The most popular #BookTok books in every state

TikTok’s book community “#BookTok” was recently referred to by The New York Times as a “best seller machine.” In this community, creators post literary content to the app, ranging from book recommendations to their emotional reactions during pivotal plot points. 

This content has catapulted sales for a select few books, and major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble are recognizing the community’s power.

These days, it takes one viral TikTok for a book to become a bestseller. #BookTok reaches readers across the world, and a nation’s most popular books can tell us a lot about its language and culture. So which books are actually selling, and what do they have in common? 

Using Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and Google search interest data, we conducted an analysis of the titles rising in popularity due to TikTok. Our report ranks the most popular books and authors, determines which are favored in each state, and even highlights the older books making a comeback due to TikTok. 

Key findings

The most popular #BookTok books and authors

For BookTok community members, reading is all about finding stories that captivate their audience’s emotions – particularly their sense of romance. The top-five best-selling books due to TikTok are nearly all romances, and two of them share the same author.

The five most popular #BookTok books are:

  • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover (romance)
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (romance)
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (romance)
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (romance)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (young adult)

#BookTok has popularized the romance genre with Gen Z readers. Romance tropes such as “enemies to lovers” and “fake dating” allow readers to enjoy fun, lighthearted stories with satisfying emotional endings across many different books with unique characters. 

In fact, of the top 55 books analyzed, 24 were in the romance genre, according to Goodreads classifications. Fantasy books took up 12 slots, with young adult (8), thriller (6), and historical fiction (4) genres following.

With two books in the top three slots, Colleen Hoover is the standout author on #BookTok. Her titles Verity and It Starts With Us are also in the top 25 #BookTok books. A romance author with one thriller title (Verity), Hoover is active on TikTok and Instagram, engaging with the community with her humorous personality. She clearly has a strong sense of what’s popular in online reading communities. 

Jennifer L. Armentrout also has four titles gaining significant traction on TikTok. A prolific fantasy and romance writer, books from her Blood and Ash, Harbinger and Dark Elements series have each been heavily promoted by the #BookTok community. 

Other popular #BookTok authors include Alice Oseman, Casey McQuiston, Elle Kennedy and Emily Henry, each with three books on the top #BookTok book list.

The most popular #BookTok books by state

A nation’s most popular books can tell us a lot about its culture, and the same is true for individual states. We analyzed the list of over 170 popular #BookTok books using local search data to determine the most popular #BookTok bestseller in every state and created a map to display each state’s favorite title.

With 41 books represented, there are a wide variety of popular books in the U.S. right now, thanks to TikTok. The books most popular on a state-by-state level include:

  • Ugly Love (4 states)
  • Book of Night (3 states)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (2 states)
  • One Last Stop (2 states)
  • The Spanish Love Deception (2 states)
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (2 states)
  • Written in the Stars (2 states)

The books making a comeback thanks to #BookTok

Finally, some books published well over a decade ago are seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to TikTok. We removed books that have movie adaptations or are part of popular franchises such as Twilight or The Hunger Games

Here are the lesser-known titles that #BookTok is giving a comeback:

  • I Am Number Four (published 2009)
  • Anna and the French Kiss (published 2010)
  • The Song of Achilles (published 2011)
  • Throne of Glass (published 2012)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (published 2012)

Conclusion

Books open up our worlds and minds. Simple stories that follow traditional narrative arcs can also be effective language learning tools. Whether your recommendation comes from #BookTok or The New York Times, discover a new title and learn about a different culture, place, or time. 

Methodology: Using a list of 170+ popular #BookTok titles compiled by Barnes & Noble, we used Google search data to conduct this analysis. Genre data compiled using Goodreads.

National Book Lovers Day: Celebrate By Learning to Download Books for Free

August 9 is National Book Lovers Day, a celebration for book worms everywhere. And lucky for us, our public library has its own collection of ebooks and audiobooks that we can download for free.
Libby, the leading library reading app by OverDrive, lets users download ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and more at no cost. All you need to get started is a library card—and even if you don’t have one, an Instant Digital Card can be yours in 30 seconds with just a phone number. 

Besides being able to borrow digital titles, OverDrive launched a new monthly blog series this July showing June’s top ten most popular books that had been borrowed digitally from the public library on Libby. Now in August, they’re sharing July’s top ten. On the list, you’ll find frequent New York Times bestsellers including Daniel Silva and Danielle Steel. Also among the Top Ten is T.J. Newman with their stunning instant #1 bestselling debut title, Falling.

As a reminder, Professional Book Nerds podcast always previews the upcoming month’s buzziest new books as well, and you can listen to their August episode right here. You can find July’s most popular new releases in the list below.

The top ten new books from July

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Falling by T.J. Newman


The Cellist by Daniel Silva


It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

Nine Lives by Danielle Steel

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory


The Therapist by B. A. Paris

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs


Fallen by Linda Castillo

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

         In the 300-room Sagar Mahal, or the Ocean Palace built by her great times four grandfather on the Arabian Sea, 13-year-old Trisha Raje is coached by her father not to be overwhelmed by the sorrow she saw at a school of the blind that day but instead find a solution so she doesn’t feel badly. And so, she does. Before long Trisha had created a global charity that performed eye surgeries on the needy and then became San Francisco’s premiere neurosurgeon, a woman with immense skill but so lacking in social graces that many in her family are not talking to her as she once inadvertently jeopardized her older brother’s fast track political career.

         But that isn’t Trisha’s only difficulty in Sonali Dev’s newest book, Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors (William Morrow 2019; $15.99), a Bollywood take on Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. Dev switches up roles between Trisha and DJ Caine, a rising star chef whose cancer-stricken sister is a patient of Trisha’s. She a descendant of Indian Royalty is Mr. Darcy and Caine, a Rwandan/Anglo-Indian—meaning he belongs to a much lower social class, is Emma.

To paraphrase Jane Austen, Dev writes “It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep” and the book is classic Austen with its subtle ironic humor and the structured setting required in any well-to-do aristocratic English or Indian milieu. Trisha has broken the three ironclad rules of their family: Never trust an outsider, never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations and never, ever, defy your family. Desperate to redeem herself in ways that her brilliancy and scoring a $10 million dollar grant for her medical department—their largest ever—is unable to do, Trisha must cope with falling in love with Caine, saving his sister and ensuring that she will not somehow disgrace her family again.

         Dev, who is married with two teenagers and lives in Naperville, says is Mr. Darcy/Trisha and that’s she’s been entranced with Jane Austen’s book since watching the Indian TV adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” called “Trishna” in the 1980s when she was a middle schooler,

 “I went straight to the library and checked out Pride and Prejudice and read it over and over,” she says.

As for writing, Dev says she wrote before she could even read, making up stories and characters,” she says, noting she wrote and acted in her first play when she was eight. “Writing has always been with me.”

She grew up in Mumbai though the family traveled a lot as her father was in the military.

“I was always the new kid on the block with a book,” she says.

She continues to read and write at an amazing speed.

“I am in fact waiting to get the edits back for my new book,” she says, noting that writing is an escape, a way of putting yourself in the shoes of someone not like you.

What: Sonali Dev Book Launch Party

When: Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m.

Where: Andersons Bookshop, 123 W Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL

FYI: The event is free and open to the public. To join the signing line, please purchase the author’s latest book, Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors, from Anderson’s Bookshop. To purchase contact Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville, 630-355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

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