There’s a word for buying tons of books and never reading them, which is totally a thing

Should there ever come a day when you need to describe your book-purchasing addiction to a group of your painfully misguided, judgey peers, there is now a term that will clear things right on up: tsundoku, the Japanese word for buying books and never reading them. So not only do you get to succinctly justify your right to use books as DIY staircases, decoration, conversation starters and dust collectors, you get to be all fancy about it.

According to, the exact definition of tsundoku is “the acquiring of reading materials followed by letting them pile up and subsequently never reading them,” which we can totally relate to.


Much like these fantastic German words with no English equivalent, this most useful term is yet another reminder that English needs to step its game up already. Seriously, words like this validate us (we knew we weren’t the only book hoarders on the planet) and are majorly effective time-savers.

Furthermore, Ozy provided a breakdown of tsundoku, proving its astonishing accuracy:

Oku means to do something and leave it for a while, says Sahoko Ichikawa, a senior lecturer at Cornell University, and tsunde means to stack things.


Ah, how fortunate are we to live in a world where one language makes up for another’s shortcomings? Pardon us for a moment — we’re off to buy a copy of Learning Japanese for Dummies, which we’re pretty sure we already own.

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