Bibliophobia and how to overcome it


Amazingly, reading books is one of the habits, which can affect individuals’ life, positively or negatively. Despite its importance, reading books can be a heavy burden when it comes to a disease dubbed Bibliophobia. What is Bibliophobia? What are causes and symptoms? How is treated if possible?

The word Bibliophobia is formed by two terms; biblio and phobia. According to The, biblio means book or sometimes bible. It is from the Greek word ‘biblion’ that means paper or scroll. The term phobia means excessive or irrational fear, horror or aversion. It is from Greek word ‘phobos’ that means fear. Thus,Bibliophobia means the fear of books.

In reference to the American Psychiatric Association, Phobias are types of anxiety disorders. Besides this one of fearing books, people can also develop an extreme fear of animals, objects, persons, activities, or even the situations.

What are the symptoms of bibliophobia?

Bibliophobia shows up physically and or psychologically. Those symptoms which come as the reactions to fear include failing to hold breath, feeling lightheaded, nausea, sweating, clamminess, trembling, books avoidance, worries about reading books, shame about fear of books, and a strong desire to flee while reading books.

For children who may not reveal their feelings, symptoms should be inconsolable crying or clinginess.

Bibliophobia may or may not be troublesome; when troublesome the affected one should go seeing a doctor as per

What are the causes of Bibliophobia?

It is hard to know the exact causes of this phobia, but some associate it with their experiences, like reading aloud in front of others, or beatings associated with failure to read. However, others associate Bibliophobia with genetic information, where it can be inherited.

The brain’s amygdala is the part that records people’s past experiences, when asked to read, they immediately remember their past and panic. Having no experiences, then genetic influence has a part. It is thus difficult to know the exact causes of Bibliophobia.

Bibliophobia treatment

According to, phobias are real disorders; nothing to present them with ability like weakness or immaturity, but recognition is a great path leading to treatment. However, it is advisable to consult the doctor whenever they start interrupting one’s work, school, personal relationships, and situations.

Psychotherapy is an effective response to Bibliophobia as follows.

The Cognitive behavior therapy.This is also talk-therapy that helps one to win unhealthy thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The therapist helps the effected one to learn how to face fear. Again, it is at this stage that the doctor can know the origin of this phobia.

The exposure therapy or desensitization therapy. It is slow and repeated exposure of the affected one to feared books. The therapist helps patients mastering tricks to help them reduce their fear. For example, today they are looking at or touching books but they will try to open and read tomorrow. They gradually win the fear.

Additional to the above treatments, the doctor can advise a patient to test or screen psychology to learn your learning disability about (child’s) fear of books.

Besides lack of knowledge, Bibliophobia can lead to other untreated complications including depression, suicidal ideation, social isolation, and problems with work among others which can lead to drug abuse in response that phobia.

By Ernest Ngaboyisonga