Guide to Bookish Vocabulary
I decided to film a Guide to Bookish Vocabulary for my Booktube channel (which you can view here if you’re interested in seeing it) but I decided to cross-post the list to my blog to make it easier for people to refer to more regularly if they need to.
My intention with this guide is to make things easier for new people joining the book community, or for members of the bookish community from across the globe who don’t have English as their first language. Some of the terms used can be very confusing, and it took me a while to come to terms with them when I first joined the book community and started book blogging. If I can make even one person’s experience a little bit easier, I’m happy to do it!
Make sure to check back within the next couple of weeks, because I’m also going to be posting a Guide to Bookish Acronyms (so you can learn your COB from your COBAB and your SJTR from your STD!).
Without further ado, here’s an alphabetical glossary to the most frequently used terms and acronyms in the book community.
1/1. This refers to the 1st edition, 1st printing of a book. You can find this by checking in the front of your book, where there should either be a number on a line by itself, or a line of numbers which increases by alternating between the start of the row and the end. Whichever number is the lowest in the line indicates which printing your edition is.
ARC (also known as proof or galley). ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. This are the early copies of books which are sent out to authors, publicists, booksellers and members of the bookish community to read, review and promote the book prior to release. These are similar to Manuscripts (or MS), but manuscripts come much earlier in the timeline and are a far more unfinished edition of the book.
B&N. Barnes & Noble, an American chain of bookstores.
BAM. Books-A-Million, another chain of American bookstores.
BD. Book Depository, an online bookstore which offers free shipping worldwide.
Book Box. A book box is a subscription box. They often come with a book and goodies related to bookish fandoms, or they may include stationery items. There are some boxes that don’t come with books, but they’ll be inspired by the books instead, allowing you to have a special collector’s edition box of goodies to open up when you read your book.
Bookstagram. Bookish stuff on Instagram.
BookTok. Bookish stuff on TikTok.
BookTube. Bookish stuff on YouTube. You can check out my BookTube channel here!
Booktwt. Bookish stuff on Twitter.
BOTM. Book of the Month, which is an American book only subscription service. You pay to get a book sent through to your door every month, choosing between the five titles Book of the Month offer you, but you can also get add-ons if you’re tempted by more than one title.
B/T/S. Buy/Trade/Sell. A way of telling people what you want to buy, what you’re interested in trading or what you’re selling.
Buddy Read. This is when you get a buddy and you read a book with them! You can do this as a big group or with just one other person. You can read a set amount of chapters a day, read it in the same timespan, or arrange a more relaxed version where you just both read the book in your own time and talk about it at the end.
CR. This is what you are Currently Reading.
DISO or ISO. Desperately In Search Of or In Search Of. These are things on your wishlist that you really really want to get hold of.
DNF. Did Not Finish. A book that is so bad that you’ve got to put it down and you will not finish it.
Droogs. These are Jay Kristoff fans. I’m not sure if there are any other authors whose fandoms have names, but if there are any other fan groups with special names which have confused you in the past, please leave them down in the comments! This one just baffled me when I first saw people saying that they were a Droog because I had no idea what it meant. I don’t even know if it has a proper meaning other than fans of Jay Kristoff.
Edelweiss (or EW). Edelweiss is a website where you can request digital ARCs (also known as eARCs). I’ve never used it myself, so I’m not sure whether it is just available to American reviewers, but American publishers predominantly use this site.
FC. FaeCrate, a book box subscription service.
FL. Fairyloot, another subscription box.
FM. Fabled Merch, another book box.
GB. Goldsboro Books, a UK-based bookstore. Goldsboro run GSFF, which is the Goldsboro Sci-Fi/Fantasy book subscription scheme. You can sign up and receive a new sci-fi/fantasy release with an exclusive design monthly.
IC. Illumicrate, another book box, and the parent company of both Cureadosity (a children’s picture book subscription box service) and Afterlight (an adult romance subscription box which is coming soon).
NetGalley (or NG). This is a site similar to Edelweiss where you can get advanced copies of books digitally sent to you. NetGalley have region specific sites for USA, UK, France, Germany and Japan, so you will be able to request different titles depending on what region you’re in.
NYT. New York Times. You’ll see this referred to every week because there’s the New York Times Bestseller List, and author’s often celebrate their books debuting on the list.
OC. OwlCrate, another book box subscription service.
PW. Publishers Weekly, a magazine where you can learn all about new books being acquired, new deals being announced, and new authors that will be ones to watch.
Readalong. A readalong is when you read a book with other people to a set schedule and you’re all reading the same book, so it’s a bit like a book club! An example of this which is running at the moment is Bookish Buddies’ EmberintheAshalong. Everyone participating should read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir in May, A Torch Against the Night in June, A Reaper at the Gates in July and A Sky Beyond the Storm in August.
Readathon. A readathon, however, is when you’re all reading to fulfill the same set of prompts but you’re not necessarily reading the same books to fulfill those prompts. For example, Sean and I have recently announced that we are running KetchupAThon. We’re not expecting everybody to read the same books to collect their sauce badges, but we are hoping that people will at least read some books to fulfill their prompts.
Reading sprints. These are normally live streams. The host will chat for five or ten minutes, and then they’ll start a timer and say “okay everyone, we’re all going to read for 15 minutes”. At the end of that 15 minutes you have a bit of a break, chat about how much you read during that sprint, and then start the timer and begin reading again.
Read With Me. Read With Me videos are normally prerecorded. They feature somebody sitting and reading, in real time. In the background there may be ambient noise, rain, gentle music, or complete silence. The host will sit and read for a set amount of time and it gives you the excuse, while watching their video, to put all obligations to one side so you can sit and read with them!
TBR. This is your To Be Read list, which includes are books that you own, or are interested in reading, which you haven’t read yet.
TLB. The Librarian Box, another book box subscription service. There are quite a lot of other book boxes but I don’t see their names shortened as often, which is why I’ve only featured certain ones in this guide.
Unicorn. This is something on your wishlist which is super duper rare. These include limited printings of specific books, a release with a printing error which gets recalled, manuscripts, and ARCs. It all depends on the supply and demand as to which books become unicorns.
WL. This stands for wishlist, and is any book that you want, really! Whether it’s one you’re desperately in search of or one that you’re only slightly interested in, any book which you don’t own but you’re interested in eventually getting is on your wishlist.
WS. Waterstones, a UK chain of bookstores who often do exclusive editions.
And that’s it for this first version of my Guide to Bookish Terms! Is there anything which I’ve missed that you are still confused about? Please leave it down in the comments, and I’ll get back to you with an explanation as quickly as I’m able to.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that this guide has helped you to feel more at home in the bookish community. See you again soon!