If you spend any amount of time on YouTube, you’re probably aware of the growing popularity of BookTube, a genre of videos that focuses on book reviews, hauls, TBRs, and other book-related content. It’s one of the most prolific categories of YouTube videos with hundreds upon hundreds of BookTubers in the community and new ones cropping up every day. For many avid readers, it can be amazing to see such a large, passionate community dedicated to a love for books.
However, a large community doesn’t necessarily equal a racially diverse community. It can be hard to find people of color in BookTube when the overwhelming majority of the most popular BookTubers are White – around 93 percent, according to a survey conducted by BookTuber mynameismarines in her video titled “why is booktube so white?” And, though POC do exist in BookTube, the fact that their presence is often obscured by the more popular white BookTubers gives the illusion that they don’t exist at all.
Below is a (not all-encompassing) list of WOC in BookTube to look out for – I highly suggest checking all of their channels out as each one provides a unique perspective whether it’s regarding books or racial diversity.
Christina’s BookTube videos include unboxings, hauls, book discussions, and even interviews with published authors. Christina discusses books from all genres on her channel and makes an effort to feature books with characters of different minority groups.
As a Black woman, Christina also helped create #Diverseathon, a reading marathon where the participants spend a week reading books embracing diversity. Because of this, a lot of her videos focus on the topic of giving more exposure to diversified books.
She also started the hashtag #BookTubeSpeakUp to encourage BookTubers of all racial backgrounds to engage in and become educated on topics of social inequality instead of staying quiet about these issues. As with #Diverseathon, her aim is to highlight books that also discuss social issues through the #BookTubeSpeakUp hashtag.
Another co-creator and participant of #Diverseathon, Monica’s videos also center around embracing representation in books and promoting diverse books. Growing up and not finding anyone of Korean descent that wasn’t stereotyped or fetishized in books (until she read the first book in the Lara Jean series by Jenny Han) led to her interest in diversifying the media we consume.
She has supported charities like We Need Diverse Books, which advocates for changes in the publishing industry that will lead to more books representative of the lives of all groups of people.
Besides advocating for more inclusivity in books and in publishing, Monica also makes haul videos, TBRs, Unboxings, book tags, and videos talking about her favorite books. She has also made non-BookTube related content, such as vlogs and lookbook videos.
Joce’s channel includes a variety of different BookTube-related content – TBRs, hauls, Unboxings, tags, and reviews. She also has a series unique to her channel called Thrillers and More Thursday where she discusses crime, mystery, and/or thriller books. Joce also covers YA and sci-fi books on her channel.
As with the first two women, Joce co-created and participates in #Diverseathon. Along with this, Joce also promotes the #ownvoices hashtag on her channel, which focuses on bringing attention to and reading books by authors that write characters of their specific minority group.
Francina’s channel is a little more review-heavy than some of the others featured on this list. She reviews many books in the YA genre, particularly fantasy, and sometimes makes entire videos focusing on a particular theme or concern she found in a specific book. Her video about A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, for example, centers around the sexual nature of the book and whether it’s appropriate for the YA genre.
Francina has also made videos expressing her opinions on various topics, such as the ever-controversial issue of diversity in BookTube and sexual abuse in books. She is also an author with a fantasy book called The Keeper’s Vow published in 2016. She incorporates her experiences as an author into her channel by publishing videos providing writing tips and participating in writing tags.
Marines tends to center her videos on a specific book-related topic rather than making hauls and TBRs. For example, she has a video talking about the YA heroines she read in 2016 and another on the topic of unreliable narrators. Marines also makes a lot of review videos in the YA, fantasy, and contemporary genres, along with graphic novels.
She is also an advocate for diverse reading. As an ethnically Dominican woman, Marines participates in #hispanicheritagereads, which advocates for reading books by Hispanic authors during Hispanic Heritage Month. She has created a series of videos called Diversity Dialogues where Marines and other BookTubers of color discuss a different topic surrounding diversity, representation, and inclusivity. She also discusses BookTube representation issues, such as the struggle of finding POC in the BookTube community.
Rincey’s channel consists of TBRs, wrap-ups, and book reviews for genres like contemporary fiction and mysteries. She posts book-related videos every Friday consistently, which is great for people who like to watch new content on a regular basis. She also occasionally posts non-book related content, such as two videos she made about learning how to budget.
Rincey also participates in #Diverseathon and posts videos on her channel discussing her TBRs and wrap-ups for the marathon.
Sanaa’s channel is really a collection of different YouTube genres all in one. While she makes plenty of BookTube content in the form of book recommendations, hauls, and wrap-ups, she also has made gaming and general discussion-based videos in the past. Sanaa primarily reads and talks about science fiction and fantasy novels on her channel.
As a woman of Pakistani descent, Sanaa has discussed how being both a woman and a hijab-wearing POC has impacted her life in areas like BookTube, gaming, and the workforce.
Grace has a great channel to check out for people who are particularly interested in YA novels as the majority of the books she covers are YA, ranging from contemporary fiction to romance to science fiction and fantasy.
Despite this, she does cover other genres, like New Adult, and even made a video featuring some of her New Adult recommendations. While she does review books, her channel primarily consists of hauls, unboxings, book tags, and videos featuring published authors.
Grace is also a vegan and occasionally makes videos talking about her vegan lifestyle and the foods she eats.
Chami’s channel is another one that consists of more than just BookTube-related content. Whatever kind of content she’s making, however, one thing’s for certain: the aesthetics of her videos are always pleasing to look at, and she clearly puts a lot of time and effort into making her videos look visually attractive.
The BookTube side of Chami’s channel focuses on hauls and tags while she also uploads some beauty and vlog content.
She is also known for posting videos focused around book-related humor, like her video called “GOING TO THE BOOKSTORE LIKE…” where she pokes fun at the fact that she can’t go to a bookstore and only buy one book.
India’s channel also has a great collection of BookTube content with everything from wrap-ups to book vlogs to TBRs. She also makes videos dedicated to the topic of diversity and, particularly, Black History Month where she decided to read books written by Black authors. India does a great job of discussing the books she reads on her channel, even including booktalk videos where she talks about different elements of certain books more in-depth. For example, for her Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire booktalk, she starts a dialogue about the classism and prejudice in the Harry Potter universe.
While POC are often overlooked on BookTube in terms of popularity and success, digging deeper into the community and finding the countless amount of POC making bookish videos was an uplifting thing to see.
This is especially important when you remember that BookTube focuses overwhelmingly on YA fiction, meaning that lots of teenagers are watching this YouTube genre. For teenagers who are still coming to terms with their identities – for POC, oftentimes racial identities, feeling included and represented in this community is something people should strive for, and thankfully, it looks like BookTube has taken the first few steps for allowing this to happen.