10 Weird Literary Phobias and Manias for Book-Lovers

Unusual words about literature every book-lover needs to know

Previously we’ve considered some essential words book-lovers should know; one of the book-words we coined, bibliosmia, has even found its way into other corners of the internet, albeit in a small way. (See also this Amazon discussion about the word and the phenomenon it describes; it also appears to have become a semi-popular hashtag on picture-sharing sites.) Since we came up with ‘bibliosmia’, anyway, we’ve uncovered lots of other weird and wonderful words relating to writing, reading, and other book-related activities and experiences. Here are ten of our favourites.

Alogotransiphobia denotes the fear of being caught on public transport with nothing to read.

Hippomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a fear of long words. (We’ve compiled some of our favourite long words in literature here.)

Reading booksErotographomania denotes an abnormal interest in erotic literature.

Bibliokleptomania is the abnormal desire to steal books.

Typomania denotes a mania for writing for publication.

Metromania denotes the compulsion to write poetry.

Phronemophobia is a fear of thinking.

Sophophobia is a fear of learning.

Bibliophobia is a fear of books. (Can such a thing exist? Apparently so – it’s related to a desire for censorship and book-burning – or bibliocaust.)

And since ‘bibliomania’ is a mania for books and ‘oniomania’ denotes a mania for buying things, we’ll leave you with our own suggestion, denoting ‘a mania for buying books’: biblioniomania. Though whether that one will take off in quite the same way as bibliosmia, we’re not sure. Our previous attempt to coin a word, ambibibliopropria (being unable to remember, when browsing in a second-hand bookshop, whether or not you already own a particular book), hasn’t exactly flown into the Urban Dictionary yet…

For more wonderful words, have a look at some of our favourite word-related facts and our 15 great neologisms for modern phenomena and experiences.

Image: Couple reading books (picture credit: Erin Kelly on Flickr).


  1. Very very interesting read,

    crazy to see how many Phobias we are aware of today and even have a term for.
    On a Website ran by me and a couple of Friends we also have a whole column around psychological terms and further Phobias for anyone interested

  2. Pingback: Saturday Miscellany – 1/30/16 | The Irresponsible Reader

  3. Reblogged this on Brainfluff and commented:
    I came across this quirky article on the Interesting Literature blog a couple of days ago – and wanted to share it with you… Are there any among you who are biblioniomaniacs, like me??

  4. I suffer from Alogotransiphobia and Bibliokleptomania badly.. :( :P

  5. Oh I DEFINITELY suffer from Alogotransiphobia . I must have a book out of my bag even if I’m only going a couple of bus stops (2-3 minutes journey on a clear road)

    As for ambibibliopropria – on an enforced clear out a year or more ago when everything got taken into storage whilst major decorating happened, a radical reorganisation of the bookshelves when the vast quantiity of boxes simply marked ‘books’ returned, yielded THREE copies of some (unread!) books. Eeek!

  6. So if the Urban Dictionary claims “nator” as a “cool dude” then I shall coin the phrase: “biblionator” as a cool dude who reads books. An example would be the YouTube clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading The Little Red Hen.

  7. I’ve got Alogotransiphobia . IP

  8. This post is great fun and very informative. :)

  9. Oh, what a fab article – yep… definitely an acute case of biblioniomania…

  10. Well, I have at least four of these…! Thanks for introducing us to some great new words. :)

  11. Oooh, I like biblioniomania! That one will definitely catch on.

  12. Fear of thinking? That’d be absolutely awful to have.

  13. ambibibliopropria – now that *should* take off because it happens to me all the time! :)