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Definition: One who compulsively steals, nicks, or hoards books.

Pronunciation: bib-LEE-oh-clept


Formed directly from the two Greek roots ‘biblio-’ (meaning “book”) and ‘-klept’ (meaning ‘theif”.)

Why this word?

I am an admitted biblioklept. Tell anyone; I don’t mind. If taking a book and treating it gently while having it in your possession and then remembering to return it to its home– eventually –is a crime, then I’ll click the cuffs on myself, officer.

I’ve never taken books for any sort of thrill or rush– I never really liked nor understood (especially in an educational institution) having to wait in a line, have my information documented in a computer and my signature taken just so I could be “trusted to borrow” a book. That’s a ridiculous amount of hassle. As a child, when I was in school, I’d spend as much time as I could get away with in sitting curled-up and hidden in some forgotten corner of the library, or in the book and magazine section of a supermarket. For a long, long time, my only friends were any and every book I’d managed to get in my grubby little paws.

And, really– Selecting a book to carry with you, not to mention actually reading it is, to me, a very personal and borderline private affair (unless addressed otherwise by any/all parties involved; like in, say, a book club, or lending a novel to your friend.) For people who write, admire writers, or feel as passionate as I do about literature in all its many forms, I feel it’s safe to say that why one person loves a book won’t always match up with the reason why someone else loves a book.

It’s very intimate. You hear words in your head as your gaze roams across a page, and you just understand. The language you can comprehend makes sense in a very exclusive way– You’re probably feeling what the author felt when they wrote those words; you’re probably seeing what the author envisioned when they created the setting and shaped their characters. Reading is as close to telepathic communication as human beings have managed to accomplish, and that thought nearly blows my mind. A bunch of symbols in a row fit seamlessly together and paint ideas, plant knowledge, introduce different ways of thinking– sprouting right into your noggin.

…And all that explaining up there is basically just outlining a large, neon-bright reason why I really, really dislike casual questions from librarians and bookstore cashiers.

 How do you use the word biblioklept in a sentence?

Example: “She was calm and quiet and as quick as a whip; she spoke clearly and easily, and the corners of her home were cramped with towering stacks of library books– She was a biblioklept who eagerly offered her lifted paper treasures to anyone with the vaguest of interest.”


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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