BookTok and Its POC Creators Are Reviving the Publishing Industry

Stack of colorful hardback books

TikTok has taken the thrown as the most popular social platform in the world. While it may be famous for its funny videos, life hacks, and fashion trends, it turns out — there’s a lot more to TikTok than meets the eye. The platform’s reader-centric community, known as BookTok, has gradually been championing diversity in the publishing world, and that has led to positive change.

BookTok: From a Hashtag to a Community

Like many things on TikTok, BookTok started out as a hashtag for all types of content about reading, books, writing, and everything in between. Over time, it grew into a subcommunity that has been steadily driving change in the publishing industry. If you follow the hashtag, you’ll find a world of book reviews, plot reenactments, writing advice, and everything literature-related you can think of.

A TikTok-Fueled Resurgence

The last few years have seen a major change in our lifestyles. One of those changes was a not-so-surprising spike in sales of printed books. In fact, according to NPD Bookscan and Forbes, the U.S. print book market is up by nine percent compared to 2020. Many publishing houses have attributed that “phenomenal impact” to TikTok. And why wouldn’t they? The evidence is right there!

Back in August 2020, TikTok content creator, Selene Velez was asked by her 223,000 followers about the last book that made her cry. She responded in a 27-second video with a few of her book recommendations. One book, in particular, caught everyone’s attention.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a romantic reimagining of The Iliad by Homer. Although it was originally published in 2012, after Velez’s video went viral, Miller’s book got on the New York Times bestseller list ranking at #1 last April. Not so bad for a book that was released almost a decade ago, right?

Shadowbanning and Algorithm Issues

Although BookTok is making waves and inspiring more people to read, not all content creators are allowed to “shine” on the platform, it would seem. POC BookTokers are working hard to highlight authors of color in hopes of shifting the current paradigm. In the meantime, many have blamed TikTok’s algorithm for promoting content primarily by white people. This has led to the so-called shadowbanning effect, which refers to the gradual decrease in visibility of a user’s content. The same tactic is also used on other social media apps like Pinterest and Instagram.

While TikTok is aware of the algorithm issue, not much has changed. That’s why users have to tailor their page so that the algorithm reflects their interests and it brings more diversity to the spotlight.

3 Proven Ways to Handle Parenting During Challenging Times

A family of four having fun in the kitchen unpacking groceries

Being a parent is no walk in the park. Even when you’re at a high point in your life, parenting can still be a challenge. But it is when you hit a rough patch, like losing a job or a loved one, that holding it together can feel near impossible. You are not alone in this, and these three tips will help you parent mindfully when everything seems out of control.

1. Dedicate Time for Connection and for Independence

Woman lifting her toddler up in the air In other words, make time to do shared activities together, but also plan times for you all to do your individual thing. The first part, you probably already know all too well: cooking dinner together, playing board games, watching movies, and virtually anything that can be considered as a “bonding time.” It’s important not to get too stressed about spending all your free time with your children. They need their own personal space as well. So, next time you need to do some work at home, present your kids with a choice: “do you want to play with your dolls or go outside while I finish my work for an hour?” Pick safe options and let them choose what they want to do out of them.

2. Parenting Is About Learning Together, Too

Mother and daughter eating cereal and using napkins A lot of the parenting advice you will likely find online revolves around using every opportunity to educate your child about “the important things in life.” Yes and no. When times are tough and you are emotionally vulnerable, your children can sense that. Instead of trying to make a lesson out of everything, why not learn something together. Or, better yet, why not let them teach you something? For example, they can show you how to create masterpieces out of crayons and paper, as well as the proper way to eat your cereal in the morning.

3. Reassure Them

Father and daughter having a throughtful conversation on a bench During times of instability or major changes, you will often find a difference in your kids’ behavior. There can be more bedtime call-backs, tantrums, and otherwise uncharacteristic behaviors you’re not used to. Oftentimes, these changes are a cry for attention. Your children may not understand you’re going through a challenging time, but they can feel something is off, and they instantly feel insecure and in need of your emotional reassurance. So, give that to them. Let your children know they are your top priority. Let them choose an activity for you to do together, even if you only have half an hour. Unlike other things in life, parenting is 24/7, and your kids should know that even if everything else changes, your love for them won’t.