Bibliomania. There’s an interesting word for you. What does it mean?
Well, when mania ends a word it seldom means anything good. Snailmania, mudmania and knifemania are all pretty bad. However, there are exceptions. Like Tazmania. (So relax, Tazmanian readers out there!) It also seems like restaurants and videogame producers insist on using the word in a positive sense. For instance a restaurant I found on Google is called Burger Mania. They probably don’t know it but they could have the slogan: “Only for people who have an excessive and unreasonable enthusiasm for burgers”. Because that’s what mania means: To have an excessive and unreasonable enthusiasm for something.
So the biblio part then. It’s simply latin for book. So consequently, bibliomania is the condition of people who adore books and collect as many as they can get their hands on. And not for the contents of the book either.
They want those hard to find, expensive books made out of strange materials and with extraordinary covers. The rarer the better.
The first recorded case of bibliomania was as early as the first century in Rome where a guy actually murdered people to acquire books for his collection. A more modern example is Stephen Blumberg who in 1990 was arrested for having stolen more than 23 600 rare books for a worth of 5.3 American dollars.
This got me thinking. What books do I have at home that could put me in danger of an encounter with these people? We do have an old Swedish law book from the 60´s or something. That could be a possible eye gem for a bibliomaniac. I guess I should get rid of it.
Thank god for the internet. Without it I would never know about all of those weirdos out there and stand unprepared when they strike.