Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. From the Greek βιβλίο (book) + φιλία (philia), often translated “brotherly love”, is one of the four ancient Greek words for love. Accordingly a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm (sometimes pejorative) is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading. The -ia suffixed form "bibliophilia" is sometimes considered to be an incorrect usage; the older "bibliophilism" is considered more correct. The adjective form of the term is bibliophilic. A bibliophile may be, but is not necessarily, a book collector.


The true collecting of books can be said to have begun with the collecting of illuminated manuscripts of second-hand and commissioned origin. This practice became common in the 15th century, particularly with the elites of Burgundy and France. With what appears to be the largest collection of his day, Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy accumulated a collection that contained about six hundred volumes. There are two particular events in history that fueled individuals in the early days of book collecting, the invention of movable type in book printing and the Reformation. The invention of movable type made it easier and cheaper to print books, which in turn made it easier for people to get their hands on books. During the Reformation, Henry VIII confiscated the property of monastic institutions throughout England, Wales, and Ireland. The university, college, and monastic libraries of the time were plundered and many of the books either destroyed or sold off. In order to keep the books from being lost or destroyed, many who could began to collect them. Book collecting as a pastime, rather than a necessity, is more of a modern invention. Book collecting essentially began as a way to bring together a collection of books for use and study, rather than as collectibles. Other early collectors were dubbed so, simply because they owned a shelf of volumes stamped with their coat of arms. In China, the history of collecting books began over two millennia ago. In the early Han Dynasty the Chinese government made an effort to collect books as many important books had been burned in the Qin Dynasty. As in Western culture, book collecting became more prevelant and easier when block printing was invented in the early Tang Dynasty.

(Source: mortisia)

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