How Tik Tok Changed the Publishing Industry

by | Mar, 2022

It’s no shocker that the TikTok algorithm is in and of itself different from other platforms.

This allows users an experience tailored to their interests on a level unlike other platforms like Instagram, Twitter, etc. 

TikTok utilizes a weighted recommendation system that allows users a totally unique experience where everyone’s For You Page (FYP) is tailored to their likes and interests. This system pulls information from various different factors such as how long you watch certain videos, the audio, comments, likes, etc. with different factors having a different “weight” to how much they influence your FYP. In comparison to other platforms, this allows users a more custom experience with more diversity in showing content from creators you don’t follow, allowing you to reach more people.

What is BookTok?

Like many people I got into reading (and TikTok if we’re being honest) during the beginning of COVID, discovering a niche community of TikTok called BookTok. It is no shocker that I wasn’t the only person who discovered or re-discovered reading during Covid, so you can guess how vast the BookTok community has grown and continues to grow.

BookTok has centered itself around book recommendations while showing much more from the comfort reading has brought people, how reading has allowed an escape from the world around us, random book gadgets, new releases, author tips, and so much more. 

You’re probably still wondering what this has to do with the publishing industry and this article… Because of TikTok’s unique algorithm and vast BookTok community, authors and readers have access to a platform affecting book publishing like no other. Authors are given the ability to reach a vast and new audience because of this, giving smaller indie authors the chance to showcase their books to their target audience with an ease that you can’t find on platforms like Instagram. 

Indie (ˈindē/) definition: An indie author is a writer who publishes their work without the help of an established press. Often called self-publishing authors, they are responsible for editing, producing, distributing, and marketing the books they write.

Just to look at some statistics, according to the NPD Bookscan 825 million book copies were sold in 2021, this is the highest its been since the NPD Bookscan started collecting data in 2004, and was a 9% increase from 2020. Industry experts state TikTok is the reason for this increase in book sales. 

Throughout the world of marketing, TikTok remains a little bit mysterious with the unpredictability of its algorithm. But, in this case, we can see firsthand how TikTok has built a community around reading and in many cases rekindled a previous love of reading that has, in turn, caused a huge surge throughout the book publishing industry.


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