The PangoBooks Glossary of Internet Book Terms and Abbreviations

Shelfie images from Bookcasebeauty

Have you been spending a bunch of time on #booktwt or #bookstagram and felt a little confused about all the abbreviations? Do you want to get deeper into #booktok but aren’t sure you can navigate its ever-changing waters? Are the hashtags in various PangoBooks descriptions leaving you lost and in search of answers on Google?

Well, we’re here to help with a handy glossary of commonly used book terms and abbreviations that you're likely to encountered on social media and throughout the internet.

Refer back to this page whenever you read another listing with lingo you can’t decipher. Soon enough, you’ll be book hauling and shelfie-ing with the best of them.

Popular Social Media Book Terms


To be read. As in, another unread book to add to that pile that's collecting dust and making my guilt grow by the day. TBR lists are often expressed in social media posts or bio pages, or collected digitally on sites like Goodreads. Creators and personalities on BookTube, for example, will often make videos highlighting and discussing their current TBR.

Book Haul

A bunch of books bought at once to be shown off in a video or picture. Often occurs when a retailer has a sale going on or after someone builds a bundle on PangoBooks (and also the reason my bank account is angry at me all the time).


The bookish side of TikTok that's full of readers, reviewers, and authors sharing insights and book recommendations. BookTok is known for sending viral book picks to the top of the best-sellers list. See They Both Die At The End as a recent and ongoing example.


The bookish community on YouTube. Like other social platforms, BookTube is full of readers and reviewers, but the format invites deeper dives and longer explorations than you might find elsewhere. BookTube is also the reason many of our TBRs keep growing.

booktube BookTube is full of long-form roundups, reviews, and more.


The Instagram bookish community reading, reviewing, and taking the most stunning photos of their books. Spend time here if you want serious shelf envy. Also, the reason I just bought another influencer’s Lightroom filter presets.


The Twitter bookish community, full of readers and reviewers and writers with strong opinions. Book Twitter often features a new main character in its drama every day. Will you be next?


A platform to review books, add books you want to read to your TBR, or totally annihilate a book you didn’t like for the sake of being contrary. Also, the book platform authors most try to avoid.


Currently reading. As in, reading, right now, well...sorta, if you don’t count all the Webtoon and Twitter breaks. But still, finally getting my TBR down!


A photo of your bookshelves, usually aesthetically pleasing. Also, a major source of book envy and unintentional book haul inspo.

Reading Slump

A time when you’re struggling to pick up or finish a book, no matter how badly you want to read. Also known as your TBR’s biggest enemy.


In search of. You may see this term if you visit the Threads section of the PangoBooks app. Used by readers looking for a particular book or edition.

Shelfie images from Bookcasebeauty Follow @bookcasebeauty on Instagram for all sorts of shelfie inspiration.

Book Formats and Classifications


Picture book. Marketed towards the ages of 2-8. Also, probably the reason you love reading today.


Middle grade. Books marketed towards the age range of 8-12. Typically the books with heartwarming and affirming lessons.


Young adult. A broadly defined category of books that are marketed towards the age range of 12-18, but that are also much loved and much read by adults. YA or Young Adult books frequently rank as some of the most popular titles across all the aforementioned book social media communities.


New Adult. Books marketed towards the age range of 18-30. A genre that tends to overlap with YA, and generally deserves to be utilized and published way more often.


Graphic novel. Available in different age ranges, genres, and styles. Graphic novels are similar in medium to comic books, but are longer and general rely on more novel-like narrative structures.


Advanced reader’s copy or electronic advance reader’s copy. These are early print runs of books that are typically sent to book reviewers for early reviews. For many reviewers, these editions are treasures to be cherished.


Electronic book. As in, the reason I bought that e-reader that’s collecting dust on my bedside table.


Hardcover. Usually costs more but is also worth it for that glossy book jacket and satisfying weightiness.


Paperback. Sometimes less expensive but also more fragile than a hardcover so be careful to keep the edges intact if you wanna resell it.

Plot Descriptions and Devices


Main character or protagonist. As in, the character who is about to take you on an emotional rollercoaster and live inside your head for the next several week, months, or years.


Love interest. As in, the character who will make you cry, either from loneliness, frustration, or happiness in relation to the MC or main character.


Happily ever after. As in, the best kind of ending and crucial to a romance plot.


Happy for now. As in, a more realistic ending than the classic HEA.


A relationship or pairing you want to happen, or agree with. As in, “I ship them!”


One true pairing. As in, the characters you know are meant to be together so strongly that you’re willing to fight anyone who disagrees even though they are fictional characters.


Not one true pairing. A ship readers are not a fan of. As in, I’m revising this in my head canon and you will be hearing from my lawyers.



A pairing where one character is perpetually cheerful and the other is a cynic. See: Jessica Day and Nick Miller in New Girl, or Adam and Olive in Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis.

Enemies to Lovers

A pairing where the love interests start out as enemies, but end up together. See: Neil and Rowan from Rachel Lynn Solomon’s Today Tonight Tomorrow.

Friends to Lovers

A pairing where characters start out as friends, but end up falling for each other. See: Jenna and Matty in 13 Going on 30 or Leah and Abby in Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat.

Second Chance Romance

A pairing where two characters almost had lasting love but something kept them apart, and now they get the chance to try again. See: basically every Hallmark film where some businesswoman returns to her hometown for Christmas.


A pairing where two characters meet and fall for each other instantly, sometimes in just a day. See: Daniel and Natasha in Nicola Yoon’s The Sun Is Also A Star.

book tropes in action See The Sun Is Also a Star for an example of the "Instalove" trope, and Leah on the Offbeat for an example of "Friends to Lovers." Book photos via @annalena2422's PangoBooks shop.

Book Formats and Other Terms


Fan fiction. Fiction written by fans of a book that expands on or reimagines a story. Also, the reason I stayed up until 4am last night.


Facts or information that are explicitly in the text of a book or confirmed by the author. Also something to be rewritten in fanfic as you see fit.

Head Canon

The canon in your head. A fan/reader’s own interpretation of a story or character. Also, where my favorite ships live.


Did not finish. As in, I will feel guilty about this for months.


Alternate universe. A universe in fanfic which changes one or more elements of the source work's canon. Basically, fanfic without limits. Let your imagination run wild.

Did we miss any crucial terms? Let us know at We'll keep updating this page with new terms as they enter the lexicon of the online book world.