All About #BookTok

Written by Shelby, staff member, Halifax Central Library, opens a new window

Did you know that there is a huge reading community on TikTok, opens a new window? If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon quite yet, TikToks are short videos—no more than three minutes long—that feature a wide range of user-generated content. TikTok is great for showcasing dances, comedy skits, pet videos, sharing political messages, and pretty much anything else other social media platforms can be used for! 

Considering all this, it seems like books and TikTok would be completely separate from each other. And yet, there is a large reader culture on TikTok: BookTok! Here are some of the creative ways TikTokers are making book-related content.

The storytime

TikTok has an interesting trend where a speaker tells a story (usually from inside their car) about something that happened to them. These stories can be about anything! Maybe a fight they had with a customer, an awkward encounter with their crush, or a lesson they taught their children. BookTokers have used this trend something called a “Book Talk” (different from BookTok). They tell a story as if it’s from their perspective only to reveal their story is the premise for a novel you should really read! Here are some examples: 

“Alright so my sister just got married and everyone at the wedding - literally every single person - got food poisoning from the buffet except for me and the best man because I didn’t want to eat the buffet and I guess he didn’t either. But so now there’s this honeymoon that is already paid for - non-refundable - that my sister and her husband can’t go on so they’re asking me and the best man who… I literally hate him, like he’s so annoying… to go on this honeymoon together! Like, I’m going to have a spend a week with the person who I probably hate most in the world… And that’s the Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren check it out!” —@lauryns_library, opens a new window.

The Unhoneymooners

“6 years ago today, my boyfriend broke up with me on April Fool’s Day. I thought it was a joke, but he told me that it wasn’t. It blindsided me and broke my heart. So my best friend convinced me to go to a bar, and I met a guy. And we had insane chemistry so we decided to go home together but we wouldn’t exchange last names or contact information. I ended up pregnant. When I went back to his apartment to tell him, he had moved. So fast forward to now, and my daughter needs emergency surgery. And guess who is her surgeon. Only, he doesn’t know it’s his daughter he’s operating on and I’m going to have to tell him. If you want to know how it goes, read the book!” —@authorjenmill, opens a new window.

The aesthetic

These kinds of TikToks will show many images in succession featuring certain colours or landscapes so that the watcher can understand the vibe of the book. It’s like a moving mood board! Consider this: are you in the mood to read a book like this?


Or this?

Check out the trend for yourself with this TikTok by @alifeofliterature, opens a new window.

We Were Liars

The list 

The list trend is a classic on BookTok! The creator recommends books based on some criteria like “Here are 5 books that will make you SOB,” or “books I think everyone should read once in their life.”

The unboxing

This trend is a bit unconventional since most books are not “wrapped” or “boxed” in any way, but that makes it extra special when you get to enjoy an unboxing of a special edition book. Check out this TikTok by @amysbooknook, opens a new window, unboxing The Octunnumi by Trevor Alan Foris.

The meme

Basically funny videos about reading. Readers can relate. 

“You know when you read a book you’re just sitting there holding a dead piece of tree and hallucinating in your room?” —@yoleenadadong, opens a new window 

When all your Libby holds become available at once and you have to read 10 books in 21 days.

Things that bookworms do:

Consulting the imaginary camera

The “they finally kissed”

Avoiding anymore secondhand embarrassment

Celebrating an empowering moment

The spaces

These amazing TikTok's take you on a tour of beautiful book spaces. Whether it’s a cozy book nook, an expansive book store, or an ancient library. You’ll feel like you’re right there.

The #BookHaul

A great set of TikToks, this trend shows people unpacking their book orders. Seeing those crisp books fresh out of a box will give you that secondhand post-shopping bliss.

The experience

This is one of the less humorous depictions of how readers experience books. Check out this TikTok where the reader and viewer are experiencing an entire setting until we’re suddenly wrenched out of that world to realize the TikToker is reading a book. 

Have you ever had such an intense and immersive reading experience that you forgot about your own reality? So has @hermansellen., opens a new window

The organizer

You’ll certainly enjoy the oddly satisfying TikToks of people organizing their bookshelves. There’s just something fulfilling about seeing books perfectly filling the spaces made just for them. 

Or check out this unconventional shelf by @kingcrybaby, opens a new window! Once you see it, you’ll have to have one yourself.

Now that you’re up-to-date on #BookTok culture, check out our official Halifax Public Libraries TikTok, @hfxpublib., opens a new window

We're coming up with lots of creative ideas to keep you entertained, so be sure to follow us for some Library fun, book recommendations, and more! 

More reading inspired by BookTok


List created by HfxPL_Adults

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