BookTok, Teen Readers, and the Rise of TikTok Literacies

A circle of books around a TikTok logo, representing 'BookTok' on a blue background.

Technology is an incredible tool, and when it comes to digital communication and social media, TikTok has emerged as a fabulous platform for book lovers, with its own niche known as BookTok. We love how this online community has revolutionized the way teens engage with books, influencing reading trends and, as a result, creating a new form of digital literacy.

#BookTok rules!

TikTok for Readers

TikTok is known for its short, engaging videos and if you’re not careful, you can spend hours scrolling through them. But on the upside, it has become a haven for book enthusiasts, which is wonderful news—we are pro anything that inspires reading and a love of books.

Young adult readers love this platform and are drawn to content ranging from book reviews to thematic discussions. TikTok has simply been transformed into an unexpected hub for literary exploration. 

It just goes to show how social media can be leveraged. We love how it exposes everyone to new ideas and thoughts, and it has ultimately become a great platform for book discovery. TikTok's algorithm is fabulous in that it matches readers with content that resonates with their interests.

Digital Literacy and Reading: The BookTok Influence

BookTok has been instrumental in creating a shift when it comes to digital literacy and reading. Our young adults are navigating a mountain of book-related content, and believe it or not, that is actually a good thing. We forget about the skills they are developing! They are learning to think critically, evaluate literature, and engage in deeper textual analysis.

This digital environment is creating a great form of literacy where multimedia elements, like visuals and audio, are great at complementing traditional reading practices. As we said, we are big fans of anything that fosters a love for literature!

A happy teen with headphones using a smartphone outdoors.

Teen Reading Trends on TikTok: What's Viral?

BookTok has the power to make books go viral, and this has a massive influence on teen reading trends. When novels go viral, they become incredibly popular, and it is not just the latest books that are featured—we often see older titles re-emerging. Another advantage of BookTok is that our teens are often exposed to new genres, authors and ideas. Anything that makes them try something new or opens them up to new perspectives is a good thing in our book!

BookTok Influencers: The New Literary Critics

Like any social media platform, influencers are alive and well. When it comes to BookTok, these influencers—or BookTokkers, as they're affectionately known—offer insights and recommendations which often end up dictating what becomes popular. Their influence covers everything from promoting books to sparking discussions about themes, characters, and narratives. 

Here are a few fun BookTokkers you should definitely be following. 





@livebrave2  (away from the book content, they also have lots of journaling content - great inspiration for readers wanting to start a cute book journal!)

Engaging Teen Readers Online: The Role of Community

As far as we are concerned, one of BookTok's best aspects is the wonderful bookish community it has created. This is a great space for young adult readers to connect, share their experiences, and discover books that they might never have encountered. 

BookTok's community is so exciting and there is plenty of engagement with activities like reading challenges and themed book lists. All of this goes a long way to creating a sense of belonging, perhaps making it one of the best-shared reading adventures online!

TikTok and Young Adult Novels

Young adult novels enjoy a special status on BookTok, and their popularity continues to grow, all thanks to the platform's very enthusiastic user base. From a visual and interactive perspective, TikTok is a wonderful complement to YA themes, characters, and storytelling. Ultimately, it has become the perfect relationship, boosting this popular genre's visibility and appeal among young adults.

Influencing Teen Literacy Through TikTok

We have found that BookTok's impact goes well beyond TikTok, with viral trends and books finding their way to other platforms. It just goes to show what a significant role social media plays in how many of us find and choose books.

While it’s clear that BookTok offers huge opportunities to encourage teen literacy, it also poses challenges. One of the challenges is that we run the risk of superficial engagement with books—this can easily happen when we only participate in trends rather than meaningful reading. This is why it is so important to talk to our teens so that we can have conversations that stimulate and encourage critical thinking about the content they consume and create on BookTok.

BookTok is no different from any other social media platform; we need to be mindful of who we follow and what we spend time on. Navigating the all-important balance between entertainment and educational value is always a challenge. In the end, we want a platform that adds value to our lives and promotes a diverse and inclusive range of voices and stories.

A young woman smiling while reading a book outside.

AnalyzingTikTok's Impact on Reading

Looking at TikTok’s impact on young adults' reading habits and literacy, it’s clear that this fabulous platform is writing a new chapter in the story of digital literacy. TikTok is helping to shape a generation that values reading and literary discussions. 

It's like being part of a global book club, but sadly, without the wonderful snacks. We love that TikTok is providing an exciting opportunity for educators, authors, and publishers to engage with a young audience in ways that were previously unimaginable.

TikTok Literacies Development

If you think about it, the concept of TikTok literacies encompasses so much more than just the ability to read; it includes visual literacy, digital literacy, and media literacy. As our young adults engage with content on BookTok, they're learning to decode not just the written word but also images, video edits, and the nuances of online communication. It is a wonderful blend of traditional and digital literacies that prepares our young adults for a world where the written word is just one of many forms of communication they will come across.

We need to understand that there is a broader trend towards multimedia and interactive forms of reading. Young adults are at the forefront of this shift, and they seamlessly integrate traditional reading with digital platforms. The rise of BookTok literacies suggests a future where reading is not seen as an isolated activity but as part of a wider, interconnected digital culture.


As long as BookTok promotes the wonderful world of literacy and gets young adults excited about books, we are 100% behind it! Why not add to the literary discussions keeping up with the latest novels through our incredible book subscription box?

Each month, you will receive the latest young adult novel plus our world-famous surprise gifts that bring the book to life in the palm of your hands. Here at Once Upon a Book Club, we love everything bookish and can’t think of anything better than curling up on the couch with a great book! After all, what else can transport you to new worlds, introduce you to exciting characters, and offer you out-of-this-world experiences?

If you enjoyed this blog, make sure to check out Reaching YA Readers Where They Are: Online, we’re sure you will enjoy it!

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