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As you have probably noticed, just about every single YouTube content creator with a subscriber count in the millions has been given a book deal. No matter how little suited their style might be to the written word.
If you think most of them are boring, obviously-ghostwritten cash grabs… you’re not wrong. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With Adblocker technology becoming the norm and assuming they haven’t opted into YouTube Red, some content creators need to find other ways to make money doing what they enjoy. And books may just be the key.
It turns out that some of them are actually very good reads. After all, there are a number of YouTubers who really know their stuff. It took a considerable amount of searching, but there are at least six books from popular YouTubers that are well worth reading.
This Book Loves You by PewDiePie
If you’re a fan of PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) or know someone who is, you’ve likely heard of this book. Eschewing any kind of narrative whatsoever, This Book Loves You is strictly a series of images and darkly humorous quotes.
Out of all the books on this list, this is the one I can most readily believe to have not been written by a ghost writer. Pewds’ trademark offbeat humor and guileless sincerity is on full display here. While the book could have benefited from one or two discreet edits, for the most part it is a continuation of the same acquired taste that is the PewDiePie brand.
You Deserve a Drink by Mamrie Hart
Most of the books I read from lifestyle vloggers tend to stink of some combination of self-aggrandizement and embarrassment. Mamrie Hart has no such pretensions. Her voice is both warm and blunt in this series of humorous essays about her life and adventures.
Every anecdote is a self-contained story, with an accompanying cocktail. I guarantee you’ll wish you’d been present for some of her misadventures. Hart knows how to tell a story, and she manages to make even her mundanities sound interesting, though the strategic application of her liquor recipes will undoubtedly help put the reader in the right state of mind.
The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino
I think the best books by YouTubers are those written by YouTubers who know how to play to their strengths, or at least to their established audience. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook delivers exactly the nerdy recipes that make Rosanna Pansino stand out from the rest of the YouTubers making cooking shows.
Even if you’ve never seen Pansino make her Nerdy Nummies before, your mouth will be watering once you lay eyes on her colorful and delicious-looking creations. From the Red Blood Cell Cupcakes through the Chocolate Chess Board to the Atomic Cookies, every recipe is mouth-watering and delicious.
Binge by Tyler Oakley
Tyler Oakley has nothing to hold back from his audience in Binge. As the title implies, the book is a series of anecdotes about his life, told with no holds barred and with self-indulgence. The frankness of his many essays is the sort that will cause some people to feel slightly uncomfortable, but I personally found it refreshing.
Binge is a book full of essay memoirs, but unlike You Deserve a Drink, some of the stories are more embittered than funny. Oakley shares his memories of an imperfect past with all of the emotions the memories come with, and it can be hard to read at times. Still, it is nice to feel that the writer is sharing some part of themselves with you, as opposed to presenting a polished and unreal version as many other memoirs do.
Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Up by Grace Helbig
Most books by YouTubers in the “self-help” genre tend to give advice so generic as to be useless. Grace Helbig has some things to say which may actually help people of the younger generations, from dating in the digital age to financial concerns.
Her advice sometimes comes with stories and funny pictures, but at its core the book is full of decent help and on-point observations about the current state of the world.
Helbig does occasionally have the self-effacement unfortunately common in books by YouTubers, but for the most part it comes in this form: “I don’t have my life together, but neither does anyone else. Here’s how to deal with that.” She’s witty, yet sapient.
I Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson
The humor in this series of essays by Shane Dawson can be a little dated, but he knows how to tell a funny story. Beginning with a tale from the early 00s where he manages to make a haircut sound like an epic tale of personal reinvention, he picks up steam from there. Somehow each story, no matter how mundane, feels interesting and relatable.
Dawson, who boasts one of the highest subscriber counts on YouTube, does sometimes require some edits (in the very first essay he tells a story that takes place in 2006, yet makes reference in-story to a film from 2008), but it’s overall a funny and diverting read. Dawson’s written voice comes across as very warm and open despite also being snarky and harsh sometimes. It’s an interesting contrast, and an enjoyable one.
NB: For those wondering why John Green’s books aren’t on the list, it’s because his books have already reached an audience wider than his YouTube subscriber base and I feel to include them would have been cheating.
Which Books by YouTubers Have You Read?
I personally plumbed through the stacks of books by YouTubers to find those worth reading. So I can attest that most of these would be great reads even if you are not a regular viewer of the YouTuber in question.
However, there are so many books by YouTubers out there that there’s no way I could have covered them all. Which is why you, the reader, are an important part of the equation.
Have you read any books by YouTubers? Which did you enjoy and which did you despise? Please help us grow this list by detailing your thoughts in the comments below!