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TikTok is leaning into the ‘BookTok’ trend via a new partnership with Penguin Random House which will enable users to tag books within their TikTok clips.

As you can see in this explainer (posted by @KimmyBookss), there’s now a new option in the creation flow to add a link to a book, which then enables you to search for a book, by title, to connect to your clip.

TikTok books

Once you add a book, that link will then refer your viewers to a dedicated page with details about that title, including a brief summary, and a collection of other TikTok clips that have linked to the same, making it easy to glean further insight into the book based on what other TikTok users are saying.

As explained by TikTok:

“Users in the US and UK can now access the BookTok feature by clicking “Add Link” and searching for “Book” before posting their video. Users can tag any Penguin Random House title available in their respective country and once the video is posted, the selected title(s) will be featured above the captions.”

In addition to this, TikTok’s also giving users the option to save titles to their Favorites tab on their profile, to provide a display of all of their favorite books.

TikTok books

BookTok is one of the most popular hashtags in the app, with over 77 billion views to date, and as with all elements of popular culture, TikTok has now become a key promotional consideration for the latest titles, with TikTok discussion directly credited with boosting book sales in recent years.

As reported by Elle:

Over the course of the pandemic, book sales have skyrocketed. According to Forbes and NPD Bookscan, the U.S. print book market is up nine percent compared to 2020. This recent spike in sales has been greatly attributed to TikTok’s reader-centric community BookTok.”

What TikTok has done for Fleetwood Mac record sales, it’s also done for many books – and as such, it makes sense for publishers to align with the app however they can to maximize discussion and engagement.

Ideally, this would become a bigger focus for TikTok, in encouraging more beneficial, positive behaviors and trends. In China, Douyin, the local version of TikTok, explicitly seeks to promote ‘positive energy’, which is in alignment with the Chinese Government’s focus on highlighting beneficial behaviors and trends amongst the youth, as opposed to ‘vulgarity’.

I would say, on TikTok, that the latter is far more popular, and it would be good to see TikTok looking to connect the dopamine rush of online engagement with more aspirational achievements like reading.

BookTok is a good example of how it can be a force of good in this respect, and this partnership is a positive step, while it also provides another promotional avenue for writers, publishers and booksellers as they look to connect with audiences in the app.