and literature.

In not so few words, BookTok, an abbreviation for “Book TikTok,” represents a vibrant community within TikTok comprising individuals who share a deep passion for books and literature. Through the creation of engaging videos centered around their reading experiences, this community has pioneered a unique approach to discussing, reviewing, and recommending books, causing a significant impact on the literary and publishing realms.

Originating as a simple hashtag on TikTok, BookTok rapidly evolved into a widespread trend, solidifying its status as one of the largest social media communities dedicated to books globally. Boasting over 29.1 billion views, BookTok has garnered immense popularity, with major retailers like Exclusive Books and Bargain Books carving out dedicated sections for the BookTok community.

Much like the Bookstagrammers on Instagram, BookTokers have become influential figures, amassing devoted followers of literature enthusiasts worldwide. Leveraging their platform, these influencers actively promote their favorite books, introduce emerging authors, and engage in meaningful conversations with fellow readers.

Content creators on BookTok frequently share updates on their current reads, showcase their book hauls, and delve into discussions about characters within the books they are exploring. Additionally, they often share amusing anecdotes related to these characters.


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BookTok exhibits a pronounced emphasis on genres such as young adult fiction, fantasy, and romance. For those inclined towards these genres, this community proves to be an ideal space, offering a plethora of book recommendations and lively discussions on popular tropes like “enemies to lovers,” “morally gray villains,” and “right person wrong time.”

Where to start?

Check out these authors who have become #BookTok royalty:

Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is probably the queen of #BookTok. She has sold over 20 million copies of her books. CoHo, as she’s affectionally named, tends to write emotional romances, but has thrown in a thriller or two into her backlist. Some her titles that you might recognise are It Ends With Us, It Starts With Us, Verity, and Ugly Love.

Ali Hazelwood

Ali Hazelwood is well known for her rom coms that follow women in STEM. She is a neuroscience professor and started out writing Star Wars fanfiction. You might recognise The Love Hypothesis as her first book and Love on the Brain; Love, Theoretically; as well as her latest release Check and Mate.

Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles was one of the first big BookTok titles that can still be seen recommended on the app today. The author is known for her Greek mythology retellings and for winning the Women’s Fiction Prize. You might also recognise her other novel, Circe.

Sarah J. Maas

The next author is the queen of romantasy – Sarah J. Maas. She wrote her debut novel at the age of sixteen and is well known for three major fantasy series’. Sarah J Mass has written the Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses as well as the Crescent City series. Her most recent release is House of Flame and Shadow.

Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola won the 2023 BookTok Book of the Year award for Honey and Spice. She has a very hilarious online presence, and she will be in South Africa in May 2024. She has one other book which is a collection of short stories called Love in Colour.

Alice Oseman

The distinctive illustration style of the Heartstopper graphic novels is what Alice Oseman is most well known for. Additionally, the graphic novels have been turned into the popular Netflix series. Osman focuses on writing queer romance for teens. Solitaire and Radio Silence are among her full length novels.

Holly Jackson

Winning the BookTok Author of the Year is just one of the many accolades that Holly Jackson has been awarded. She is known for writing true-crime inspired YA thrillers that are highly addictive. Her most well known books are the A Good Girls Guide to Murder series and her standalone novel, Five Survive.

Tessa Bailey

Dubbed the “Michelangelo of dirty talk” (Entertainment Weekly), Tessa Bailey is known for writing steamy rom coms that will have you swooning. She is known for her Bellinger sister series that includes It Happened One Summer and Hook, Line, and Sinker. As well as her Vine Mess series which included Secretly Yours and Unfortunately Yours.

R.F. Kuang

R.F. Kuang was 22 years old when her debut, The Poppy War, was released. She is known for including anti-colonial themes in her books. The Poppy War series is known to be heart wrenching and Babel is no different. If fantasy is not your type of book, Yellowface is a satirical commentary on the publishing environment.

For more interesting BookTok content, follow the Jonathan Ball Publishers Tik Tok Page or check out some of the latest reviews of BookTok books.

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