The A-to-Z Guide to Book Terms

The A-to-Z Guide to Book Terms

Welcome to the world of bookish terms, where acronyms abound, dog ears have nothing to do with pets, and book boyfriends make our hearts swoon. 

Below we’ve put together a list of terms to give you the rundown on all things bookish lingo, whether you’re looking to expand your book vocab or feel like dropping a fun term in your next conversation. (Our favorite lately? Book hangover.)

Even though we’ve been readers for as long as we can remember and have a business that revolves around reading, we still come across new terms within the bookish community — and that’s something we love. There’s always more to learn! 

So keep scrolling to see the definitions of everything from TBR and HEA to shelfies vs. bookstagram. We hope all of them help you feel more “in the know” when it comes to book slang – and if we left out a term you love, let us know in the comments! 

Glossary for Bookworms


You’ve probably heard of bibliophiles (people who have a deep love for books). Similarly, an audio-bibliophile is someone who loves audiobooks.

Auto-Buy Author

Is there an author you love so much you’ll read anything they write? That’s an auto-buy author! For us, that’s Emily Henry, Sarah J. Maas, and Anne Patchett. 


Unlike newly-published books, a backlist refers to books that are in print but have been on the market for at least a year. 

Bechdel Test

A test used to measure representation of women in film and books asks whether or not a work features at least two female characters who talk about something other than a male love interest. If two characters do, they pass the Bechdel Test. 

Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend

A book boyfriend/girlfriend is a term used to describe a character you have a crush on. Check out our list of fictional book boyfriendsfrom the mysterious and witty Gus Everett (Beach Read) to the sweet Jeremiah (The Summer I Turned Pretty).  

Book Hangover

Ever read a book and feel completely mentally exhausted by what you just read? Yeah, us too. This is a book hangover — and it can be used to describe feeling overwhelmed in a good, bad, or somewhere in between way. 

Book Haul

A book haul is when you go to the library or bookstore and get a bunch of new books. AKA, the best feeling ever. 


If you post pictures of your book on Insta, you may consider yourself a #Bookstagrammer.  


Much like #Bookstagram, Booktok is a subcommunity on TikTok all about books and literature. This often looks like creators sharing book reviews or just general thoughts on what they’re reading. 

@pagepetal We got you! 😉 #booktok#bookish#bookworm#smallbusiness#flowers#diy ♬ original sound - .


Comfort Book

You know that book that just fills your soul and makes you feel at home wherever you are? That’s a comfort book. Think: comfort meal, book edition. 


CR stands for “currently reading.” If you’re curious, check out what we’re CR in our Instagram bio


Did not finish. Meaning, you stopped reading the book before you got to the end for whatever reason. Some readers have a hard rule about when to DNF a book (say, 50 pages in), others just feel it out. 


The act of folding the corner of your page to mark your spot. A big NO for us bookmark lovers at Page Petal! 


This stands for Happily Ever After. Often, this is when the couple ends up together in a romance novel. 

Own Voices

This term — coined by – author Corinne Duyvis – refers to books about characters from underrepresented or marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. 

Mood Reader

If your mood plays a big role in what you read, then you may be a mood reader! So rather than following a strict TBR list, you change up what you’re reading to align with how you’re feeling. 


POV is short for point of view. This describes who is telling the story. 

Page Turner

A book you just cannot put down is a page turner. 

Reading Slump

When you’re not reading as much as you’re used to, you may be in a reading slump. PS, this is totally normal — we’ve all been there. 


A picture that shows off your books, which may or may not include an actual bookshelf. 


TBR stands for “to be read.” If you’re like us, the books you want to read (TBR) are constantly getting longer and longer and longer.


A trope is a common theme or device in a book. Some popular ones include love triangles, enemies to lovers, good vs. evil, and forbidden love. We love a fresh take on a classic trope here at Page Petal. :) 


YA, or young adult, is a genre that’s often described as being written for readers between the ages of 12 to 18. However, we are still big fans of the genres in our 20s and 30s! 

Read more: Our A-Z List of the Very Best Rom-Com Books

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1 comment

Great list! There’s nothing like a good book haul.


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