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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dixon

TikTok’s Parent Company ByteDance is Getting into Book Publishing

ByteDance, the parent company of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, is exploring entry into the world of book publishing.

ByteDance’s subsidiary Lemon has filed a trademark application for a range of book publishing products and services in the US under the name “8TH NOTE PRESS,” according to a filing posted on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The listed products include a community app for discussing and downloading e-books, retail bookstore services, and publishing e-books, audiobooks, and physical books.

While ByteDance has not specified any concrete plans to enter the publishing industry, the move follows TikTok’s success in attracting book lovers to share their recommendations under the #BookTok hashtag.

With over a billion users worldwide, ByteDance is keen to find new ways to monetize its platforms and leverage its vast stores of user data to introduce new offerings.

ByteDance’s Entry into Book Publishing Challenges Amazon’s Position as Leader in the Market

Amazon currently dominates the publishing and distribution market in the US, according to industry pundit Benedict Evans, which estimated at the end of 2019 that Amazon had “50% or more of the U.S. print book market, and at least three quarters of publishers’ ebook sales.”

However, Amazon has never revealed much in the way of revenue figures, making it difficult to track market share.

ByteDance’s ability to foster communities of readers and writers could give it an edge in the fragmented online publishing market.

Specifically, the company’s strength in e-publishing comes from its sprawling social media empire, which connects authors with their fans and readers with one another.

ByteDance is no stranger to e-books, having acquired roughly 11% of the publicly traded Chinese e-book reader Yuewen in 2020, as well as operating one of China’s most popular web novel apps, Tomato Novel.

The company also experimented with an English web fiction app called Mytopia in 2021, but the app caught flak for launching erotica ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Chinese Apps Under Scrutiny in US as US-China Tensions Linger

It is worth noting that US lawmakers have been to taking an increasingly aggressive stance against Chinese apps as US-China tensions remain high.

Last month, a US congressional commission called out Shein and Temu in a report that suggested the companies and others in China were potentially linked to the use of forced labor, exploitation of trade loopholes, product safety hazards, or intellectual property theft.

The popular video-sharing app TikTok is also at risk of being banned in the US unless its Chinese parent ByteDance sells its stake.

Furthermore, Senate lawmakers have recently introduced a legislative proposal that could expand the president’s authority in dealing with perceived threats from foreign-owned apps, according to an official press release.

In short, the legislation would empower the Biden administration to ban TikTok under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). This has left millions of American users of the video-sharing app wondering whether a ban could be imminent.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.


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