Reading has been one of the most therapeutic habits one can engage in since the first book was written. Books have always helped people in more ways than one. Hence, it is no surprise that books were also a constant companion during the raging pandemic. The coping mechanisms during the pandemic changed every few months going from TikTok Dances to Dalgona Coffee to Ludo, the famous One-pot mac and cheese, then Wordle and now that things are gradually going back to normal, we have an onset of ‘Outfit Of The Day’ videos all over Instagram.
However, the only things that have been a constant during these three years are books, all the credit for this feat goes to TikTok, and Instagram reels.
BookTok, Bookstagram, BookTwt, BookTube: BookTok, Bookstagram, BookTwt, and BookTube are the names accepted by the communities that talk about books on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube respectively. There are ‘influencers’ in the communities who have thousands of followers and subscribers. The communities are entirely a personal corner of the internet themselves.
The craze and origins over this unique corner of the internet can be traced back to the April of 2020 when the subculture called Dark Academia was at its peak influential era. That one tiny period of time gave birth to these communities which are just one united front for readers and booklovers. People started making more reels and TikTok videos about books, which sparked curiosity amongst others and hence, began the cycle of reels, tweets, posts, and accounts that are entirely dedicated to books. The exposure received by these social media posts helped propel the interest in books further, with some authors and genres rising above the others.
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Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult, and Historical Fiction are the most prolific genres in the communities with Colleen Hoover’s books and presence being given more importance than others are where romance is concerned. Almost every other person, who is a part of the community has read her works and owns all her books. YouTubers whose content deal with mostly books have been attracting a large audience owing to their longer videos which gives them an opportunity to break down the topic and contents of the books into intricate details without giving away the entire plot in order to promote and keep interest alive.
This Exposure Leading To A Surge In Books Being Printed: It is an accepted fact that social media is the best advertisement tool one can hope for. Social Media has launched careers and propelled them to rise beyond recognition. Hence, the effect social media has had on the sale of books in 2021 is not surprising to anyone.
Marketing has always been a sore topic for self-published authors owing to a limited budget for advertising or an inexperienced PR team who cannot be funded for massive book launches and promotions. Everyone who partakes in creating something, especially authors and artists, has only one goal in mind: How do I attract more people to my product? The key goal for marketing is to figure out where one’s target audience lies and figure out a way to reach them. Reportedly, a billion people use social media every single day. An author does not need to figure out a strategy to locate their target readership. It is correctly assumed that they are already present amongst the sea of people using the applications every day.
TikTok and Instagram reels take away the added stress of figuring out where the market lies. The only thing one needs to focus on while posting on either of the platforms is to study the algorithm and the usage of hashtags to make sure your post appears to as many people as possible. TikTok’s influence began in the early 2020, which showed a rise in books demanded of the Young Adult genre. However, it did not stay limited there and spread over books, which belonged to the Adult Fiction and the Adult Non-Fiction genres as well. Adult Fiction led the growth in 2021 with a 25% gain in sales as compared to the previous year!
TikTok exposed thousands of books and many more authors to the world simply by users sharing their love for their favourite books, which essentially led to 2021 being the year when most books were printed. The US print book market went up by 9% while 125 million more copies of books were sold in 2021 as compared to 2019. Social Media is the perfect example of how communities and lives can change in no time. The current craze for books leads one to hope that more upcoming authors are inspired and see this as an opportunity to put their work out into the world.