World Book Day is an annual celebration of books and all things reading. This year, it falls on Thursday 2nd March and is likely to be celebrated in over 100 countries around the world.

The traditional celebration typically involves events and activities organised by schools and libraries to encourage young people to develop a love of reading. However, as most things have, World Book Day has now found itself on social media. In anticipation of what we are going to see over the next few days, let’s dive into what World Book Day looks like on social media, specifically #BookTok.

Social Media Communities- Take a page out of someone else’s book

There are a variety of ways in which World Book Day has been celebrated on social media in recent years. For example, book-lover communities. Social media has been a great way for bookworms to connect with fellow page-turners. There are some great social media platforms for reading communities, such as:

  • Facebook, e.g. Gals who read, a place where 230K gals discuss and recommend books to each other and hold a monthly book club on zoom.
  • Reddit, e.g. r/bookshelf, where users post their collections of books, with some very aesthetically pleasing book shelves.
  • Discord, e.g. Book Lovers Club which is a server for those who love all genres of books.

TikTok made me buy it- I only have myshelf to blame

When you think of TikTok, the word ‘community’ may not be the first word that comes to mind. (I guess it depends on what side of TikTok you are on). Yet, many people find a sense of community based on certain hashtags. We are all very aware of how targeted and relevant our For You Page can be, which can be influenced by certain hashtags. #BookTok is no exception.

There is a community of book lovers on TikTok who share their favourite books, recommendations, and reviews with each other. The type of content created can vary, from book hauls to reading vlogs or book reviews. Essentially, #BookTok is a space for bookworms alike to come together and connect on their shared passion and love for reading. However, it is also a huge cultural phenomenon. Thanks to #BookTok, certain books and authors have gained viral popularity through TikTok.

A notable example of this is “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera. This book saw significant boosts in sales after its surge in popularity on TikTok. The platform had that much influence, you will often see the title advertised as ‘They Both Die at the End: TikTok made me buy it!’. Currently, #theybothdieattheend has 94 million views on TikTok and the book is an international no.1 bestselling book. Ah, the power of TikTok!

Inclusivity and Diversity- Stay true to your shelf

Many #BookTok creators have used TikTok to champion books that have been written by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented authors in the publishing industry. This has helped to shift the narrative (see what I did there?) around the types of stories that are celebrated in today’s society.

Criticisms of #BookTok- It was bound to happen

Whilst it is clear that #BookTok can literally change people’s lives and have a great, positive impact on the world, it is not without its criticisms. Some argue that TikTok has resulted in a rise in performative reading and some people only decide to read a book because it is deemed ‘popular’ on social media. Others worry that the literary landscape could narrow as a result of #BookTok if the popular books are just those spoken about online. Some say it could prevent people from exploring a wider range of literature. 

Whatever your opinion is, it is undeniable that #BookTok has clearly had a profound influence on the publishing industry and has almost created a whole new culture of reading- be that a good or bad thing. Readers are able to come together on many social media platforms in a fun and accessible way.

So, with World Book Day around the corner, why not search #BookTok and see if you can fall in love with a book recommended to you on TikTok?

Tinisha Osu is a Marketing Executive with two degrees in Psychology. She is the first-author of a published psychology paper and is beginning her career in marketing through blog-writing, creating social media content and running marketing campaigns.