#BookTok: The “hashtag” that turns a book into a bestseller

If there is a phenomenon that has revolutionized the publishing industry in recent times, this is it hashtag # Facebook Tok That is, with 122 billion views Tik Tokhad become The largest book club in history. But to understand this current well, it is first necessary to dismantle some myths.

Contrary to what many might assume, Young people read (Actually, according to A measure of reading and book buying habits in Spain 2022), it is children and adolescents who read the most in Spain, and social networks do not threaten this appetite for reading, but rather stimulate it.

This is particularly the case since the pandemic and successive lockdowns, when book clubs went through a second golden age that is far from over: Acquaintances and strangers read, share and comment on addressesIt is usually associated with its ability to develop intellect and create community, bonds, and feelings of belonging.

According to a study conducted by SM, 80% of young people confirmed that books helped them cope better with this situation. Thus, at the end of 2020, the hashtag #BookTok was used for the first time on TikTok. Gen Z’s favorite social network, The freest group was born between 1994 and 2010. With more than 1.51 million monthly active users around the world, TikTok is more than just a social network for young people who, according to New York timesThey prefer it over other search engines: To give us an idea, any young person can live their digital life on TikTok, without the need for Google, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

In it AGORA exclusively young people – whose videos in 2020 were less than a minute long – appeared coyly hashtag Users have spoken out about literary phobias and phobias with claims so few that some of the first videos dealt with how to position books to decorate them better. but hashtag It was so much more: creative, emotionally engaging videos with unexpected endings; playlists to accompany the reading; Declarations of love for the characters .. and suddenly Books that had been on the market for some time were seeing a boom in sales: We were liars (Salamander), by E. Lockhart, was a modest hit in 2014, but #BookTok made it through best seller worldwide and it was recently announced Amazon Prime Video It will turn a plot into a series.

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The literary industry has not been slow to realize the potential of this network in general and hashtag particularly. Book and audio book platform scribd It claims to have seen up to 75% more demand from the most mentioned titles on TikTok. Almost all ratings and many writers have their own channel on this young social network. The recent edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair was TikTok one of its partners for the first time while the Monterrey International Book Fair Organized a panel of experts to talk thoroughly about #BookTok. According to the study The power of TikTok67% of users who use an extension hashtag Over 25 years old. “#BookTok has become a place where books are recommended or discovered, but also where criticism is shared or fan culture is exploited,” says Tobias Henning, Head of TikTok Germany and Western and Eastern Europe. joint activity.

Publishers and Generation Z

Alex Gomez CollinsDirector of Marketing and Communications at Grupo Anaya, admits to EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA that, of all the company’s brands, “we are very familiar with the scope of hashtag #pockettalk And we use it regularly with very positive results. However, we must not lose sight of the reader behind each book or fall into the idea that any title’s description is a panacea.”

In their case, thanks to the descriptive power of TikTok, they’ve figured out how to sell The chemistry of love And hypothesis of love to Ali Hazelwoodand based on Achilles song And Circe to Madeline Miller. The latter is a typical case: published in 2012, it was recommended by user aymansbooks (one of the pioneers of #BookTok) and has been selling around 10,000 copies per week.

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Evidence of the importance we place on TikTok is that we have opened our own channel on this social network, Hablamos de Libros, which brings together all the stamps of the Anaya Group (Alianza Editorial, Cátedra, Adn, Oberon, Contraluz, Anaya Infantil y Juvenil, Bruño & mldr;) and where we include relevant books from our posters for that specific audience,” says Gomez-Collins. He also noticed a strange phenomenon:Generation Z discovers books on social networks, but goes to bookstores to buy paper books. They want to see the books physically. Reasons? Fixed price for books does not mean platforms Connected A competitive advantage, and on the other hand they like to physically discover the book and evaluate its release. They also have time to go to libraries.

match it Augustine Paz —Head of Social Networking and Online Events in the Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial—when responding “Various studies of new reading habits confirm that Gen Z loves to read and that RRSS is their favorite place to get information. That’s why it’s so important to prescriber’s recommendations.” as “book brokers”, “book writers”, or “book professionals”.

Baz confirms how useful it is hashtag To reach younger readers: “Al uso del hashtag #booktok, we add #booktokespaña -which has more than 422 million views- to place our books and participate in the conversation; We want to connect with our readers and will be close to any account or channel that talks about books.”

Penguin Random House manages to connect with young audiences by pressing different keys. Authors Wattpad from Montina “They have legions of fans, but we also work in other non-fiction genres like self-help, cooking, wellness, and comics, or in fiction, excitement And crime novels also have their own space and audience,” concludes Paz.

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New stamps for new readers

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The high percentage of young adults who read (and use TikTok to broaden their recommendations) support creating profiles TBR Editoriala new youth label created by and for youth with current authors and themes (fantasy, romance, vampires, mystery, urban poetry, feminism, empowerment, body positivecockfight, illustration …). Sergio Martinez Vallegera, In charge of marketing at TBR, he explains to this newspaper that “Actually, #Booktok, as far as hashtag As a community, it is very popular. Using it helps position yourself and reach more people. However, for the birth of our brand accounts, we’ve been studying and testing the power that our new brand and editorial firsts can have without joining in. hashtagto verify that our campaign Teaser He succeeds when it comes to generating expectations. But now that we’ve made ourselves known, we’ll consider entering the conversation with hashtag #booktok, because we are sure it will help us continue to grow. The wide reach that TikTok allows you to get is very good and is making us reach a number of readers with our books that we couldn’t even dream of years ago.“.

He also adds that this social network is what best guides the fan phenomenon: “When a book comes out in the US and it’s very successful, it goes viral. Sometimes titles that came out years ago are rescued and suddenly come back to life.” He’s made famous thanks to the recommendations he gives. Readers are on TikTok, which is really a good indicator as to whether this book will succeed in the market, because they are already looking forward to getting it even before it is published.”

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