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BookTube is a specific subset of the YouTube community that focuses on the topic of books.[1][2][3] While the majority of BookTubers focus on Young Adult literature, many address other types, such as classics, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, children's literature, comics, romance, and non-fiction.[4]


The BookTube community has grown exponentially in recent years.[5] Many channels have thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of subscribers. Outside of YouTube, BookTubers can be found at book and YouTube conventions like YallFest,[6] BookCon,[7] and VidCon.[8]

Types of videos[edit]

There are several different types of videos that BookTubers film.[9][10]

Some are reviews of books, detailing what they did or did not like about a certain book.[11] These reviews can also be of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) that are provided by book publishers who may wish to advertise using word of mouth.

BookTubers also make haul videos where they show the different books from trips to the bookstore, or an overview of the books that they got throughout a period of time. They also make unhaul videos where they discuss any books that they are removing from their collection.

Other common types of videos include:

  • Bookshelf tours are videos in which they show the viewer their bookshelves, usually describing the book as they go along.
  • TBR (to be read) videos in which they list what they intend to read in the immediate future.
  • Wrap-up videos containing discussions about books the BookTuber has read in a particular period of time, typically a week, month, or year.
  • Tag videos consisting of a series of questions or challenges around a theme which the BookTuber answers, then tags other BookTubers to answer.
  • Discussion videos addressing themes across books or issues arising in the BookTube community.
  • Collaborations in which two or more booktubers will join in a video, often playing a game or doing a tag.
  • Interviews with authors.

BookTube traditions and culture[edit]

Booktube is a community of video makers and watchers rather than a group of individuals doing similar things. There is a shared vocabulary (largely drawn from the wider bookish community), intertextuality (whereby BookTubers react and respond to other BookTubers), common traditions and some broadly shared values.


  • Bookternet: book and reading related internet enclaves, including book bloggers,[14] book podcasts,[15] BookTube, Bookstagram,[16] goodreads, Reblog Bookclub (on tumblr)[17]
  • TBR : to be read. These books can be: chosen to be read next, the total of unread books owned by a BookTuber, or books, not necessarily owned, that a BookTuber wishes to read
  • ARC : advanced reader copy. A not-for-sale copy of a yet-to-be-published book provided free by the publisher for publicity purposes, often distributed at conventions. The aim of these is to promote a book through word of mouth prior to release
  • Reading Slump: a period of time in which a BookTuber lacks the inspiration to read, or when reading is much slower than usual
  • Book Swag : book-themed non-book items such as T-shirts, tote bags, mugs etc.
  • Ship, Shipping: to support/endorse a relationship between fictional characters
  • Spoilers: Details of the content of a book which give away important plot developments


  • Readathon: an event during which participants read together over a defined period of time
  • Shout outs in which BookTubers recommend other BookTube channels in their videos.
  • NaNoWriMo: Many BookTubers, who are also avid writers, tend to participate in this challenge during which one attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November
  • Read-alongs are when a Booktuber will read a certain amount of a book per week so that viewers can follow along and add discussion.

Controvercies and Criticisms of BookTube[edit]

Despite advertising itself as an inclusive platform, BookTube has a tendency to be made almost exclusively by white people, while creators of another skin color often get overlooked. [18] This discontent eventually led to a now-deleted video where a white BookTuber decided to say that there was no racism in BookTube, while being extremely racist. [19]

People have also brought up that BookTube seems to be a place created less for the purposes of actual book discussions, and more for creating vlogs where they are just occupied with how they are perceived in an attempt to be popular without developing the format. [20]


  1. ^ Scott, Kate (2014-04-02). "A Beginner's Guide to BookTube". BOOK RIOT. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  2. ^ Oulton, Emma. "5 Reasons To Set Up A BookTube Account Of Your Own". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  3. ^ "#YouTubeWeek: A BookTube Crash Course, a guest post by AbbyRoseReads — @TLT16 Teen Librarian Toolbox". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  4. ^ "Amazing BookTube Channels To Suit Every Reading Personality". Huffpost. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "A new digital phenomenon: the rise of the Booktubers". Cafebabel. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  6. ^ "YALLFest". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  7. ^ "Book Con". Book Con. 2019-05-23. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  8. ^ "VidCon on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  9. ^ "6 Types of Videos Unique to BookTube". ZEFR Insights. 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  10. ^ "15 BookTubers To Suit Your Reading Personality". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  11. ^ "Great Sci-Fi & Fantasy BookTubers to Follow". 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  12. ^ "A Short Glossary of Book Nerds' Commonly Used Terms". Off the Beaten Shelf. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  13. ^ WhispersOfTheSilentWind (2016-01-23), Bookish Internet Terms | A Bibliophile's Guide, retrieved 2017-05-20
  14. ^ Inc, Scribendi. "The 17 Best Book Blogs to Read in 2017 |". Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  15. ^ Lowe, Simon (2016-11-07). "Words in your ears: the 10 best books podcasts". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  16. ^ "How To Fabulously Get Started On #Bookstagram". Paper Fury. 2016-07-16. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
  17. ^ "Reblog Book Club". Reblog Book Club. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
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