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A stack of books found after cleaning a room

Tsundoku (Japanese: 積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them.[1][2][3] It is also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf.

The term originated in the Meiji era (1868–1912) as Japanese slang.[4] It combines elements of tsunde-oku (積んでおく, to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho (読書, reading books). As currently written, the word combines the characters for "pile up" () and the character for "read" ().There are suggestions to include the word in the English language and in dictionaries like the Collins Dictionary.[4]

The American author and bibliophile A. Edward Newton commented on a similar state in 1921.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brooks, Katherine (March 19, 2017). "There's A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books Than They Can Actually Read". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  2. ^ Tobar, Hector (July 24, 2014). "Are you a book hoarder? There's a word for that". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them". BBC News. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b ""Tsundoku," the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves, Should Enter the English Language". Open Culture. July 24, 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  5. ^ Dodson, Steve. "A Quote on Bibliomania".