The UK’s Publishers Association reported that book sales increased by 5% in 2021, thanks to BookTok. Nigel Newton, the CEO of Bloomsbury Publishing, attributed 220% of its business’ profit in 2021 to TikTok.
According to a survey conducted in May 2023, 48% of TikTok users in the US and 53% of Canadian users reported reading significantly more because of BookTok. A 2022 Forbes article reported a 9% surge in book sales, largely attributed to TikTok.
All in all, BookTok has revived the reading culture, leading to more authors, more readers, and more book sales.
However, a new analysis conducted by BookScan suggests BookTok’s effect on book sales is fading. Probably, BookTok has reached its zenith. As per the findings of the analysis, sales for the BookTok authors’ BookScan recorded a drop of nearly 4.5%. Compared to July 2021–July 2022, the timeframe when a 9% increase in sales of adult books was recorded, July 2023 remained stagnant, and young adult titles dropped from 4% to 1% this year.
According to BookScan analyst Kristen McLean, monthly BookTok author sales comps for the remainder of 2023 will be below 2022 levels, while final sales will stay close to the 2022 totals. In 2022, which is the first year when BookTok tracked BookTok authors, book sales for authors who made sales of 13 million copies skyrocketed to 27 million copies in 2021.
The decline can be attributed to the fact that people read more books when the pandemic started, which resulted in more book reading and the surging popularity of platforms like BookTok.
So, it’s apparent that BookTok sales are softening. But it still remains an important platform to find new writers. McLean says:
BookTok is really, really important for book discovery.
In today’s social media age, BookTok is still an important place to find books for younger readers.
Although the top 10 BookTok authors are still seeing big numbers, it’s not true for other authors, especially newer ones. So, the BookTok community seems to be less engaging in capturing new authors.