ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has entered the publishing world by targeting self-published romance writers with offers that include advances, royalties, and online marketing services. TikTok’s massive audience of over 150 million users in the US alone has the potential to drive significant book sales. The #BookTok hashtag has amassed over 91 billion views in the past year, boosting authors to best-seller status.
ByteDance has filed a trademark for a publishing company called 8th Note Press, aiming to create an ecosystem for book discovery and discussion. While specific details about their publishing plans remain undisclosed, concerns arise regarding ByteDance’s potential to favor its own authors and impact organic trends on BookTok.
Despite these concerns, ByteDance’s initial advances have not directly competed with traditional publishing houses. Their focus on fantasy, romance, and mystery genres aligns with TikTok’s popularity. However, industry experts question ByteDance’s ability to secure a significant market share due to the analog nature of the publishing industry. The company’s print distribution plans and potential brick-and-mortar store sales remain unclear.
TikTok has already influenced the discovery of new authors, as publishers learn about viral sensations from booksellers. Publishers like Bloom Books, Berkley, and Avon have signed self-published authors who gained popularity on TikTok. However, doubts persist about ByteDance’s ability to identify and secure trending self-published authors before other publishers do.
While ByteDance can attract attention, success in the publishing industry depends on converting that attention into book sales. Captivating readers and driving purchases requires more than just viral videos. ByteDance’s ability to overcome these challenges and establish a successful publishing infrastructure remains to be seen.