Monday, January 26, 2009

Lending Books

Today’s Musing: “A few weeks back we had a question about borrowing books, this week I was wondering what your policy was on lending books. Do you lend books to anyone? Just friends? Only big readers? How long are they allowed to have them?”

I hate lending books and try not to do it too often. I have book shelves in my office at work filed with my personal books (almost all fiction) because we don’t actually use books for work anymore. Sometimes co-workers will brows my shelves and ask to borrow books. I lent one person a hard cover that subsequently was lost and then eventually found more than a year later but without its dust jacket. My boss borrowed five or six books that I only got back three years later when she retired. And it is not just a problem at work. I certainly cannot loan books to my family. My sister never ever buys books and usually reads whatever paperback she can find free in a book swap to which she returns it when she is done. She has no notion that a book is not to be treated with respect and any book will not only be dog eared but with the spine broken, splattered with wine and/or dipped in the swimming pool when she is done with it. She is absolutely not allowed to go into my books shelves.

The only time I lend out books is when I read a book and just know that so and so absolutely has to read it. For those few friends that I know will take care of books and I am convinced that a particular book is something they must read, I do not hesitate to lend to them the book and they do the same for me. Some of my favorite books are ones that a friend knew would be perfect for me and insisted that I read it. I don’t set any time limit on the loan. Interesting question.


Jo said...

My sisters the same except she actually manages to lose them aswell! The final straw was when she lost 5 hardbacks at once! How???

Anonymous said...

I can sympathize a little with your sister. If it's my book and I know I won't be passing it on to anyone, I'll dog-ear it, leave it in my car for weeks, take it fishing, etc. Now, if it's someone else's or I'll be using it for a giveaway, that's a different story.

Anonymous said...


I didn't lose them, exactly, but I had 5 hardbacks get ruined when my car caught on fire last year. They were all library books, unfortunately, and it was expensive.

Sunny said...

It does make me cringe thinking about books getting mistreated! People dont ask to borrow mine very often so right now I try to go with it. But I think if it got to be a problem like that I would have to put a stop to it.

Carl V. said...

I first started 'borrowing' books when I was a young man. My uncle let me and me only borrow his science fiction books and I learned to read them without creasing the covers or hurting them in any way. He was my only source and I didn't want to mess it up. To this day I can read a paperback book and finish it and it will look as if it has never been read. I do it without even thinking about it. It drives my wife crazy as she knows she takes a big risk anytime she reads one of my books as she is not as careful.

So...I am not really a lender. Now I will lend to a few friends who have the same book obsession I least I'll lend them hardbacks. But even they choose not to borrow trade paperbacks or paperbacks from me because they don't want to try to read them like I do. Probably not a bad policy as I do like books to stay new looking. Unless of course they are already old to begin with (I collect a lot of old books).

Weird? Yes indeed, but that is just the way that I am.

Anonymous said...

I not a borrower or lender. I learned my lesson in junior high never to lend books. I let my best friend borrow my brand new (albeit paperback) copy of The Sword of Shannara - my first real introduction in the fantasy realm. She returned it to me with dog earred pages, a broken spine, loose pages, bent cover, etc. She felt so bad that she did buy me a new copy. However, I have never lent a book out since.