By: Kaylen Fuentes
During the pandemic, leading up to now, I’ve noticed an increase of people (whether it’s on social media or in real life) who have started reading or picked it back up again, and I believe this is because of social media or trends on social media.
To test this I interviewed several people to see the ways these students started reading because of social media or that can make a connection between reading and social media. As well as or how much (or little) they read because of social media.
I asked every student I interviewed the same question. “What impact do you think social media has had on books and reading for you personally?”
Chloe Rocha: I have seen suggestions for books on social media, and the internet has made me want to read those books more. I usually add them to a list of books I want to read and I’ve been trying to read more.
Trevor Kristjanson: I think social media has hurt the amount I read because, usually when I’m reading I decide to stop reading because of my phone. But I also get most of my book recommendations from social media so it also allows me to read more. I also think the popularity of books and how much they are talked about on social media makes me want to read them more because those popular books are popular for a reason.
Manny Ochoa-Reeve: I don’t think social media has made me want to read more, I don’t read much and I never read before I was active on social media or now.
Alexa Ramirez: I feel like reading has been glorified, especially on TikTok. Books have been incorporated into style and aesthetics as well. So, I think I’ve seen a lot of people with style and trends I want to follow and a lot of times books are incorporated into that lifestyle. So, those people with those styles make me want to read it because it made those people look cool.
3 out of the 4 people I interviewed believe that social media has had an impact on the reasons they read.
Part of why I believe social media has seen a rise in the popularity of books is because now there is such easy access to books on the internet, with online libraries, ebooks, audiobooks, etc. According to statista.com, there were over a billion ebook users worldwide in 2021 alone.
An example of a social media platform that has boosted reading is TikTok. When quarantine began there was a trend in a side of TikTok, called BookTok. Where a bunch of readers were able to give each other book recommendations, book hauls and talk about their favorite and current reads. As of September 2022 the hashtag #BookTok has 80.3 billion views on TikTok.
TikTok has helped to boost many book based platforms through BookTok as well, like Goodreads, that has gotten more popular throughout the pandemic and quarantine. Goodreads is an app where people can rate the books they are currently reading, mark books they want to read, review books, and see what friends recommend and review. According to statista.com, the number of people on Goodreads stands at 90 million.
Another reason why I think that books have gotten more popular off of social media is authors of certain books becoming more active on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube. An example that comes to mind is John Green. John Green is known for his books ‘Looking for Alaska’, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, and ‘Paper Towns’. As of now, John Green has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, 2.1 million on TikTok, and his YouTube channel with his brother has 3.47 million subscribers.
Part of why I think authors have started posting on social media is about promotion. John Green, among other authors, have books that came out years ago, but they still get comments and questions about them daily on social media. This gives them a chance to promote his books while still answering questions. Many authors I’ve noticed who have social media, and post frequently, incorporate all types of things to post. From following trends, to talking about their personal life, which I think makes them more likeable and relatable to others.
I think social media has overall done a lot for growth in books and authors, but I do think that some toxicity lies behind it. Romanticizing reading has been something that’s increased and I’m happy to see an increase in readers but I think unrealistic expectations have been set about reading through social media. Social media shouldn’t dictate whether or not you do or don’t read a book, but certain books are popular for certain reasons. But overall, I think books gaining popularity through social media can be a good thing as long as you can stick to your own opinions and don’t let other dictate what you think of certain books.