BookTok is a community of book readers on the social media app TikTok. Their passion is reading, but there is a clause to that. They read as many books as the number of lines on a spider web. On average, an active participant reads as many as 7 to 10 novels in one month.
For some reason, some people find this problematic.
So, I did my best to ask why, and these are the common reasons some find the community problematic.
Why Some People Find BookTok Problematic
These are the negative things I have read or heard about BookTok.
1. The books being passed around aren’t of great quality.
First, no one has the perfect definition of what constitutes quality. Your best and favorite book can be someone else’s worst nightmare.
I have tried to read some of the bestsellers of all time and couldn’t get past the first couple of pages. As my brother once said, you need a state of mind to read certain books. If you don’t have that, reading will be a burden.
I have accepted that as fate and moved to other books.
I have tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey, Pride and Prejudice, and Dan Vinci Code, but I couldn’t. They are not bad, but I have not gotten to the state of mind needed to enjoy them.
Millions of people enjoyed these books, and I have never attempted to tell them their taste is bad. In fact, I think I might be the problem. If millions enjoy something, but I don’t, does that not say something about me?
But I don’t see it that way. I see it as art. If we all enjoy the same kind of art, then something is entirely wrong with our planet and humanity. Art comes in different tastes. No one should be the body and juror of what’s acceptable and worthy of appreciation, at least not in the real world.
Maybe in competitions, some requirements can be used to determine ‘quality.’ Not in the real world.
So, seeing it when people get angry at what BookTokers read is quite interesting. I hate BookTok is such a high way of saying, I don’t fancy what’s going on in this community. But that says a lot.
It shows those who see BookTok as problematic will have problems with…
– Gaming, how many hours do people put into it?
– Sport events
– Musical concerts
2. The success of some authors is spontaneous and phenomenal
On BookTok, as in most areas of life, 20% of all authors get the attention. If you look around, they are talking about the same couple of books all year round. Besides that, the speed at which a book can go from not getting sales at all to a bestseller can happen in three days.
This ties to the first point in this post: some people find the books lacking in quality, and so it brings out a kind of annoyance to see such books getting lots of attention.
3. BookTok judges slow readers
I am a slow reader and have never felt judged by BookTok. I don’t know if that’s a personal thing or a general thing.
Bring Back The Art of Letting People Enjoy Things
If you’re a parent and find it problematic that your daughter reads many fiction books in a month, you have an answer to why your kids think you’re out of touch with happenings.
As a younger person, the stories I enjoyed the most were stories I found on Wattpad. They were not well-written or well-developed. No, they are not. But page by page, they fulfilled some kind of fantasy for me. I liked it. I stayed awake.
Thank God no one denied me that. Then, I got to the stage where I became much more selective of the quality of fiction I wanted to read.
Let’s bring back the art of letting people enjoy things. No censorship. It’s books. These books promoted on TikTok are not dangerous or bad. They are fun, exciting, and fulfilling fantasy, the Pride and Prejudice of their time and Fifty Shades of Grey of those times.
Great Books Are Hard To Read
Again, there is no perfect definition of great books. However, most people suggest literary fiction as some of the best books.
But guess why most kids who hate reading hate reading? The answer is that they are forced to read something they don’t like at an age where they are still learning what they really enjoy or don’t.
Imagine the kids becoming adults. Now they have found the kind of books that make them happy.
Why do you think adults will put down books they enjoy and pick ones where the book pages make them quickly fall asleep?
In five days or so in 2014, I read The Alchemist, Born A Crime, Eat, Pray, Love, I Am Malala and Norwegian Woods. I was bored then, and these books gave me some extraordinary feelings as I read them. I was a teenager. Those are the best five days of my life.
Bring those kinds of days back.
I want to enjoy myself reading.
That kind of helped me realize how much I love memoirs or books that look like memoirs. (Alchemist and Norwegian aren’t memoirs but written like one.)
I hope you have that excitement that comes with binge-reading books you enjoy.
But I know if you don’t enjoy books that much, you probably have enjoyed something that you stayed up all night doing. Sport. Shows. Netflix.
A season of Game of Thrones is about 8 hours. That’s almost the same duration it will take to read a novel of approximately 200 pages. If you can watch eight seasons of GOT in a week while going to work and attending to other life activities. Can BookTokers read a book in a week? The answer is yes.
For everyone who is against that, I pray you find the books you love one day.
And if you’re worried about the quality of books celebrated on BookTok, try to post the history of what you have been watching on Netflix to your Facebook page. Let the world judge.
Sometimes, we enjoy things because we enjoy them.
Content Derbies Vs. Content Matches
We are in an era where your opinion can get you lots of attention on the internet, no matter how weird. You can make money or get paid if your content goes really wild on TikTok, Twitter, or Twitch. This has led to many people offering opinions about everything and anything.
Since talking about an active community, bashing them can bring attention and then money, so why not?
It’s all about the money. And attention game. It’s happening on every social media app. Twitter has lots of people who create clickbaity threads every day. Instagram has influencers who convert anything to content.
I follow lots of travel influencers, too, but I will never tell them that people shouldn’t travel that much in a year or a few months.
The point is that people create content and want the reward attention can bring. So, they do more. It’s not limited to BookTok.
People then get into what I call content derby and content matches.
Content Derby is when you criticize or antagonize a community on the same platform. It’s like a derby, right, two teams playing against one another in the same city.
Example: A TikTok user criticizes Booktok on TikTok. That’s a content derby.
Content Matches, on the other hand, is when a user criticizes another community on another platform.
Example: someone criticizes BookTok on Reddit, Facebook, or Twitter.
Writing this post is also a content match because I am using my blog to write about those criticizing BookTok.
But there is a common thing about many of these types of criticism. It’s not helpful or enlightening or calling attention to some big problem. It’s just someone doing content because that’s their job. Or they are angry unnecessarily about something they can ignore, block, or boycott.
Booktok is not being taxed by the government. No one is forced to join or belong.
By the way, if you want something you can read and enjoy in under an hour, check out Jamaican Flower. If you love psychological Thrillers and suspense with a sprinkle of romance, Check out The Mystery Around Lola.
People Will Enjoy What They Enjoy, Especially When the Majority Are In Their 20s
Except with the use of force or government censorship, no one can stop people from enjoying what they enjoy. If they can afford it, if they can own it in their place, then the public opinion, no matter how stated, will be irrelevant. And it should be. And this isn’t a kind of crime or sabotage on anyone. It’s fiction books. It’s art. And being a community member of BookTok is art, too.
Loving the game, but not how it is being played
It’s the internet, and attention has rewards. The users will do anything legal or even illegal to get more attention if they are being rewarded handsomely with ad revenues, monetization, or even gifts. So, don’t blame Tiktokers. It’s the game. Blame the game.
All social media is like that. Creators think numbers of content matter, so if you are not interested in this kind of game, there are other options.
Join a different game.
Create a new game.
Or be a spectator.