books about books

A Word About “Books about Books”

One thing I truly enjoy reading about is books. Books about books is just about as good as it gets. These can cover book collecting, book arts, book plates, libraries, crafts, publishing, biographies about writers or editors,etc. There are even sub-genres of fiction that identify when books or bookstores or libraries figure heavily into the story. It’s a little meta. It’s a little nerdy (but not geeky), but it’s great to read up on people’s personal libraries and people’s relationships to books.

books about booksBut there is no word for it! You read that right. I can find no single word that means “books about books”.

How can this be? Is there one that I haven’t thought about? Surely someone has solved this problem by now. How can there be no word for “books on books”?

If you read books about book fanatics you’re reading about bibliomania. If you read mystery books about books you are reading bibliomysteries. But what if you’re reading books about books? The trio of words works, but you have to admit “books about books” is a bit cumbersome. Can’t we come up with a word whose sole definition is “books about books”? I guess if you read books about books you are a bibliophile, but how can we work that so it means an actual book whose focus is books.

Time to get busy wordsmiths! Let’s solve this. The solution (the final word, if you will) should be an elegant one worthy of the task. Biblio-biblio is just weird. Biblio-books is even more awkward than the original phrase.

Of course, this whole exercise makes me think of Sniglets. So now I have to go find those books and thumb through them. You should do the same. But when we get done reading…. back to the neologistic task at hand!