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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Audio: BookTok reignites passion for reading

Student+watches+a+video+on+TikTok+with+the+hashtag+%23booktok.
Bryce Light
Student watches a video on TikTok with the hashtag #booktok.

Natural sound: Tiktok sounds from BookTok videos 

From recommendations, reactions and strong opinions, these videos, found under under #BookTok on TikTok, have exploded in popularity in recent years, and so have the books they talk about. According to NPD Bookscan, adult fiction sales were up 25% since 2021.  Starting as a small community of readers on TikTok, it has grown into a dominant force of book sales. BookTok is a place where passionate and excited readers from around the world can share book recommendations, opinions and thoughts to other equally passionate readers. 

The growth and popularity of BookTok has helped many people, primarily teenagers, gain or regain a passion for reading.  

In a study by Publishers Associated about Gen Z reading habits, two-thirds of 16- to 25-year-olds say BookTok has helped them discover a passion for reading, and over half go to BookTok for book recommendations. 

Ninth grader Sadie Ellis is one of the many people who have begun reading again for pleasure  because of BookTok. She believes it helped reignite a passion for reading.

“Oh 100%,” she said. “I definitely feel like recently I have been reading a lot more because of BookTok.”

Sadie believes that BookTok is the best place to find book recommendations, saying that it is the  main influence on what books she reads. 

“Most of the books I read — actually I would say like 98 or 99% of the books I read — are because of BookTok, and I wouldn’t change that for the world,” Sadie said.

Besides the book recommendations, the community and the creators drew Sadie to BookTok. The creators are mainly Gen Z females and the audience is primarily the same, making BookTok a welcoming environment for people to post authentic and relatable content that they know their viewers will understand and respond to. 

“I really like how everyone is a community there and everyone has opinions and it’s a whole language that everyone can be a part of,”Sadie said. 

“I really Eden Victoria, shes British, she has strong opinions.” 

Sound of Eden Victoria

Many bookstores and libraries have incorporated the BookTok trend and have begun carrying popular books talked about on the app and even creating BookTok displays, which is drawing in even more readers who might not watch the videos. 

“Especially recently in the last couple years I’ve seen bookstores, there’s a BookTok section and that is where I gravitate towards.” 

Usually fiction bestseller lists are filled with books by well-known authors, but BookTok is changing this. Recently, books on the fiction bestsellers list have come from smaller, less-known authors, such as Rebecca Yarrows who wrote the BookTok viral novel “Fourth Wing” but because of their presence on BookTok, these authors’ books are becoming successes.

In the past two years, BookTok  has become a place where Sadie and many others are able to watch and interact with people with the same interest as them. She fell out of reading years ago because she could not find the right books to read, but now, BookTok has reignited her passion for reading and allowed her to read books she truly enjoys. 

“I’m looking for a place to escape, something that’s not too hard.”

This is Caroline Skelly for the U-High Midway.

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About the Contributors
Caroline Skelly
Caroline Skelly, Reporter
Caroline Skelly is a member of the Class of 2027 and she began journalism in the 2023-24 school year as a ninth grader. Aside from writing for the Midway, Caroline enjoys reading, baking and playing lacrosse.
Bryce Light
Bryce Light, Photographer
Bryce Light is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is documenting school events. Outside of photojournalism, Bryce enjoys soccer, video games and taking his dogs on walks. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, sports photo: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, single spot news photograph, “U-High celebrates community spirit in annual Homecoming assembly” (Photo 4: Teacher Matt Bonges)

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