AskDefine | Define bibliomania

Dictionary Definition

bibliomania n : preoccupation with the acquisition and possession of books

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The obsession of owning valuable books.

See also

Extensive Definition

Bibliomania is an obsessive-compulsive disorder involving the collecting or hoarding of books to the point where social relations or health are damaged. One of several psychological disorders associated with books, bibliomania is characterized by the collecting of books which have no use to the collector nor any great intrinsic value to a genuine book collector. The purchase of multiple copies of the same book and edition and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment are frequent symptoms of bibliomania.
Bibliomania is not to be confused with bibliophily, which is the usual love of books and is not considered a clinical psychological disorder.
Other abnormal behaviours involving books include book-eating (bibliophagy), compulsive book-stealing (bibliokleptomania), book-burying (bibliotaphy), bibliocaust, etc.


People with bibliomania

  • Stephen Blumberg, who was convicted of stealing over $20 milion worth of books
  • Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) suffered from severe bibliomania. His collection, which at his death contained over 160,000 books and manuscripts, was still being auctioned off over 100 years after his death.
  • Rev. W.F. Whitcher 18th century Methodist pastor who after having stolen and rebound rare books, would assert they were rare "finds" from local booksellers.

Fictional characters with bibliomania

  • Yomiko Readman codename "The Paper" is a character in the anime Read or Die. She is a "paper user" who works for the British Library. She is also a bibliomane, whose apartment is literally stacked floor to ceiling with books. It is stated at one point in R.O.D the TV that she has read "thousands of books in her lifetime" which makes her unusual among bibliomanes, as most collect books because of a psychological problem, and do not actually read any of them.

Further reading

  • The Anatomy of Bibliomania
  • Bibliomania: Or Book Madness
  • A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books


bibliomania in Danish: Bibliomani
bibliomania in German: Bibliomanie
bibliomania in Italian: Bibliomania
bibliomania in Polish: Bibliomania
bibliomania in Portuguese: Bibliomania
bibliomania in Serbian: Библиоманија
bibliomania in Swedish: Bibliomani
bibliomania in Chinese: 愛書狂
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