Podcast Episode 162: BookTok 101 with Leigh Stein (Author & Journalist)

BookTok TikTok Leigh Stein

In Episode 162, Leigh Stein (author and journalist) joins me to jump into the world of BookTok, the bookish corner of TikTok. We talk about what early elements started this sensation, how creators and their content are different on this platform, and the main audience engaging with the app’s evolving algorithm. We also discuss the continuing gap in marketing and authentic social media content, and how we think publishers could address this issue. (Did we solve it?!) Plus, Leigh shares some great book recommendations!

This post contains affiliate links through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • Leigh kicks off our discussion by defining BookTok and tracing its rapid rise to phenomenon status.
  • We talk about BookTok’s current and future trajectory.
  • Leigh brings in some sales stats for the top BookTok authors.
  • We talk about the way younger and younger readers are being drawn to the bookshelves.
  • The appeal of BookTok versus Bookstagram as recommendation media versus social media.
  • The percentage of Gen Z and Millennials that find their next book on BookTok.
  • Addressing the bigger criticisms of TikTok.
  • How the type of content on BookTok differs from the type of content on Bookstagram.
  • The genres that perform the best on BookTok.
  • We talk about the profound impact of BookTok on the publishing industry and how it’s reshaping traditional media coverage.
  • The marketing risk of trying to find the balance between authenticity and effective promotion on BookTok.
  • Leigh shares some awesome tips for authors trying to engage with the BookTok community.

Leigh’s Book Recommendations [39:59]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

One Book She DIDN’T Love

One NEW RELEASE She’s Excited About

Last 5-Star Book Leigh Read

Other Books Mentioned

Other Links

About Leigh Stein

BookTok TikTok Leigh Stein WebsiteInstagram | Substack | TikTok 

Leigh Stein is a writer interested in what the internet is doing to our identities, relationships, and politics. She is the author of five books, including the critically acclaimed satirical novel Self Care and the poetry collection What to Miss When. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker online, and more. She was co-founder and executive director of Out of the Binders/BinderCon, a feminist literary nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women and gender variant writers.

Next Episode

In two weeks (March 6), Sara Hildreth, from @FictionMatters and co-host of the podcast Novel Pairings, returns for her third appearance on the podcast for a special Classics & Retellings 101 episode.

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BookTok TikTok Leigh Stein

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