The Publishing Post
TikTok Shop Launches “Books” Category
After the skyrocketing growth of the #BookTok community, the UK version of the TikTok Shop has announced its partnership with several organisations to create a “books” product category. The new category will allow TikTok users to purchase a range of titles they encounter whilst scrolling, as well as expose booksellers to a larger audience, all without leaving the app.
The change is the result of a partnership between TikTok, HarperCollins UK and retailers WHSmith and Bookshop.org (involving their large network of publishers and booksellers), allowing them to become TikTok Shop UK merchants. This is not the first time the success of #BookTok has driven the platform’s partnerships: earlier in the year, TikTok was announced as the official Digital Media Partner of the Hay Festival, where it subsequently sponsored three panels.
Recent commercial partnerships between TikTok and the literary world are best understood in the context of the massive success of #BookTok, which at the time of writing has close to 91.6 billion views on the platform. This community of readers has the power to make or break the success of a book and, as such, has become a powerful (and well-documented!) tool for most publishing marketers. One famed example is They Both Die at the End, which initially spent just two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list when it was first published in late 2017, only to have found a resurgence of interest thanks to BookTok in 2020. It subsequently became a sellout, ranking first in Young Adult Paperback categories for months on end. Introducing a “books” product category on the TikTok shop seems like an obvious way to capitalise on the platform’s habit of creating international hits.
On TikTok’s official website, its Senior Director of eCommerce, Patrick Nommensen, gave the following statement:
“It has been incredible to witness the BookTok community sharing its passion for reading, and reshaping the publishing world in the process ... With these new partnerships, we're delighted to be making it even easier for book lovers to buy the latest BookTok recommendations without ever leaving the TikTok platform, whilst also providing new avenues for publishers both large and small to reach their audiences. We look forward to welcoming more merchants on to TikTok Shop UK in the future, as our platform continues to evolve as the ultimate destination for books and literature.”