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Kristie HortonBookTube is a niche community within YouTube that talks about books with content including book hauls, reading wrap-ups, to-be-read lists, vlogs and more. On Thursday 14 April, student member Kirstie Horton presented the results of her Masters research on BookTube and the Publishing Industry, which was shortlisted for the IPEd Student Prize. 

Drawing on her own experience as a BookTube creator and user, as well as the data from her research, Kirstie’s multifaceted presentation looked at the people who watch BookTube and how videos influenced their buying and reading habits, the people who create BookTube content (BookTubers), the sorts of content they create and why, and what publicists in publishing houses expect from BookTube. 

Kirstie interviewed more than 100 people who watch BookTube frequently. Statistics show that 64% purchase at least one book once a month, more than 80% of them sourced books from social media and more than 60% browsed in store or online. What’s more, the BookTube community are avid readers: 34% read 10–49 books per year, 32% read 50–99, and 27% read more than 100 books a year. 

While Kirstie did present on the various types of videos that viewers liked to watch, she also maintained that the type of video is not as important as the personal connection between the viewer and the BookTuber. Likewise, star ratings and bad reviews were not as detrimental to viewer’s likelihood to purchase as what people may expect. Up to 80% of readers will still read a book with a bad review by a BookTuber they trust. 

Kirstie then moved on to give us an insight as to how many books a BookTuber can realistically read, how often they might post and where publishers could fit in their schedules. She gave an overview of what drives BookTubers and what they see as their role in the industry, and she also looked at how publicists engage with Booktubers and how they can work together to get their schedules in sync and maximise publicity. 

Kirstie gave advice on how to find and choose reviewers. The quality of the content (thoughtful and quotable reviews), the identity of the BookTuber (alignment of key values), engagement and follower count were all important aspects of considering who to work with. 

The presentation was immensely informative and so exciting to hear about how readers are using social media to promote literature and reading. It was perfect for those wanting to learn about how they can engage social media to promote books, as well as for those looking to engage BookTubers to help promote their own books. 

The recording will be available shortly for purchase.