Is BookTok Worth the Hype?

By Meg Rady

How reliable is Booktok? Today, the social media subculture has taken the reading community by storm. By dictating the latest trends and taking over sections at bookstores, it is hard not to stumble upon a book recommended by the small corner of Tiktok. The internet, it seems, won’t shut up about books like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, It Ends With Us, Daisy Jones and the Six, and The Love Hypothesis, which are just a couple of titles that skyrocketed in popularity thanks to the buzz garnered from the app. However, it’s worth questioning how earnest the hype of self-proclaimed “Tiktok sensations” is. What makes these books so popular?

Like every other reader who spends any amount of time online, I was also drawn into the Tiktok hype maelstrom. The site was recommending books left and right, all with rave reviews, and it spread like wildfire. Naturally, I picked up several Tiktok books expecting them to all be masterpieces because Tiktok promised nothing short of perfection. I was sorely mistaken. I finished the first book and thought it might have been a fluke. I tried again, but I got the same result. Eventually, I’d come to be wary of any book hyped on Booktok. I couldn’t understand the internet was going over the Throne of Glass series or any of Colleen Hoover’s books. Book after book, I just kept asking myself, “why are bad books so hyped”? Furthermore, I noticed some popular books contain problematic elements, yet not one addressed them.

 It seems that Booktok fame clouds our judgment as we get swept up in the hype frenzy. Although I also acknowledge that some hyped books are actually amazing and deserving of all the Booktok hype, but to me, those were outliers. Despite not even having Tiktok, I still got swept into the community. It’s simply impossible to avoid, as it permeates every corner of the internet. Even now, I am not immune to the craze; it’s addicting. 

There is no definitive answer to whether Booktok is worth the hype. Every person has their own reading tastes, ask Booktok caterers to any kind of reader as its trends fluctuate, but it’s clear that this community has garnered viral popularity that is only possible in the digital age. The reading community is small but mighty, and I’m glad that we’ve been able to carve out our own corner of the internet. While I don’t agree with Booktok’s recommendations, I appreciate that it’s revitalizing people’s love for reading. 

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