Scribd has released its data on some of the most important book trends of 2021, based on data drawn from a sample set of over 100 million hours consumed through their total marketplace of over 160 million pieces of content and more than 800 million readers. One of the standouts trends affecting books is BookTok, the part of social media app TikTok where book lovers extol their favorite books and have helped turn titles such as viral science fiction romance Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon into massive successes.
According to Scribd, BookTok was the cause of a major uptick in sales for certain books that became popular on the platform. In their roundup, Scribd notes, “What’s most notable is following an -18% decline in reading before any BookTok attention, books highlighted in TikTok saw an average 75% spike after promotion on that platform. notably It Ends With Us [by Colleen Hoover] enjoyed a 70% jump thanks to BookTok, going from -17% before promotion to 53% to 73% to 141% quarter-over-quarter, and [The] Song of Achilles [by Madeline Miller] jumped 68% from 1% to 69% then continued to grow at 59% and 31%.”
TikTok’s penchant for propelling even older titles to bestseller lists was explored by New York Times
in March, in an article in which Elizabeth A. Harris wrote, “Many Barnes & Noble
Another trend Scribd found among its readers was the popularity of book-to-screen adaptations. According to Scribd’s roundup, the site “saw a rise in book popularity in-line with the launch of a Netflix
The most popular books on Scribed in 2021 were The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck byMark Manson, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, The Guest List by Lucy Foley, sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, Anxious People by Fredrik Backman and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.
The way people access books has also changed this year, according to Scribd, notably with a marked rise in use of audiobooks. “[W]e’ve seen audiobooks take off in recent years as it provides a convenient way to multitask and still fit in a great read. Our search results show audiobook weren’t on the search radar in 2019 but rocketed to the top in 2021. In the past year alone, from 2020 to 2021, searches that included the term “audiobook” grew by 22%. While that’s impressive, searches from 2019 compared to 2021 grew by a whopping 515%.” Specifically, “the average Scribd user spent 42 hours listening to audiobooks” in 2021 (based on usage from January to October 2021), which is 32% longer than then they listened in 2020. 18% more readers started an audiobook in 2021 vs. 2020.
Scribd also tracked reading by area for 2021, with those in Idaho, Wyoming and Vermont reading the most, and people in New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC reading the least. Alaska led the United States in ebook reading.