How BookTok is transforming Gen-Z reading habits

Research from the UK reveals the ways in which BookTok is playing a key role in getting Gen-Z reading again. 

Research from the Publishers Association in the UK has revealed the role that BookTok – the social media trend focusing on books and literature hosted on TikTok – is playing in influencing young people’s reading habits.

As of 2023, the BookTok hashtag is reported to have over 107 billion views globally, and is particularly popular with ‘Gen-Z’ users, born between 1996 and 2010.

Key findings of the report – which is based on a consumer research poll of 2,001 16–25 year olds in the UK – include:

  • Almost two-thirds (59%) of 16-25 year olds say that BookTok or book influencers have helped them discover a passion for reading.
  • Over half (55%) turn to BookTok for recommendations.
  • 68% say that BookTok has inspired them to read a book that they would have never considered otherwise.
  • Nearly one in five (19%) say that following the BookTok hashtag helped them find a community and another 16% reported that they made new friends through BookTok.
  • Nearly half (49%) of respondents reported visiting a physical bookshop to buy a book they have seen on BookTok.

These findings show the ways in which Booktok has quickly become an influential tool for young people to discover books, as well as foster communities around books and reading.

The effect of BookTok has also been felt in Australia, where publishers, booksellers and authors are harnessing the power of the platform to connect with and inspire readers.

As Gail McWhinnie, marketing and loyalty manager at Dymocks, said in a recent interview for the Sydney Morning Herald: “The impact of BookTok has been huge. At least half of our top 10 bestsellers each week for the last year have been BookTok-related titles. At one point this year, eight of our top 10 bestsellers were titles that were trending on TikTok.”

Publishers have also sought to engage with BookTok through creating company accounts as well as connecting with BookTok influencers – while many authors are also turning to the platform to share and promote their work.

As Australian researchers from the Teen Reading in the Digital Era project at Deakin University have said in their explainer article on BookTok for The Conversation

“By showcasing teenagers who love books and are proud of their reading habits, BookTok inspires other young people to enjoy reading. And it creates trends that influence the types of books they read, sometimes in unexpected ways.”