Common Bookish Acronyms & Words Every Reader Should Know

The online book community uses many terms that new readers might not know. Here are some common bookish acronyms and words you might see used often.

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The book community has grown in recent years, especially online. The online presence of readers on social media has increased significantly. Therefore, each site has an established community of readers connecting them over their love for books. And within the community, there are acronyms and words used related to reading that would likely confuse new readers. So, if you’re a newcomer to the online book community, here’s your guide to bookish acronyms and words often used by book lovers.

Bookish Words

1. Bookish


The word bookish describes anything related to books and reading. It can be used to describe a person who loves or is more interested in reading. They would rather be reading than doing anything else. Overall, the bookish lifestyle is a way of life. 

2. Reading Slump

A reading slump is basically a book lover’s worst nightmare. It is when a reader feels like they are incapable of picking up a book and reading it. It is also when you gradually lose interest in a book suddenly, which forces them to take a short, or even long, break from it. Overall, it’s a frustrating feeling because they just can’t bring themselves to read anything during this slump.

3. Trope

A trope is a recurring and recognizable theme, element, or cliche that a book incorporates or is centered around. Readers use tropes to define what type of story it will be. There are so many different tropes. A few examples are enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, fake dating, the grumpy/sunshine pair, miscommunication trope, forbidden love, second chance, and so many more.

4. Shelfie


A shelfie is a picture of their bookshelf. They’re sharing a photo of their collection using the classic shelfie. And if you’re looking for ways to nicely organize your bookshelf before showing them off in photos, here are some ideas

5. Book Communities on Social Media

Each popular social media app has its own book community, which creates an accessible and convenient means of connecting with other readers to discuss and recommend books. Bookstagram is for Instagram. Booktwt is for Twitter. Booktube is for YouTube. And the newest addition is Booktok which is TikTok.

Bookish Acronyms

1. TBR

TBR is an extremely common one. It means “To Be Read,” and it refers to a list of books they want to read. And typically, these lists are always super long and even out of control because we have no self-control when it comes to adding books we want to read. Readers track their TBR lists in journals, reading lists, or even with sites like GoodReads and Storygraph. 

2. CR


CR is another common one. It means “Current/Currently Reading.” It means this is the book I am reading at the moment. Readers use this to share and note which book they’re reading. 

3. HEA

You often find HEA in reviews or recommendations. For instance, if someone recommends a book, then someone might ask them, “HEA?” in the comments. HEA means “Happily Ever After.” Sometimes, we just want to ensure the book has a happy ending.

4. DNF

Commonly used in reviews, readers use DNF, or DNF’d, for books they “Did Not Finish.” It means they gave up and stopped reading the book because they didn’t like the book or just simply lost interest. Every reader has different tastes, and sometimes they encounter a book that they don’t like and couldn’t bring themselves to keep reading.

5. GR

GR is an abbreviation for “GoodReads.” It is a popular website readers use to keep track of books they’ve finished reading, are currently reading, or books they want to read in the future. It also allows them to share their reviews with others and find recommendations.

6. OOP

OOP means “Out of Print.” If a book is OOP, it means the book is no longer available to buy as new copies or editions are no longer made. Sadly, it does happen.

7. SE


SE means “Special Edition.” Oftentimes, authors or book subscriptions will release a special edition of a book, meaning it includes extra exclusives. This could mean it comes with a unique cover, bonus chapters, prints included inside the book, and more. Typically, these are usually limited.

8. CW/TW

CW and TW are extremely important and necessary in the community. CW means “Content Warning,” and TW means “Trigger Warning.” They note and warn others of moments or contents within books that may be distressing, uncomfortable, and harmful for some readers to read.

9. ARC

If you happen to see a reader online, most likely a book influencer, say they received an ARC of a book, they received an “Advanced Reader Copy.” These are books sent by publishers or authors to reviewers to read before the book’s official release. They’re early copies meant to promote and create hype for the book.

10. MC

MC means the main character. It’s a short and easy acronym to reference the main character. You can even get more specific by using FMC for “Female Main Character and MMC for “Male Main Character.”

These bookish phrases are almost like their own language. And like every language, new acronyms and words may arise, but these are some of the most common ones for now. But also, click here and here for a more extensive list.

Are you wanting to join a book community? Check out these blog posts on how to start and be a part of bookstagram and booktwt.