The Bookish Glossary

It was bound to happen.
Throughout my years in the book community I have ran across a lot of bookish terms and acronyms used to describe a book in a review or even in promoting a book. So much so that half of the time I find myself googling terms that I can’t remember! Since I recently dived into (and am loving) the romance community (which is huge by the way), I have found out they have their own set of terms and acronyms that they commonly used that I had no idea existed. Due to this, I thought I would just create an extensive list–or glossary, if you will– of all bookish terms that can be found in the book community for future use.


  • TBR – To Be Read
  • ARC – Advanced Reader’s Copy
  • DNF – Did Not Finish
  • TBB – To Be Bought
  • RTC – Review to come
  • MC – Main Character
  • OTP – One True Pairing; the ultimate ship (see ship)
  • NOTP – Not One True Pairing; basically the exact opposite of OTP. You definitely DO NOT want to see these two together. Like at all.
  • GR – Goodreads
  • Book Swag – Bookish items such as bookmarks, book plates, tote bags, jewelry, etc.
  • Book Slump / Reading Slump – a period of time when you just don’t feel like reading. Typically cured by re-reading a favorite book.
  • Book Hangover – (not to be confused with a alcoholic hangover) A period of time after you finish an amazing book where you cannot for the life of you stop thinking and obsessing over said book. Length of hangover varies on person and book.
  • Fan Fiction – Stories written by fans that use the worlds and characters of written published works. (i.e., my Jonas Brothers fan fiction, my ACOTAR fan fiction, my Twilight fan fiction…no I will not give you any links to these)
  • HC – Hardcover
  • PB – Paperback
  • MS – Manuscript
  • POV – Point of View
  • WIP – Work In Progress
  • Ship – derived from the word relationSHIP; ship typically refers to a couple that you love seeing together/ want them to be together. (i.e., Nesta and Cassian from ACOTAR is a ship I will burn down with until the end of times) 
  • POC – Person of Color
  • ToC – Table of Contents
  • TW – Trigger Warning
  • ISO – In search of
  • The Feels – Completely overwhelmed by emotions, can be caused by a scene, what a character said, a plot twist, or finishing said book
  • Binge-Read – Reading all (or many) books in a series or by author in a row. (i.e., “I Binge-read all of Sarah J. Maas’s books in one week. I am both traumatized and sleepy.)
  • Meme – Typically a blogger link-up/group that create posts that center around a theme that changes typically weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Here are a few that I can think of:
    • Top 5 Wednesday – Weekly, top five books that surround the topic of the week (i.e., redemption arcs–books that have your favorite redemption arcs in them)
    • TTT/ Top Ten Tuesday – Weekly, top ten books surrounding the topic of the week (i.e., favorite re-reads)
    • Sunday Post – Weekly wrap-up
    • Feature / Follow Friday – a meme that encourages following others
  • Tag – a post (or video if you are on booktube) that is a list of categories or questions that surround a theme that you then “tag” others to do as well.
  • Buddy Read – When a group of two or more read the same book at the same time so they can discuss it as they go along.
  • Readathon – a reading marathon, when a group of people come together and read as much as they can during a certain period of time
  • Booktube – A community on YouTube that talk about books (literally it’s book blogging in video form)
  • Bookstagram – A community on instagram that post pictures of books and talk about books (literally its book blogging in picture form)
  • Book Twitter – A community on Twitter that talk about books and things revolving around books
  • Booklr – A community on Tumblr that talk about books and things revolving around books
  • #ownvoices – A twitter hashtag created to promote diverse reads about marginalized groups of people from authors who are in those same groups. (i.e., The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie)
  • Auto-buy Author – An author you instantly buy their books when they are released no matter what they are about.
  • Beta Reader – a second pair of eyes that look for inconsistencies in your manuscript and gives you feedback about your manuscript so far.
  • KU – Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service offered by Amazon where you can read unlimited amounts of ebooks for free.
  • Wallbanger – When you get so frustrated or angry with a book that you want to throw your book or e-reader against a wall.
  • Sequel Bait – When its super obvious that the book is indeed not a standalone but  there is going to be a second book.
  • Standalone – A book that does not have a continuation in a second book.
  • Canon – A fact / idea that is accurate per the author of the original works
  • eARC –  Electronic Advanced Reader Copy
  • FC – Finished Copy
  • ISO – In search of (commonly used when looking for Arcs or editions to trade)

Bookish Conventions/Ceremonies/Awards

  • BEA – Book Expo America, an annual convention revolving around–yeah you guessed it–books. Only open to industry professionals. Typically held in NYC (though they did have that one year where they held it in Chicago)
  • ALA – American Library Association, an bi-annual convention hosted by the American Library Association.
  • Bookcon – A Book convention that begins immediately after BEA and is open to the public. Typically held wherever BEA is.
  • Apollycon – A Book convention that is sponsored by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • YALLFEST – A young adult conference that is held annually in Charleston, NC
  • YALC: the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention
  • NBA – National Book Award
  • RITA – Romance Writers of America award
  • Pulitzer Prize – an award given for achievements in journalism, literature, newspaper, magazine, and musical composition.


