This is how TikTok helped propel book sales into a successful year – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

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This article is brought to you through The European Sting’s collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Ian Shine, Senior Writer, Training Content


  • #BookTok helps increase print book sales, industry analyst says.
  • Readers purchased more than 825 million books in print in the United States in 2021, more than any year since records began in 2004.
  • Retailers are creating “BookTok Made Me Buy It” sections to include the app’s popular titles.
  • TikTok is also helping to revive sales of older titles.

Print and digital media are often seen as competing forces, but social media platform TikTok helped push sales of physical books to a new record high in the United States last year, according to industry analysis.

Annual print book sales in the United States increased 9% in 2021 to 825.7 million, said NPD BookScan Forbes. That’s the highest since the research firm started tracking the data in 2004.

While a range of factors were behind the increase – including COVID-related recommendations to stay at home and an expansion of the US child tax credit that added to household incomes, according to NPD BookScan – part of the increase can be attributed to TikTok users who post about books using the #BookTok hashtag.

Watch the original clip here.

#BookTok has “definitely been a factor” in the increase in sales, said NPD BookScan industry analyst Kristen McLean Forbes. The hashtag has over 42 billion views and posts from famous users, including actor Will Smith and singer George Ezra.

Watch the original clip here.

It’s not just the United States that has seen an increase in the popularity of printed books. UK publishers saw a 2% increase in sales in 2020, compared to the previous year.

Book clubs at BookTok

While TikTok is one of the latest pilots, our tastes have long been influenced by recommendations, whether from social media, book clubs or bestseller lists. The World Economic Forum launched its book club in 2018 to connect its global audience with fiction and non-fiction writers.

To see here.

The majority of TikTok users are under the age of 35, which has helped boost book sales in the young adult category, including They both die in the end by Adam Silvera.

Watch the original clip here:

The increase in sales of Silvera’s book also illustrates how social media promotion can revive older titles, as the novel was released in December 2018. This trend appears to be continuing into 2022, with books that weren’t not a top-selling new release in the United States in January, according to NPD BookScan.

And while young adult fiction and fantasy are the main categories in the BookTok community, NPD BookScan’s McLean says the platform’s influence goes much deeper and has extended to fiction and literature. for adults.

What is the World Economic Forum Journal Club?

The World Economic Forum launched its official book club on Facebook in April 2018. Readers around the world are invited to join and discuss a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. This is a private Facebook group dedicated to discussing a book each month.

Every month we announce a new book on our social networks. We then publish an excerpt and begin a chapter-by-chapter discussion with the group members. Selected comments and questions are sent to the author, who in turn sends us a video response.

Unlike other book clubs, the group features direct author involvement, giving you – our global audience with members all over the world – a chance to connect directly with some of the most influential thinkers and experts. in the world.

We featured authors such as Steven Pinker, Elif Shafak, Yuval Noah Harari, and Melinda Gates.

You can join the book club here.

Follow us on twitter here.

Follow us on Instagram here.

“BookTok made me buy it”

Floor plans for bookstores and online book retailers are also inspired by the success of BookTok. Some retailers have a dedicated “BookTok Made Me Buy It” or “BookTok Recommendations” section, highlighting the platform’s latest favorites.

To see here.

2021 may fade, others may be sustained, says McLean.

“After nearly two years of pandemic experimentation and implementation, physical book retailers are institutionalizing the best of what works,” she wrote in a blog post. “From rebranding and re-merchandising efforts to community-building strategies, through live-selling and aggressive promotional campaigns, some retailers will truly succeed and physical book sales will increase overall in 2022.”