TikTok has launched a new campaign to celebrate National Book Lovers Day (August 9th), which aims to highlight the growing #BookTok community, and encourage literary engagement around the event.
To get more people reading, TikTok’s running its first-ever “Global #BookTok Challenge”, which calls on users to share book recommendations in the app for a chance to share in a range of rewards.
As explained by TikTok:
“From August 1st until August 31st, we're encouraging book lovers to join our global community to create #BookTok themed content, such as book reviews, must-read lists, book recommendations, and more. Creators who post at least two videos with the #BookTok hashtag will receive a special #BookTok profile frame along with other exclusive prizes, ultimately elevating their position as a true #BookTok super fan!”
What exactly those exclusive prizes will be remains to be seen, but I’d hazard a guess that there’ll be books involved, as well as themed products that tie into literary creations.
TikTok will be encouraging users to share their favorite books and their top underrated reads, while also sharing support for local bookshops, and other related small businesses in the app. TikTok will also call on users to share “hacks and knowledge” from books that people can apply in daily life, like cooking tips, fashion notes, etc.
I’m hoping these are supposed to be cooking tips from literature, as opposed to cookbooks, which aren’t real books, and don’t really count in this context.
The promotion could be a good way to get more people talking about literature, and given that so few people even read books these days, as we spend more and more of our free time on our phones, it could also be an important push to highlight the value of literary engagement, which offers a key window into the perspectives of other people.
That’s something that’s been lost to the nuances of online connection. While you now have access to more and more people via social apps, the algorithmic incentives of online engagement push people towards more divisive content, while snackable social posts and short video clips have also reduced our attention spans, to the point where every message needs to be condensed into a meme.
But in reality, most important issues are highly complex, and you can’t summarize them into a simple statement. That often means that critical context is lost in favor of witty comments, but books, and in particular novels, can play a key role in showing you other people’s experiences and perspectives, which can have a far bigger influence on opinions than simplistic messaging.
The popularity of the #BookTok hashtag, which has seen a more than 140% increase in total views over the past year, gives some hope that younger generations, in particular, are still engaging with literature, and are still able to glean some of that important context to help color their understanding.