  • SF – Science Fiction
  • SFF – Science Fiction/ Fantasy
  • UF – Urban Fantasy
  • PNR – Paranormal Romance
  • GLBT – Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender
  • LGBTQ+ – Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, and queer, the + symbolizing others not previously mentioned
  • MG – Middle Grade
  • YA – Young Adult
  • NA – New Adult
  • Cont. – Contemporary
  • RS – Romantic Suspence
  • AR – Adult Romance
  • RomCom – Romantic Comedy
  • Rom / RO – Romance
  • Juve – Juvenile Fiction
  • HOR – Horror
  • HF – Historical Fiction
  • TH – Thriller
  • Cozy Mysteries / Cozies – sub genre of Crime Fiction (you can read more about this genre on Jaymi’s post here at Orange County Readers)


  • HEA – Happily Ever After
  • HFN – Happy For Now
  • MM – Male/Male Relationship
  • FF – Female/Female Relationship
  • MC – Motorcycle Club
  • H/h – Hero/heroine (often capitalization denotes gender)
  • BBW – Big Beautiful Woman, typically surrounds a main character that is plus-size
  • MFM – Menage (threesome), typically involving heterosexual men
  • MMF – Menage (threesome), typically involving bisexual men
  • BWWM – A romance revolving around a black woman and a white man
  • WWBM – A romance revolving around a white woman and a black man
  • UST – Unresolved sexual tension
  • T – Taboo content
  • PWP – Plot-what-plot, typically used in reference to smut fiction and/or erotica
  • PI – Psuedo-incest (i.e., step brother/sister/father/mother relationships)
  • OW – Other Woman
  • MoC – Marriage of Convenience
  • TSTL – Too Stupid To Live
  • OTT – Over the Top
  • BDSM – Bondage/discipline; dominance/submission; sadism/masochism
  • Insta-Love – when two characters are instantly in love with each other after just meeting moments/pages before. Automatic attraction.
  • Mary-Sue / Gary-Sue – Characters that are literally perfect in every way.
  • Alpha Male – A strong, confident, takes charge in every sense of the word type of guy. His only weakness is typically his romantic interest.
  • Trope – a plot that brings two characters together (i.e., enemies-to-lovers)
  • The Big Mis – The big misunderstanding


Do you know any other terms/acronyms? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list!



  1. Sahi

    August 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Wow this post is awesome… I did discover many of them this past year but it’s still interesting to get to know some new ones 😊😊😊

    1. sammers65

      August 24, 2018 at 4:28 am

      Haha I feel the same way! It’s always a “huh, interesting” moment when I learn a new one 😂

  2. Kristina

    August 24, 2018 at 4:15 am

    Ohh that’s real handy !!
    I’ll save this post and share it on my bujo post <3
    you forgot booklr :p which is the bookish community of tumblr
    Oh wow.. I actually never realized that's what romcom stood for.. hah. I did knew BBW's from work though – interresting they have it for books too !

    1. sammers65

      August 24, 2018 at 4:31 am

      Thank you! And ooo i forgot about that one! I’ll add that now! Lol I learned a whole slew of terms that I had never thought would be book related 😂😂

  3. Meaghan @ Words Gremlin

    August 24, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Wow, this is a really thorough list! I’d recommend adding LGBTQ+ as well, since that’s another version of the acronym that’s used often now instead of GLBT (the q standing for “queer” and sometimes “questioning”, the plus referring to identities not immediately listed), and canon is often spelled with a single n, in case folks ask about seeing it around instead of cannon.

    1. sammers65

      August 24, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Ah thank you! I could have sworn I put down LGBTQ+, but thank you for reminding me! I’ll add it now! And noted with Canon! Thank you again!

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  5. Christina Reid

    August 30, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I was thinking of doing a post like this as all the acronyms made the book community seem quite intimidating when I first started blogging – but your post has WAY more than I knew and is so useful, thank you!

    1. sammers65

      August 30, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      I still have some to add that I found earlier on this week, it’s crazy how much there is in the bookish community! And anytime! It was really fun compiling this together!

      1. Christina Reid

        August 31, 2018 at 6:05 am

        I will check back for more!

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