Bookish Discussion: “BookTok’ Displays

I might like browsing TikTok for funny videos occasionally, but I’m not a fan of the BookTok displays that are taking over in bookstores. For one, many of the books on those displays tend to be hyped books already, and putting them on those displays seems to make them a “must read” for readers.

The reason I have a problem with these BookTok displays is that BookTok is a relatively new thing. Yes, it’s been a few years, but compared to Bookstagram, BookTube, and Book Blogging… it’s the baby of the bunch. However, do we ever see books that are hyped up by these Instagrammers, YouTubers, and Bloggers? No, we don’t. And it’s sad because a lot of work goes into these other platforms that bookish people use.

I find it sad that the books hyped up by these other bookish platforms aren’t recognized like BookTok is. Not only are they more work (in my opinion) but they’ve been around longer and never got a response like BookTok. Bookstores have seemed to blatantly ignore the work of bloggers, Booktagrammers, and BookTubers completely. And as a blogger and Bookstagrammer, that’s a punch to the gut. I do realize that blogs have to have more traction to get books hyped up, but there are many, many hyped up books on Instagram that have undoubtedly influenced readers over the years.

So, there it is. I do not like the BookTok displays at bookstores and will purposely ignore them. That’s me though. Not everyone feels the same and I respect that. I just wanted to throw my opinion out there (and advocate for some BookTube and Bookstagram display action). Let me tell you, if I ever open up a bookstore of my own, I will make sure the other platforms are supported.

Discussion time! What do you think about the BookTok displays in stores? Yay or nay?

19 thoughts on “Bookish Discussion: “BookTok’ Displays

  1. mistysbookspace says:

    I don’t have any bookstores near me so I’ve never seen this in person but I have seen them in other peoples videos on YouTube. I understand why they have them but I’m with you. They never showed this kind of supports for the other social medias and now all of a sudden they are. I think they should have a table for all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. theperusingmuse says:

    I love Bookstagram and book blogs! Booktube I am less familiar with, but that takes a lot of time to film and edit a review. I wish that there was more recognition. Maybe it is because I don’t use TikTok, but whenever I see a book on that display, I’m a little wary of reading it. I feel like bookstores want to be trendy, and it might be easier to gague trends using TikTok– I’m not sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.K. {Genie in a Novel} says:

      I wish I watched more BookTube videos because of the work they put in, but I’m too lazy to watch a whole video, lol. I might try to watch some this year.

      Yeah, I’m usually wary of them too. The hype is just too much, and it’s more than likely the book is something I wouldn’t read anyway. That’s a good point that bookstores are trying to be trendy, but I know a lot of people who think the BookTok displays are a joke.


  3. mehsi says:

    Very much Nay. Especially since all the books are way overhyped. I would rather see them feature some more unknown YA/NA stuff. Plus, I agree fully. Before Booktok I never saw a display anywhere for Insta/Blog/etc.. But now Booktok is here and suddenly there are stands even in the tiniest stores. I get you want to attract the YA/NA crowd to your store, but I am sure you can do what with Insta/Blog/etc.. as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.K. {Genie in a Novel} says:

      I wholeheartedly agree that the books they feature are overhyped. Like, we get it… the book is popular. There are normal “popular fiction” displays in the stores already.

      I’d also rather see more unknown YA/NA books get some attention at the stores (and social media). Those writers worked just as hard and yet don’t get the recognition. And let’s face it, those “unknowns” are probably much better than the hyped books! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      • mehsi says:

        Yep. Same here. We already got popular stuff, just throw it there and make something special for other books.

        I am glad I am not alone in wanting to give some other YA/NA some love. Some that aren’t as known but are just as fun (and maybe even more diverse). Haha, I agree, though I am not sure if that is because of my feelings towards the hype/high expectations or the writing. XD These days though, if a book is way too hyped I tend to stay away from it. Like, oh I see this book often, well never mind. XD

        Liked by 1 person

    • theperusingmuse says:

      Same! I feel like I usually feel too lazy to watch a whole BookTube video, although I bet some are worth it. Book reviews and blogs are probably my favorite methods. BookTok seems like a lot of romance, which is fine, but not always my thing. I wouldn’t discount a book because it was popular on TikTok, but I wouldn’t get excited about it or anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 24hr.YABookBlog says:

    i’ve thought about this for a while! I agree it feels like the work that’s been done on other platforms has been LARGLEY ignored & like the impact of our work to promote books has become even more lessened because of booktok, which hurts. Bookstores should put more effort to expand their views on what’s actually “popular” on booktok and do more to recommend diverse books! Sometimes it gets tiring see the same books over & over! 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emma @ Turn Another Page says:

    I find that whenever I see displays showing books popular on Booktok, they’re primarily books that were hyped up by bloggers and booktubers a few years ago. They’re not new, they’re not books that need the hype, and I really think bookstores, especially the larger ones should be highlighting and promoting smaller authors and publications that will never get the same amount of advertising so that we can find a wider and more varied range of books. This is a bit of a vain point too, but I also cannot stand the permanent ‘must read TikTok sensation’ stickers that are being put on books because that popularity will be fleeting and eventually no one will care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.K. {Genie in a Novel} says:

      Oh, I’m 1000% with you on the TikTok stickers!!! It’s so annoying! As any kind of sticker on a book is, of course.

      I agree that smaller authors and publications need the attention. You’re right, the books on TikTok are old books getting re-hyped… book promotion is so unbalanced 😓

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Holliehocks says:

    Do you know, even as a blogger and someone who was always watching Booktube videos back in high school and college, I never minded the fact that bookish media was never really brought up in bookstores and the hyped books on other platforms were never recognized. To me, that was normal. And then BookTok just seemed to come and take over out of nowhere… I’m not really a TikTok fan in the first place, but I do genuinely believe it does a disservice to the book community as a whole for it to be the big thing and to completely disregard the other (still flourishing) communities.

    Not to mention, it irritates me going into bookstores now and having BookTok signs everywhere in my face and so many displays that now I just ignore everything there. I know it means potentially missing some good reads, but I just find it hard to want to read anything they’re trying to sell behind that much hype.

    Liked by 1 person

    • T.K. {Genie in a Novel} says:

      I never minded it back in high school or college either. I think it’s just more irritating that out of all the platforms out there, this is the one that took off and it’s just kind of obnoxious how everyone hypes it even more.

      I like TikTok for the funny book videos, like about librarian problems or video book memes, but that’s about it. I don’t spend a lot of time on there otherwise.

      I just roll my eyes and walk by the BookTok displays. I know I might lose out on a good read, but they’re the ones shoving it in our faces all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ezra says:

    I hate those displays! I feel like it takes away from the lesser known books because all anyone cares about are the “TikTok” authors. I’m sure they’re good and all, but other books are out there. I hate to see good books lost in the abyss of NYT Bestsellers and what’s viral on TikTok.

    Liked by 1 person

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