#Booktok inspires young audiobook listeners to discover their next story

9 January 2024

#Booktok helped guiding Storytel's listeners to their next audiobook experience during 2023.
The social media trend, where book lovers share reviews and inspiration, has sparked and interest in literature, especially amongst young readers. And in 2023 Booktok was the most used tag on Storytel in the Nordics.

 

The Tiktok phenomenon Booktok, where book enthusiasts find reading recommendations and like-minded individuals, has sparked a wave of literary enthusiasm, especially among young people. The hashtag went viral in the spring of 2020 and has, to date, amassed an astonishing 204.8 billion views on Tiktok. Over three years later, it continues to spread the joy of reading and inspiration, even beyond the social media platform.

At Storytel Sweden, Booktok is by far the most used tag in the app in 2023, and on all Nordic markets, it ranks among the top ten most used tags of the year. If we combine the data for all Nordic markets, Booktok is the number one tag.

In total, there are over 3800 different tags in the service, helping audiobook listeners discover their next story. The tags are searchable, and the Booktok tag, applied to suitable titles that have trended on Tiktok, forms the basis for the tips list of the same name.

– I believe many parents of teenagers have Booktok to thank for their kids' reading habits. There has been some criticism that it's not professional critics providing recommendations, but that, in my opinion, is irrelevant. Anyone involved in reading and literature knows that the crucial thing is to get people to read, not what they read. It's fantastic how Booktok attracts young people to reading, says Helena Gustafsson, Chief Content Officer at Storytel.

While PISA 2022 shows a significant decline in reading comprehension among Nordic youth in recent years, there is a growing interest in literature, especially among the young. 

Jasmine Darban, a 21-year-old from Veinge outside Laholm in Sweden, is one of Sweden's biggest booktokers with over 40,000 followers. She believes the trend is here to stay.

– Reading is a hobby that can feel very solitary, but thanks to Booktok, readers have found a meeting place and a community. I strongly believe that Booktok has, in many ways, saved our generation of readers and will continue to be a significant force in the future, she says, adding that the book industry has quickly responded to the demand for young adult literature:

– Two years ago, I found it challenging to find YA books. Now, the selection looks much more extensive both in stores and in audiobook apps like Storytel. It's exciting to see the whole industry taking Booktok and its impact seriously. I want to be a part of that and spread even more inspiration.

17-year-old Isabella Reinhold Carlsson from Enebyberg outside Stockholm has been sharing book recommendations on social media since the beginning of 2023. She agrees with Jasmine Darbans' reasoning about Booktok as a meeting place for young people.

– Young people like to see others their age doing the same thing. The visual aspect also plays a significant role. You can convey the feeling of a book through a slideshow, and I believe that captures one's interest more than just describing it with words, she says.

 

Booktok Facts:

According to Tiktok, the hashtag Booktok spontaneously emerged in 2020 and gained momentum during the pandemic when people suddenly found themselves isolated and could devote more time to both reading and social media. Since then, #Booktok has garnered over 204 billion views on Tiktok.

Viral posts often showcase trending books, personal reactions, or other creative content on the theme. Another trend on the platform is live broadcasts where authors read aloud from their books.

In February 2023, Lloyd Devereux Richards' book Stone Maidens topped Amazon's bestseller list after the author's daughter created a viral Booktok video.

Today, bookstores, libraries, publishers, streaming services, and authors have embraced the trend, guiding readers with Booktok-inspired recommendations, such as Booktok tips lists.

 

Most used tags in the Nordics (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) 2023

  1. Booktok
  2. Erotica
  3. Humour
  4. Horror
  5. Football
  6. Cosy crime
  7. Fantasy
  8. True crime
  9. Horses
  10. LitRPG

Check out your local press room for the yearly top lists on the most listened titles, authors and narrators of 2023.

Contacts

Therese Lindström

Head of PR Nordics