Crying while reading is a TikTok bestseller

Thanks to TikTok, romance novels are flying off the shelves and minting new star authors.

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Crying while reading is a TikTok bestseller


The Future.
Thanks to TikTok, romance novels are flying off the shelves and minting new star authors. Just like musicians, every author may soon be handed a TikTok strategy by their publisher to get on trend. But with the hashtag #BookTok also being an engagement machine for TikTok, the platform could consider building a discovery hub dedicated to new authors or sharing exclusive excerpts from popular writers.

TikTok has made reading romance novels go viral.

  • According to Bloomberg, #BookTok — the top trending hashtag on TikTok this year — is on the verge of hitting 100 billion views.
  • Four of the top five books with the most engagement in videos were romances, thanks to dedicated review and recommendation accounts for “books that made me cry.”
  • That has boosted sales of print copies of romance novels by 51% to 32.3 million over the past year, according to data from NPD Group (print copy sales are down overall, though).

Shannon DeVito, the director of books for Barnes & Noble (which has taken full advantage of the #BookTok trend), says romance novels have taken off because “you’re going to have a happy ending nine times out of 10.” In these times, that’s all some people want.

For You, For Everybody
Probably the biggest beneficiary of #BookTok is Colleen Hoover.

  • Her popularity skyrocketed in 2020 when her book It Ends With Us trended on TikTok… four years after it debuted. It has now spent 79 weeks on NYT’s Bestseller list.
  • When the book’s sequel, It Starts With Us, hit shelves in October, it sold 800,000 copies in its first week.
  • Overall, she has sold 8 million books this year, with four titles selling over 1 million copies. She also has the five best-selling titles in the entire romance genre. Wow.

With a combined three million followers on TikTok and Instagram, Hoover may be the first literary star of the social media era.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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