How book culture evolved due to the power of social media
The increasing popularity of book culture can be attributed to the newfound exploration of cultural industries via social media
Although the pandemic is over, its influence on our society has left lasting impacts, including the popularization of niche interests.
In this way, book culture could be classified as another victim of massification. The #booktok trend developed this niche interest into another pillar of the cultural industry due to the hype of this trend.
The cultural industry has taken over book culture through an exponential interest in this hobby due to its virality on TikTok. The massification of book culture began with the creation of #booktok, invented by Kate Wilson.
Kate created a TikTok with a few of her favorite quotes pulled from books she had read. This video fostered a safe space within this social platform for book culture to thrive in the digital era.
After two years of Kate Wilson creating #booktok, this trend became heavily popularized. In my perspective, others outside the book community chose to partake in #booktok due to hype mentality. These individuals began to read books they observed trending and reproduced similar TikTok's to fit in with the current book culture.
As a materialistic society, it's no surprise that large book corporations such as Indigo viewed #booktok as a perfect marketing strategy to capitalize off book culture.
Indigo, Canada's largest book retailer, jumped on this trend by creating a virtual Indigo X TikTok Book Club. This company also curated a section within their store dedicated to books "Now Trending on #booktok.
The #booktok trend created a new market appealing to a mass culture of individuals interested in reading trending books.
As a result, social media has become a prime gateway for companies to capitalize on the book culture. Through TikTok, society has allowed corporations to capitalize on this cultural industry via supply and demand.
Colleen Hoover, for example, is an individual who gained popularity through the promotion of the publishing industry through #booktok. This author has become one of America's best-selling authors despite releasing her most famous novels over a decade ago.
Her newfound success can be attributed to the massification of book culture via the #booktok trend and the capitalization of the popularity.
With all this in mind, can we escape the book culture industry? Mass culture, capitalism, and the overarching capitalist sectors have captured society in a web of trend followers.
Although I am a massive supporter of the book community and its authors, I do not support the massification of this culture since advertised books are only trending.
It is disappointing to see book culture falling victim to social media's influence. Think about the numerous books out there that could be trending but are not due to hype mentality.
It is fantastic to see so many individuals discover their love for reading. Yet, this is only because society reads the most trending books to partake in this trend. #booktok is a great way to promote authors. However, due to its virality component, social media and capitalist industries only promote similar storylines.
The #booktok trend is a great way to begin your time within the book community since you are able to connect to a plethora of individuals. However, the recommendations that arise from this trend should not be the only books you read.
This trend tends to popularize books of the same author and genre which hinders the exploration for authors of color, varying genres and usually pushes Western perspectives. I encourage you to research books outside of this trend and give them a read.
You would be surprised with what you may find, and most importantly you will be hindering the power capitalist industries and social media hold over us.