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What exactly are Bookish terms?

Are you a book lover? Do you find yourself getting lost in the worlds of your favorite stories and characters? If so, then it’s likely that you’ve come across some bookish acronyms. But what exactly are these terms and how can they help enhance your reading experience?

Bookish acronyms (also known as jargon) refer to specific terminology used by readers and authors within the literary community. These words typically describe certain aspects of literature such as plot points, character traits, or even settings. For example, “MC” stands for main character while “POV” is short for point-of-view.


bookish-acronyms-with-girl-reading-a-book

Knowing these terms can help provide deeper insights into books and make them easier to discuss with other readers. So if you’re looking to become an even more avid reader, learning some of these common bookish acronyms is a great place to start!

What is acronym in literature?

An acronym in literature is a term or phrase that stands for something else. It is often used to describe certain aspects of literature such as plot points, character traits, settings, and other elements.

Acronyms are used to make it easier for readers to discuss books with each other in more detail and provide deeper insights into the stories.

What are acronyms for reading?

There are several bookish acronyms that are commonly used when discussing reading. The most popular ones are TBR (To Be Read) for books you plan to read, DNF (Did Not Finish) for books you haven’t finished, and MC (Main Character).

Other common bookish acronyms include BOTM (Book of the Month), WIP (Work in Progress), and ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

List of bookish acronyms

I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the common bookish acronyms to help you navigate your way through any novel or bookstagram post. Be sure to bookmark this page so that it will be easy for you to reference when needed. Read on and get informed!

🚨 Disclaimer: This is a Christian, clean book recommendations website and some terms were included that I would not personally read. But I wanted to include this in case you ever come across a review with this and are not sure what means.

A

ALA: American Library Association

ARC/eARC: Advanced Readers Copy or Electronic Advanced Readers Copy. This is a book that is received either physically or digitally before it’s published for the purpose of reviewing.

B

Backlist: All of an Author’s books that have been published

BAM: Books A Million

BBW: Banned Books Week

BD: Book Depository

BEA: BookExpo America

BFT: Books for Trade

Binge-Read: Reading lots of books or series in a row

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, Person of Color (also can use WOC)

Blurb: The book synopsis

BN or B&N: Barnes and Noble

Book haul: Books that you purchase from a physical bookstore or borrow from the library

Bookstagram: Book-themed content posted on Instagram

BookTube: Book-themed videos posted to YouTube

BOTM: Book of the Month

BST: Buy Sell Trade

Buddy Read/Readalong: Reading a book together as a book club or group

C

Canon: An accepted part of a story that has been confirmed by the creator, and is typically recognized by its fan base.

Cliffie: A cliffhanger book ending

Contemp: Contemporary fiction

CP: Critique Partner

CR: Currently Reading

CW/TW: Content Warning/Trigger Warning

D

DISO: Desperately In Search Of

DM: Direct Message

DNF: Did not finish

DRC: Digital Review Copy (basically the same as eARC)

E

eARC – e-Advance Reader’s Copy aka an eBook (same things as DRC)

F

Fanfic: Fan Fiction

FC: Finished Copy

F/F: Female/female romance

ff: Follow Friday

FMC: Female Main Character

FRTC: Full Review to Come

FTB: Fade to Black aka no sexually explicit content

G

Galley: Abberivated term ARC/eARC, which refers to NetGalley.

GN: Graphic Novel

GR: Goodreads

H

HC: Hardcover

HEA: Happily Ever After

HFN: Happy For Now

HP: Harry Potter

I

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

IG: Instagram

Indie: Refers to a self-published author, who is an individual who chooses to bypass the traditional route of publishing their work through a publishing house, and instead opts to publish their own work independently

Info-Dump: When an author provides a lot of detailed information at once through narration or dialogue, and it can be overwhelming for the reader

Insta-love: Where a couple instantly falls in love with each other

ISBN: International Standard Book Number

ISO: In Search Of

L

LFL: Little Free Library

Love Triangle: When the main character has two potential love choices

K

KU: Kindle Unlimited

M

Magical Realism/Contemporary Fantasy: A book that is set in the modern world but has fantasy elements added in

MC: Main Character

MG: Middle Grade

M/M: male/male romance

MMPB: Mass-Market Paperback

Mood reader: Readers who pick out their next book based on how they are feeling (ex. I’m in the mood for a romance book)

Multi-POV: There are multiple POVs from different characters in the book

MS: Manuscript

N

NA: New Adult

NBA: National Book Award

New Release: A book that has been published within the current year

NG: Netgalley

NRN: Not right now (you aren’t reading the book right now, but plan on coming back to it soon)

O

OIF: Office for Intellectual Freedom

OMYM/OWYM: Older man, younger woman/Older woman, younger man (basically means an age gap romance)

OOC: Out Of Character

OOP: Out of Print

OTP: One true pairing

Owned Voices: When the author of a book shares the same marginalized identity as the protagonist, it can open up a level of understanding and empathy

P

PB: Paperback

Physical Copy: a hardcover of paperback book

PLA: Public Library Association

PNR: Paranormal Romance

POD: Print On Demand

POV: Point of View

PR: Public Relations

R

rr: Reread

RTC: Review to Come

S

SE: Special Edition

Self-Published: Published by the author (same as Indie)

SF: Science Fiction

SFF or SF/F: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Shelfie: a picture of your bookshelves

Ship: Two characters that you want to see fall in love

Spice/Spicy/Smut: When explicit sexual scenes are written in a book

Spoiler: Anything that you create that shares details about the book that could ruin the story for another reader

Storygraph: Storygraph app

Street Teams: A street team is a group of book lovers, readers, and bloggers who are passionate about supporting and promoting an author or a series.

T

TBB: To Be Bought

TBR: To be read

TPB: Trade Paperback

Traditionally Published: Published by a major publishing house

Trope: Also known as a plot device, it is a common characteristic that might be seen in different books. Ex. friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, found family, second chance

TSTL: Too Stupid To Live

Twist: An unexpected or surprise event in a book, usually seen in suspense books

TW: Trigger Warning/Content Warning

U

UF: Urban Fantasy

W

WBN: World Book Night

WIP: Work in progress

WL: Wishlist, usually references your Amazon book wish list

WOC: Woman of Color (can also use BIPOC)

WP: WordPress

Y

YA: Young Adult

YT: YouTube, here is my BookTube!

FAQ of commonly used book abbreviations

What does MC mean in Bookstagram?

MC: Main character

What does Ott mean in books?

Ott: Over the top

What does DNF mean in Bookstagram?

DNF: Did Not Finish

What does cr mean on bookstagram?

cr: currently reading

What does TW mean in books?

TW: Trigger Warning

What does HFN mean in books?

HFN: Happy For Now

What does TBR mean in reading?

TBR: To Be Read

What is a PNR romance?

PNR: Paranormal Romance

What does CW stand for in books?

CW: Content Warning

Did you learn any new bookish acronyms?

I hope that this guide to bookish acronyms has been helpful!

With so many new and exciting books being released each month, it can be hard to keep up with all the lingo. Whether you’re a seasoned reader or just getting started in the world of literature, I encourage you to bookmark this page for future reference.

Understanding these common abbreviations will make your reading journey much smoother as well as help you identify different types of lingo more quickly and easily.

So next time someone mentions TBR on Bookstagram or PNR romance on Threads, now you know what they mean! Happy Reading!

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