Over the course of the past couple of years, the TikTok #BookTok category has captured the imaginations of young people everywhere and has promoted reading. Traditional bookstores have displays that promote the books that everyone has been talking about and even digital bookstores that sell ebooks have BookTok categories on their main page. This hashtag has been viewed almost 64.3 billion times and this has promoted TikTok to move beyond the hashtag and launch a monthly book club, where users can talk about the books.
The TikTok Book Club will be open to everyone, much like #BookTok is, but with an organized structure. Each month, a new book will be announced and community members can read along, being encouraged to “share their experiences” and thoughts. TikTok will also include a special hub dedicated to the Book Club within the app, where the month’s new title will be shared.
The first book in the TikTok Book Club will be Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which is a royalty free book that can be downloaded from websites such as Project Gutenberg. Persuasion tells the story of a second chance, the reawakening of love between Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth, whom eight years earlier she had been persuaded not to marry. Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with prize money and the social acceptability of naval rank. The Netflix adaptation of the novel arrived just last week and has consumed the internet. This is likely why this book was selected first.
I think it is a natural progression for TikTok to start an official book club. Right now, the hashtag shows no sign in abetting in popularity. I wonder how long it will be until TikTok starts their own bookstores. If anything, traditional booksellers like Barnes and Noble has capitalized on the #BookTok trend, because if you are watching a social media influencer talk about a new book they are reading, or a timeless classic, you might be more willing to pull the trigger and buy it too. If TikTok got into selling books, they might quickly become a juggernaut in the industry.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.