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Carl Spitzweg: The bookworm

As Bibliophilie (from ancient Greek βιβλίον Biblion "book" and φιλία "Friendship, Love", so "love of books") refers generally to the collection of beautiful, rare or historically valuable books mostly by individuals to build a private library for specific collection criteria. The collector's interest in bibliophiles supports his endeavors to present his collection in one or more suitable rooms and special furniture. The first book on bibliophilia was written in the first half of the 14th century by the bibliophile Richard de Bury , Bishop of Durham , entitled Philobiblon . The first relevant scientific journal Bulletin du Bibliophile has been published in France since 1834. The St.  Wiborada Rekluse of St. Gallen is considered the patron saint of libraries and book lovers , whose name was also borne by a yearbook for book lovers published by Hans Rost from 1933 to 1940 .

Bibliophile term and focus

In terms such as bibliophile edition or bibliophile book , however, the meaning of collecting takes a back seat to a bibliophile term that aims at the specimen highlighted by special features. However, such bibliophile editions are brought out by the publishers specifically for collectors who appreciate the special character and are willing to pay the higher price for it.

Collectors pay attention partly to so-called collections or book series, partly to the fate and age of the books, partly to the material of the same. The greatest scientific value have collections of books that relate to a particular object or work in a certain manner or in a famous Offizin have been printed. This subheading includes collections of

The preference of collectors can still refer to the features of the books. Often high prices are paid for

Signs of use and damage of all kinds (water damage, mouse damage, wormholes, breakage of the book block or the joints, rubbing, bumps and missing parts of the cover, creasing, tears, tears, tears, possibly with loss of text, dog-ears , ink damage , yellowing, tanning, Mold stains , tobacco smoke , mouse urine or cellar smell, soiling, ink and finger stains ) or incompleteness, in particular missing title page or frontispiece , even missing blank pages, missing volumes in multi-volume works, as well as painting or entries or amateur restoration measures by unknown previous owners. Depending on the quality of the selected material, inserts from previous owners, in particular additionally glued or embedded illustrations (truffled copies), can reduce or increase the value.

In addition to the reading and collecting book lover, who is known as the receiving bibliophile, there is also the bibliophile, who drives his love of books so far that he creates books himself and thus becomes a producing bibliophile. The productive bibliophilia, as the performing arts, has its origins in people's attempts to reproduce their reality. Once to preserve them in memory, another time to convey them to others. There are two reasons for this, the second being predominantly social. In order to do justice to this social value, there are also events, such as the Mainz mini press fair in the Gutenberg city ​​of Mainz , at which bibliophiles come together to exchange ideas and present their latest books and prints. In the middle between the two forms are bibliophiles who upgrade their valuable acquisitions by having a bookbinder equip them with an elaborately hand-made binding or by having damaged old bindings professionally restored .

With bibliophiles of all kinds, social aspects can play a major role, for example in exchange with other collectors or by making one's own collection accessible to scholars. This also includes lending books for exhibitions, whereby some bibliophiles attach importance to being named as the owner, while others strictly refuse to do so and want to remain anonymous. A special aspect is the desire to preserve the collection beyond one's own life (and if necessary to make it accessible to a wider public), for example by transferring it to a public library or archive. Collectors with appropriate financial means occasionally set up their own foundation to preserve, maintain and further expand the collection. Bibliophiles have been emphasizing this social aspect since the Renaissance in bookplates with foreign currency such as sibi et amicis (for themselves and friends). Book acquisitions are generally made through second-hand bookshops , autograph dealers and auction houses , all of which also offer specialist advice and with whom bibliophile collectors are often in close, sometimes personal, contact for many years. Other possibilities Antiquarian markets or fairs, book sharing and the steadily increasing in importance Internet trade , on the other hand, the social component largely lacks the one hand, allows you to search for specific books, pads and equipment features in a global deal. Readings by the author or events such as award ceremonies and book fairs offer the opportunity to speak to the author and have copies signed.

Traces of a "book worm"

Colloquially , bibliophiles are also called bookworms , partly because they sometimes hold the books so close to their face that it looks like they are eating them, just as some rodents eat the inside of books and leave traces in the process. This metaphor was first used in literature in 1747 by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in his comedy The Young Scholar (3rd act, 1st appearance).

Some bibliophiles increase their passion to a dubious point, for example when they get into financial difficulties because they invest too much money in the purchase of books or when they neglect social contacts in favor of their passion for collecting. Such problematic behavior is known as bibliomania .


