Some of the most popular books right now are the ones being recommended online, specifically on YouTube or right on your For You page. But what exactly are “BookTok” and “BookTube”?
Both of these are the names of “bookish” communities on social media platforms TikTok and YouTube, respectively. Just like people film their clothing hauls and beauty tutorials, there is also a huge group of people online talking about books!
From book recommendations to reviews, these videos have gained a lot of popularity, especially over quarantine when everyone had a lot more free time on their hands to read.
Their impact is tremendous; Barnes and Noble now has a #BookTok table in stores that displays popular titles people are talking about. Authors are even starting to notice a bump in their book sales that they might not have had before the online exposure. Adam Silvera, for example, wrote the book “They Both Die at the End” four years ago. It originally landed on The New York Times Best Seller list for a few weeks. But now, years after publication, the book has skyrocketed to the top of The New York Times Young Adult Paperback list of best-sellers because of its resurgence on TikTok.
“I kept commenting to my readers, ‘Hey, don’t know what’s happening, but there’s been a surge in sales lately, so grateful that everybody’s finding the story years later,’” Silvera said to NBC News.
These videos are perfect for any book lover looking to join a community online, or someone who wants some recommendations. Since TikTok videos are capped at three minutes, with most being much shorter than that, there are endless videos to scroll through. In fact, #BookTok on the app has 22.1 BILLION views.
A little overwhelmed? No worries — VALLEY has gathered a list of some of our favorite creators on TikTok whose bookish videos are some of the best.
VALLEY’s Guide to BookTok:
This page is a perfect place to begin if you are new to reading or don’t know how to start. Mimi’s page consists of a lot of “if you liked this, then you’ll like this” types of videos! For example, she made a video recommending books based on songs from Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR” album. Or maybe you’re more of a visual person. If so, check out her video convincing you to read the very popular “Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid with a montage of photos that match the aesthetic of the story.
Kendra’s page has just about everything, whether you’re a seasoned reader or just starting out. Whether she’s fangirling over her favorite books, like “Beach Read” and “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry, or giving amazing recommendations for books with Black female protagonists, there’s something for everyone on her page.
If you’re looking forward to ~cracking up~ (just like the current trending TikTok sound), then you need to be following Ayman. Her videos are incredibly relatable for every reader out there and just hilarious to watch. She also has highlights on her page, one in particular called “Shut Up and Read this Book!” Ayman has a way of making you want to read every book she reads, and the quick reviews will have you on your way to the nearest bookstore before she is even done.
VALLEY’s Guide to BookTube:
If you’re in the mood for longer bookish videos, exit TikTok and head over to YouTube! VALLEY has compiled some of our favorite “BookTubers,” as they are called, for you to watch the next time you are in need of your next read or just want something new to watch.
Steph Bohrer (Steph Bohrer)
Steph has everything you could want all in one! If you are a fan of romance novels in particular, you will love her channel. She has amazing book recommendation videos, like this one that recommends books based on Taylor Swift songs. Steph clearly puts a lot of effort into her videos, from her favorite tropes to reading vlogs, her YouTube is the perfect place to start.
Joel Rochester (Fictional Fates)
Joel’s channel was started during the summer of 2020 and has gained 68,000 subscribers since then. Based in the United Kingdom, Joel’s channel is filled with fun videos to watch. Have you ever wanted to go book shopping in London? Watch his vlog to experience that right alongside him. Want to join a book club? He has one! Called “The Late Night Book Club,” you can tune into the live streams with him and fellow BookTubers Ellias and Noelle Gallagher.
Cindy’s channel is a chaotic but amazing mix of books, movies and television. The titles of her videos alone should be enough to make you want to watch. Cindy’s brutally honest reviews of books are hilarious and refreshing to see at the same time. Her videos are unique in the sense that she isn’t just sitting down and reviewing books. In this video, for example, she’s cooking and chatting while discussing the books she read that month. If you want a break from her book videos, Cindy’s reactions to movies are just as incredible, like this hilarious one where she watches “The Kissing Booth 3.”
For cozy, calming and aesthetically pleasing videos, Emmie’s channel is like a safe space for book lovers. Her videos exude comfort, like this one, where she recommends “wholesome, atmospheric autumn reads.” Emmie is also an English literature and classical studies student, so along with her book videos, she makes vlogs capturing her academic life. From motivational study videos to bookstore thrifting vlogs, her channel is a wonderful mix of everything you may be looking for.
Who are you going to follow or subscribe to for all of your bookish needs? Are you already on the way to Barnes and Noble? Let VALLEY know what book you want to read next by tagging us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter. Happy watching — and reading!