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What is Booktube? A corner of Youtube just for bookworms

Have you seen a meme floating around that says ‘Bookworms will rule the world as soon as we finish one more chapter’?

Well, I do not know about ruling the world, but book lovers certainly do manage to carve out a little space for themselves everywhere. We have already covered Instagram with our list of top bookstagrammer’s in India and the blogging community with top book bloggers in India.

We can’t really ignore Youtube, can we? Like all the other platforms on the internet, there is a little corner on YouTube for bookworms too – Booktube.

YouTube today is a video repository of every kind. Be it entertainment, news, comedy, technology, science, education – the list goes on – there is a dedicated group of creators with videos to scratch any itch you have. These creators consider their viewers a “community” who engage with their content by commenting and following and who pay with their viewing time.

Terms naming these communities have become common parlance: like TechTubers for creators who review new tech products or Vloggers for those who post videos blogs of their daily lives. And, of course, BookTubers. 

What is BookTubing?

BookTube is a collective term that refers to both creators and consumers who talk books on YouTube. And it is almost as old as YouTube. Depending on who you ask, the general consensus is that the community either started with Christine Riccio’s polandbananasBOOKS or John Green’s Vlogbrothers sometime before 2010.

These creators started by making home videos about their favourite books or reviews of what they enjoyed reading. It helped them connect with other book lovers. But as the popularity of YouTube grew, the audience of readers started aggregating towards niche areas and communities of creators diversified into specific genres.

Today you will find a popular BookTuber for every genre; but young adult is the most popular and successful one on the platform. 

Can I make BookTubing a profession? 

Apart from John Green’s Vlogbrothers there has not yet been a BookTuber who has surpassed the 1Million subscriber mark. Most TechTubers or Financial advisory channels pass this level easily and hence are able to give up on their day jobs.

Even Vlogbrothers isn’t strictly a book only place anymore and it’s extreme popularity might be attributable to their diversification into posting more educational videos. But a dedicated reader might find another incentive to venture into BookTubing. 

Read on.

Do publishers like BookTubers?

Yes. There is a symbiotic relationship between popular BookTubers and publishing houses. Publishers sponsor a video in return for mentioning a new title or ask (and pay) for a dedicated video review. These collaborations often help creators become more financially viable.

For publishers, the dedicated viewer base of a BookTuber helps reach specific audience or start a word-of-mouth chain. A BookTuber with fewer subscribers but a high percentage of viewer engagement might help nudge his subscribers to pick up a title through a review or discussion.

So publishers do not necessarily need to target a BookTuber with a high subscriber base. This is probably why they send free copies of their books to BookTubers along with regular media – a factor that might be of particular interest to dedicated readers thinking of getting into BookTubing. 

How do I start a BookTube channel

At the outset, the rules for BookTubing are no different from that of starting any new YouTube channel. You need an obvious channel name, a fairly decent mobile camera, a quiet place and a regular process of reviewing and posting videos.

There are enough articles on the web that can help you with the process of starting a YouTube channel. But more specifically, readers of books connect better with BookTubers who know their content. So it is better to find a niche – be it fiction, crime, non-fiction and be good at it. 

What types of content do BookTubers post?

The basic video of a Booktuber is a Book Review. Here the creator will talk in detail about a book he liked or recently read. Book reviews can be of contemporary books or of classics. Some booktubers invite viewer suggestions for what they should read next – using the community to make the space more interactive.

Then there is the reading vlog which is shot like a video blog and shows the  BookTuber engaging with a book as they read it. In a Book haul the creator shows the viewer a group of books they have recently acquired.

And there are listicles, being a list of books around a specific theme – best books of the year, an author, a genre or a topic. Sometimes creators might want to interact with their viewers and might tag a book on social media inviting questions and then make a video answering these questions.

Wrap-up videos focus on creators giving an overview and opinion of the books they read during a specific period. 

A niche subset of Booktubing is AuthorTube. This is usually a channel where an aspiring writer posts videos discussing their own writing process. It has allowed several authors gain popularity for their work.

So if you are inclined that way, BookTubing and specifically AuthorTube could be an incentive to work and a medium to gain traction for your work.

What about BookTubing in India?

Booktubing in India could best be described as a niche endeavour. For a serious creator, there is a dedicated following to tap into, but it is usually a small subscriber base. Most BookTubers in India struggle to get past a few thousand subscribers.

The gap, especially considering the size of Indian audience and the popularity of almost every other genre of YouTubing can seem glaring but it is also an opportunity for a newbie. 

Booktube is also just one of the many tools used for book marketing in India. So, if you are an author looking to promote your book, you may want to check out our list of top book marketing companies in India. If you are a Booktuber, you may want to collaborate with the book marketing companies or the authors to monetize and cross promote your channel.

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