TikTok Shop is struggling to catch on in the West, but it’s a hit with some indie authors

By 06/07/2023
TikTok Shop is struggling to catch on in the West, but it’s a hit with some indie authors

TikTok‘s ecommerce platform — titled TikTok Shop — has encountered plenty of roadblocks as it looks to expand beyond its Asian base. According to the prevailing narrative, Western consumers are just not that into social shopping, but there’s at least one creator bucking the trend: Adam Beswick.

The U.K. native, who publishes fantasy books under the pseudonym A.P. Beswick, has made £11,000 (approximately $14,000) in less than a year by selling his literature through TikTok Shop. In April 2023 alone, he took home £2,036 (about $2,500) from TikTok-based sales of his work.

Those stats come from an interview Beswick did with Insider, in which the author extolled the virtues of TikTok’s ecommerce platform. Thanks in part to the experience he’s had with TikTok Shop, he’s been able to quit his job in nursing and focus on writing full-time.


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Beswick, like many other indie authors, has successfully harnessed the fervor of #BookTok, which has had an astonishing effect on the publishing industry. Last year, TikTok boosted the #BookTok hype by establishing literature as its own Shop category in the U.K.

Though his follower count of 76,000 is pedestrian by TikTok standards, Beswick is able to use Shop to efficiently sell his books. “I have to pack my books, print the labels, and ship them,” he told Insider. “I’m just cutting out the third party that would take a 30% cut of the revenue for doing that. With TikTok Shop, I end up with £2 or £3 per book more than when I sell through Amazon, on average.”

@a.p_beswick_author #authorlife #booktok #fantasybooktok #booktransition ♬ suara asli – Dezalyr.

Publishing industry exec Laura Summers echoed Beswick’s sentiments in an April 2023 Huffington Post piece. “Social media usage can be super addictive so we think the fact that BookTokkers can now buy their books (both in print and in digital) directly from the platform, can only be a good thing for readers and for the industry – whether that be for the authors, the publishers or the booksellers,” Summers said.

TikTok Shop may not be as fruitful for all professionals as it is for indie publishers. Even so, Beswick’s success story suggests that some companies might want to rethink their relationship with TikTok’s ecommerce hub. Shop’s delayed U.S. launch has been partially attributed to cooling interest from Stateside merchants. Perhaps it’s time for some of those vendors to give Shop a second look.

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