Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

Document Type



BookTube, a literary-focused subcommunity of YouTube, is a network of readers where educational theory and literary theory collide. BookTube is known for delving out book reviews and showing off book hauls, but its content creators, known as booktubers, do much more than display walls of colorful hardback books. The BookTube community is a networked knowledge community (Sorensen & Mara, 2014) in which informal knowledge is valued as much as the formal knowledge attained in classrooms. Online book reviews on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads have demonstrated the waning influence of professional book reviewers because now any reader take on a critic’s role (Fay, 2012; Piorrecký & Malínek, 2020).

This qualitative research study uses narrative inquiry, transactional reader response theory (Rosenblatt, 1938/1994, 1978/1995), and networked knowledge communities (Sorensen & Mara, 2014) as theoretical frameworks to examine firstly, booktubers as readers to understand how and why they read and secondly, their participation in and with the BookTube community. Secondly, this study also examined how booktubers approach the booktube as a reading community and the technicalities of content creation. The findings of this study showed that booktubers based their identities as readers from early experiences with literature. BookTubers are also literacy sponsors (Brandt, 2007) to their viewers: they encourage reading and response to various forms of literature. BookTube is also a locus of diverse readers who read a variety of genres and formats. BookTubers are also connected to each other and their viewers through networked reading as they forge connections across social media platforms. Lastly, as with any community, there are counternarratives, which address the conflicts within the community. Within literature, booktubers advocate for genres outside of the trendier bestsellers.



Committee Chair

Bach, Jacqueline