By Jack Redmayne 

Friday, 17th of May 2024

Since the early days of Hollywood, film makers and financiers have sought after one thing above anything else, a guaranteed audience. Across the decades this desire has resulted in a plethora of different strategies such as casting popular actors or producing films within the most favoured genres. As of 2020, Hollywood’s strategists have turned their sights to the social media phenomenon, BookTok. 

The BookTok hashtag started to gain popularity during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown. This growth has certainly not plateaued, with the community now having over 200 Billion views on TikTok gaining recognition from media outlets and major publishing companies. Penguin Random House has even developed a built-in knowledge assistance tool to make the vast community even more interactive and informative. The trend has provided lesser-known and self-published authors with an unprecedented platform which has resulted in some miraculous success stories. The most notable example of the platform’s unsuspecting influence is Colleen Hoover, otherwise known as The Queen of BookTok. It is fair to say that when Colleen Hoover published her debut novel Slammed in 2013, she was far from a success. However, in 2021 Hoover experienced a colossal surge resulting in her book It Ends With Us achieving #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers List.

How does this influence Hollywood?

BookTok began as a place for people to recommend books to viewers. However, in the last few years it has become a hub for book-to-screen adaptation content with thousands of TikTokers taking their favourite books and creating their dream casts for when they are ‘inevitably’ adapted.  

Hollywood has finally got what they wanted, a guaranteed audience. Over the last year, numerous flagship titles of production companies have come from BookTok, such as ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ and ‘Conversations With Friends’. 

This is a seminal moment for the consumers of television and film. Previously, the decision making power stayed firmly inside the executives office, but now it seems as if their metaphorical door is wide open and ready for suggestions. No longer do you have to sit and wait patiently for your prayers to be answered and your favourite book to be adapted. BookTok has a seat at the table.

Overall, BookTok’s influence on Hollywood reflects the evolving relationship between social media, popular culture, and the entertainment industry. As platforms like TikTok continue to shape consumer tastes and preferences, they are also reshaping the way books are discovered, promoted, and adapted for the screen. By tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and amplifying diverse voices, BookTok has the potential to influence the types of stories that are told and celebrated in mainstream media.