Nowadays it seems like BookTok is THE social media to look for book recommendations. I’m a TikTok newbie, to be honest. I downloaded the app a few weeks ago, and I can see why it’s so enthralling. The algorithm does a great job of seeing the content you like and then showing you things it knows will keep you glued to the screen. In my case, it’s a weird overlap of language learning, K-pop, and — you guessed it — books. Which is why I’m doing this little experiment. Because today, I’m going to let my TikTok For You page pick my TBR!
Browsing My TikTok For You Page
I know that TikTok filters everything to keep you using the app as long as possible, and I can absolutely confirm this by the books that showed up in my feed (more on that in a sec). For starters, they were books that were already on my radar. I was a bit baffled by this because they hadn’t shown up in my TikTok feed at all before this. Yet they were books I’d Googled not too long ago. Plus, two out of my three picks were fantasy books — one of my favorite genres. So TikTok definitely knows me well.
When I first loaded the app, I got a ton of recommendations by genre or trope that featured 10 or more books in a single video without telling you more about them. I quickly realized that this wasn’t great for my experiment. Because then all the recommendations would come from the exact same video. Plus, they would most likely be very similar books. So I set a little rule for myself. I would use the videos that recommended a single book. I also decided to give myself a certain amount of books I wanted to read for this experiment. The number I settled on was three. So I promised myself that I would read the first three books that popped up in my feed.
Choosing My TBR
So I dived back into my For You page, and it seemed like TikTok had read my thoughts. Lo and behold, there were the videos recommending a single book. I’m surprised to say, it actually took minutes for my For You page to throw me my next three reads. The first one actually made me laugh out loud because it was the perfect intersection of everything I loved to see on TikTok. So it definitely felt tailored to me. The book was Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn — one that Namjoon from BTS has recommended.
The second pick was really surprising. It was The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker. As far as I know, this book isn’t that popular on social media (yet, hopefully). But it was on my radar, and it’s actually a book I’ve been meaning to read since it was published.
The third and final book I would be reading thanks to TikTok was Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. Now this one bent the rules a bit. Because it actually came from a “if you like X book you’ll like this one” type of video. So while it technically mentioned two books, it highlighted Lynn Tan’s. I also confess that this was one of my most anticipated books of the year. So this experiment was a great excuse to finally pick it up.
I was now armed with three seemingly great books. So I had nothing left to do but read them and see if TikTok’s For You page chose the right books for my TBR.
Reading the Books TikTok Chose for My TBR
Right off the bat I want to say that this was a wonderful reading experience. I really enjoyed all three books that the TikTok For You page picked for my TBR! Letting the app choose my next few reads felt like a gamble at first, but it eerily nailed my literary tastes — at least this time. I was really surprised by this because I know they’re not among the most popular books on the app. I genuinely thought I’d see Colleen Hoover, Jennifer L. Armentrout, or Sarah J. Maas pop up, seeing as BookTok tends to love their books. But I’m really glad that wasn’t the case because those weren’t the books I wanted to read.
Before I go, I wanted to talk a little about the books themselves. Don’t worry, I won’t go into specifics so I don’t spoil the books. My absolute favorite was Daughter of the Moon Goddess. It was the perfect mix of fantasy, romance, and adventure that I love to read. It might’ve become one of my favorite fantasy books ever, and I’m really glad I finally had the chance to read it. I enjoyed Almond and The Keeper of Night a little less. They are YA books, which I don’t enjoy as much as I did before. Nevertheless, I think they are good books, and I did enjoy reading them for their unique plots and morally gray characters. In a way, they were still great books for me, and I give my TikTok For You page a 9/10 for my picks.
If you want to keep reading about BookTok, take a dive into our TikTok archive! There you’ll find some of the most popular books on the site as well as the best accounts to follow.