A Beginner's Guide to Bookish Terms

The reader community on social media is blossoming! Millions of bookstagram photos, book hauls, and bookish treats are shared daily. Sign on and start using this new lingo to share some of your favorite reads.

Photo credit: @novellyyours

Photo credit: @novellyyours


A general term tacked on to anything and anyone who has to do with a book. See that Harry Potter paraphernalia cluttering up your shelf? That’s bookish. Those candles that smell like old ink and paper? Bookish. Your purse that you picked because it can fit two paperbacks in? Yeah, that kind of crazy is what makes us bookish.


Look around your house. See those piles of books you’ve been meaning to read? That’s your TBR stack. A “to be read” pile or list is where good books go to die. If you don’t have enough enthusiasm to read the book right away, chances are you’ll just put it in a pile that you’ll look at a few times a week with anxiety and tell yourself you’ll get to soon but never will. Some people will conquer their TBR list, and these people we call our heroes.


A well-framed picture of a book or stack of books posted on Instagram. Most of the time this image contains a cute toy such as a Funko Pop figurine and/or fairy lights and floral accents. These images are what help other #Bookstagrammers find books to read, or just display on their shelves. Connect with others online using these pretty pictures, but don’t worry if you don’t take great pictures. Repost (with credit) from other accounts of books you like, or just let the book shine for itself.


Write down a book as DNF if you did not finish it. This is a handy acronym for those books that you can’t seem to get through, whether from inappropriate or inane content. Note DNF in your review on GoodReads or on other sites to let other readers know you stopped reading and why.


A booklover who often can be found bookstagramming or sipping coffee at their local indie shop. Often quotes classics, especially Jane Austin. Approach with caution if carrying or touting the latest Kindle. You may be mocked for your choice of reading format.


If you’ve ever received a copy of a book to review before it’s been published, you’ve gotten an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC). ARC’s come in many different formats, including unfinished manuscripts in pdf or ebook, designated ARC copies for proofreading, and prepublication paperbacks.

Book Haul

Ever buy books, bring them home, unwrap them just to sit and bask in the delicious potential of reading them? Then, my friends, you’ve experienced a book haul. Book hauls are to be shared online with your friends, through videos or photos so they can experience envy at all your glorious new books. But seriously, don’t brag about your book hauls. Reading is an activity that spans many-a-price-range and should be shared by all. Book hauls can be bought on sale, taken home from the library, or even ARC copies received for reviewing.

Add your voice to the #bookish conversation online and use some of the new terms you’ve learned today. Be sure to tag me @Katelynsbolds & @hopebythebook on Twitter or Facebook and @bold.reads and @hopebythebook over on my bookstagram account. Remember: keep calm and read a book!