TikTok Figured Out an Easy Way to Recommend Books. The Results Were Dubious.


TikTok has become a powerful platform for book influencers, both to promote their content and package books, using the “vibe” of a particular trope. This trope categorization lets readers cherrypick their own adventures while streamlining the process of picking out books. This trope-ification has contributed to the rise of genre book sales.

Though some readers are concerned books are now being created merely to fulfill a simplistic trope formula, the trend has still had a significant impact on the publishing industry. Publishers have adopted the use of tropes in book metadata, and sales of genre books have increased in the past year.

Trends in publishing, however, are often fleeting. Who knows when this trope-ification of novels will eventually go out of style?


“Many book lovers who are in the market for their next read—especially readers who stick to genres like romance and fantasy—turn first to accounts like this. TikTok is teeming with book influencers like Aroha (her last name is a pseudonym), who use their platforms to peddle new releases, make book recommendations, share reviews, and more. But in 2021 and 2022, these content creators found a new way to hack the algorithm—and in turn, the publishing industry. That is, until they began to wonder if they had created a monster.”