Book collection


  • Imprimatur. A yearbook for book lovers. Society of Bibliophiles, Wiesbaden a. a. 1.1930-9, 1939/40; 10, 1950/51-12, 1954/55; NF 1.1956 / 57 -
  • Saint Wiborada. A yearbook for book lovers . Seitz, Augsburg 1, 1933-7, 1940
  • Magazine for book lovers . Glock and Lutz, Nürnberg 1, 1946–1954, 1971
  • The Bibliophile: international magazine for book lovers; official bulletin of companies u. Associations that cultivate book lovers, bibliography and related areas on a scientific and artistic basis (supplement to Das Antiquariat. Bi-monthly publication for all areas of book and art antiquarianism ). War, Vienna a. a. 1, 1950-8, 1957
  • Philobiblon. A magazine for book lovers . Reichner, Vienna a. a. 1, 1928-9, 1936 (1936/37); 10, 1938-12, 1940
  • Philobiblon. Announcements from the book and art antiquarian Ernst Hauswedell and the Ernst Hauswedell publishing house . Hauswedell, Hamburg 1, 1952-5, 1954
  • Philobiblon. A quarterly for book and graphic collectors . Maximilian Society in Hamburg, Hauswedell, Stuttgart a. a. 1, 1957 45, 2001


  • Gustav AE Bogeng: The great bibliophiles: History of book collectors and their collections , Vol. 1–3 (in 2). Seemann, Leipzig 1922, reprint Olms, Hildesheim 1984 ISBN 3-487-07511-3
  • Lothar Brieger : A Century of German First Editions. The most important first and original editions from around 1750 to around 1880 . Edited by the Swiss authors by Hans Bloesch . Julius Hoffmann Verlag, Stuttgart 1925.
  • Marginalia: Journal for Book Art and Bibliophilia / ed. v. the Pirckheimer Society . Quartus et al., Bucha (near Jena) a. a. 1, 1957 -
  • Jürgen Busche and Christine Eichel (Eds.) / Thomas Kierok u. a. (Photos): Of love for books and reading happiness - bright minds and their libraries , with a conversation ( women read differently ) with Elke Heidenreich , Knesebeck Vlg., Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-89660-558-0
  • Umberto Eco : The Art of Loving Books . 1st edition. Carl Hanser, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-446-23293-8 .
  • Umberto Eco, Jean-Claude Carrière : The Great Future of the Book - Conversations with Jean-Philippe de Tonnac . 1st edition. Carl Hanser, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-446-23577-9 .
  • Anne Fadiman : Ex Libris - Confessions of a Bibliomanin , SchimerGraf, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-86555-023-1
  • Gernot U. Gabel, Wolfgang Schmitz: Cologne collectors and their book collections in the University and City Library of Cologne . University and City Library, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-931596-25-7
  • Karin Hack: Famous bibliophiles as reflected in their ex-libris, supralibros and ownership entries: Cabinet exhibition October 14, 2001 to January 6, 2002, Otto Schäfer Library, Museum of Book Printing, Graphics, Arts and Crafts. Dr. Otto Schäfer Foundation, Schweinfurt 2001
  • Jürgen Holstein, Waltraud Holstein (Eds.): Goldrausch & Werther: Antiquarian book catalogs as a special case of cover design . Berlin: Holstein, 2014 ISBN 978-3-00-043240-8
  • Holbrook Jackson: The Anatomy of Bibliomania , University Of Illinois, ISBN 978-0-252-07043-3
  • Gerhard Loh: Directory of catalogs from book auctions and private libraries from German-speaking countries . Self-published, Leipzig 1995– (five volumes published by 2008)
  • Wulf D. von Lucius: Buchlust - From collecting , 320 p., Color plates, b / w-illustrations, small. bibliophile glossary, overviews: catalog terms and conditions Literature, DuMont Buchvlg., Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-7701-4724-3
  • Otto Mühlbrecht: The book lover in its development until the end of the 19th century. 2. verb. u. probably edition Bielefeld u. Leipzig 1898.
  • Klaus Walther : Collecting books , series: Small Philosophy of Passions, dtv 34142, Deutscher Taschenbuch Vlg., Munich 2004, ISBN 3-423-34142-4
  • Klaus Walther (texts and ed.) And Dieter Lehnhardt (photos): Have you read all of this? A book for readers and collectors. Mironde Verlag, Niederfrohna near Chemnitz 2014, ISBN 978-3-937654-80-5 . (Textual and photo documentary presentation of 16 contemporary and 10 historical private libraries of various poets, writers and scientists in the German and French-speaking areas)
  • Karl Klaus Walther (Ed.): Lexicon of book art and bibliophilia. Munich and (as a licensed edition) Augsburg 1994.

Book presentation

  • Dominique Dupuich (texts), Roland Beaufre (photos): How we live with books . 1st edition. Christian Brandstätter Vlg., Vienna / Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-85033-414-3 .
  • Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm, Christopher Simon Sykes: Living with books. Book lovers and their libraries . Vlg. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 1996 (most recently 2008), ISBN 978-3-8369-2983-7
  • Leslie Geddes-Brown: Rooms for people who love books . 1st edition. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-421-03817-3 .
  • Susanne von Meiss (texts), Reto Guntli (photos): Book Worlds - Of People and Libraries . 2nd Edition. Vlg. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 1999, ISBN 3-8067-2855-0 .
  • Alan Powers: Living with Books . 1st edition. Augustus-Vlg., Munich 2000, ISBN 3-8043-0784-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Bibliophilia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Saint Wiborada. A yearbook for book lovers. Bibliophile Yearbook for Catholic Spiritual Life 1, 1933-7, 1940. Cf. Herbert Lepper, Among the big brothers a little unknown sister - Sankt Wiborada. A yearbook for book lovers 1933 to 1940, in: Jahrbuch Kirchliches Buch- und Bibliothekswesen 3, 2002 (2003), pp. 75-108.
  2. Deutschlandfunk, April 5, 2011: Treatise on a term of ridicule