The Book Tok Phenomenon

The February 1 issue of the Daily Telegraph carried an article by Anita Singh under the title “‘Book Tok’ inspires young readers to get reading.”

Muck Rack says that Anita Singh is “Daily Telegraph arts and entertainment editor. TV critic. Bradfordian. “

Ms Singh writes, “The rise of Book Tok is driving teenagers and young adults into bookshops in numbers not seen since the Harry Potter years, according to the head of Waterstones. Sales are booming after being recommended by influencers on Tik Tok, the social media app – but some classics are also becoming unlikely viral sensations. ‘These last three or four weeks in the United States, James Joyce’s Ulysses had been a significant seller because on Tik Tok, the kids are getting excited about it,’ said James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones and chief executive of the US chain Barnes & Noble.

“The #BookTok has tag has had 37.4 billion views and popular influencers tend to be young women, mostly recommending books by female authors. Mr Daunt said they were helping to make bookshops popular with young people, reminding him of the decade 1997-2007 which saw publication of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. ‘It’s back to that kind of energy in our stores. Our challenge now is that we absolutely have to keep those customers, as we did with the Harry Potter generation. It stepped booksellers up and it stepped book sales up,’ Mr Daunt told a bookselling conference in Italy.

“Waterstones runs its own Tik Tok account as a marketing tool, and Mr Daunt explained: ‘It’s about fun and enjoyment and enthusiasm and the people doing it brilliantly are of the same generation – it’s our young booksellers, and we let them get on with it.’ He joked: ‘We have generally found that the people with blue hair do better than the people with sensible haircuts.’

“Barnes & Noble has dedicated a section of its website to books recommended on Tick Tok. Even W H Smith groups some of its books under the tag ‘Tik Tok made me buy it.’

The New York Times reported on the phenomenon with the headline ‘How Crying on Tik Tok sells books, noting that tear-jerking novels were particularly popular.

“One of the most popular British ‘Book Tok’ stars is 22-year-old Abby Parker, who has amassed 428,000 followers. She told Amazon last year: ‘I’ve always dreamed of sharing my love for books with the world and Tik Tok has finally been my gateway into doing just that. Getting completely involved with the book community this past year has been truly one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life.'”

I think we should congratulate Abby and her colleagues for spreading her book enthusiasm to young people.

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