Bibliomania: the uncontrollable accumulation of books

Most books are designed to be attractive. Not only do they have back covers that explain in the most suggestive way possible what can be found between their pages, but the spine, cover image and often the title express the intention of grabbing attention quickly.

bibliomania this can be understood as one of the most extreme consequences of this situation, as the person who experiences this phenomenon feels intensely drawn to books in physical format. However, it is much more than that.

What is bibliomania?

Bibliomania is the tendency to compulsively and uncontrollably acquire and accumulate pounds.

It is not considered a mental disorder and in fact does not appear in the DSM-5 diagnostic manuals, but can be understood as a symptom related to accumulation disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Outraged, it should not be confused with bibliophilia either., Which is simply the love of books in an abstract sense.

Thus, bibliomania can be used to refer precisely to the way in which a mental disorder expresses itself when the accumulation of books produces problems that adversely affect a person’s quality of life, either due to a serious fault on the part of the person. space at home, the constant emergence of new debts, lack of social life, hygiene problems due to excess dust, etc.

How do you recognize that there is an accumulation problem?

Accumulating pounds is not in itself a bad thing. As is almost always the case with symptoms of mental disorders, whether bibliomania is a problem depends on a question of degree: The intensity with which you compulsively buy, the space left free to walk around the house, the hygienic conditions of the house, the way in which accumulating books has an impact on social life, etc.

In addition, it is also necessary to take into account how all of the above relates to the purchasing power of the person; it is not the same to book 3 rooms to rack up hundreds of pounds if you live on a subsistence income as if you are in the upper class.

Non-pathological cases

Since bibliomania is not a consensual diagnostic category and is not widely used in the clinical setting, this word is sometimes used to designate refer in an ironic or humorous tone to the tastes of certain “intellectual sybarites” who accumulate a large number of books that they will not be able to read, among other things, by desire to appear.

This type of benign bibliomania is also a way of offering a positive self-image. Having large walls filled with shelves can be admired both for being a reliable bet as a form of decoration and for externalizing the literary and intellectual curiosities and interests of those who own them.

On the other hand, maintaining a complete and neat collection of books is a demonstration of one’s own judgment and refined tastes as long as no kind of literary works are accumulated and a filter is maintained.

Also, display very expensive or rare books, such as one-offs, defective copies, or incunabula. it is also a form of class differentiation, So that bibliomania can be based on the desire to legitimize a certain degree of authority over others.

Uncontrollable accumulation of books

While the image of the buyer has long been that of a person who makes purely rational decisions taking into account the costs and benefits of acquiring something, this idea has long been in crisis.

It is now known that after purchasing a product, they tend to influence processes that are entirely based on emotions, even if they are disguised as rationality. For example, something as simple as the color of a box or packaging can cause a certain product to sell more or less.

In the case of bibliomania, the motivation behind the accumulation of pounds also escapes conventional logic. This is why this phenomenon is considered as a symptom which can appear in certain disorders and which often escapes the control of the person: there is first the acquisition and the storage of the book then the “excuses” created to justify themselves. of what has been done.

    its causes

    As for the causes of bibliomania, they depend on the type of mental disorder with which it is associated in each caseAnd even knowing this factor, one does not know at all what kind of mental mechanisms are those that produce this symptom.

    As for non-pathological bibliomania, being a very abstract concept, there can be countless reasons: from the belief that you will have time to read everything (in the case of people who have a great curiosity about many subjects or who very much appreciate the habit of reading for leisure matters) up to the narcissistic interest in showing intellectual goods, passing through the simple decorative eagerness.

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