BookTok has become a marketing engine for some authors and booksellers. Just look at Lloyd Devereux Richards, whose 11-year-old debut novel Stone Maidens became a No. 1 bestseller after his daughter Marguerite posted a video to TikTok. There’s no question: BookTok can boost sales.
But, according to Nielsen, more readers are finding their next page-turner on YouTube.
A Nielsen-conducted survey found that 34% of people between the ages of 14 and 25 said they find new books to read on YouTube. 32% of them said they find new books on TikTok.
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Instagram was also popular: 27% of respondents said they find new reads there.
Jaclyn Swope, a Senior Account Manager at Nielsen Book Research, told The Guardian that YouTube’s edge over TikTok might be its overall “high general usage.”
71% of respondents said they visited YouTube at least once in the four weeks before the survey was conducted. It’s not clear how many of those people also visited TikTok in the same time span, but we do know YouTube has a higher number of users (nearly 3 billion compared to TikTok’s one billion) plus a larger library of content and a higher amount of watch time than TikTok.
It’s worth noting both YouTube and TikTok, though clearly significant forces in book sales, came in behind offline ways of finding out about new books. 41% of respondents said they find new reads from friends’ recommendations, and 36% said they pick up a new book after seeing it in a physical bookshop. (Digital book-buying was also popular; 33% said they visit sites like Amazon.)
Nielsen says the demographic it sought for this survey–U.K. residents between the ages of 14 and 25–represented 18% of the region’s total book sales in 2022. Over the course of the year, they purchased an estimated 61 million books for £496 million.