Do you have a protocol for loaning out your books? What do you do if someone’s had your book for a really *really* long time?
I don’t have an official protocol for loaning out books, and that might be a problem. I can’t usually remember who borrowed what books from me, so I rely on them to return it and remember that it is mine. I haven’t loaned out books for some time now so hopefully I have all my books in my possession. I also have a hard time knowing which books I actually own, and sometimes end up getting multiples by accident. That is a separate issue… lol.
I also don’t have a good protocol for borrowing books, other than putting a small piece of paper as a bookmark saying who I borrowed it from. I try not to borrow books from people anymore unless I’m planning on reading the book right away because I hate being that person who kept the book for ever. I think that’s kind of book borrowing etiquette. Return the book quickly, or don’t borrow it at all. I once borrowed a book from a co-worker, well she kind of pushed it on me, and it took me over a year to get around to reading it. Oops. That’s not right, and I recognize that.
I do it. Sometimes. Loan out books that is. There are rules. A sign out sheet. And I make my readers pay back book reparations for damages incurred. Okay, so I don’t actually do that last one. And the sign out sheet is a secret. I write down the books I have lent out and to whom, but no one else knows about it… well I guess NOW they do. Another thing I have been known to do is buy a used “loaner” copy of some of my favorite books. This way, I can keep my favorite copies “safe.” Seriously, I once loaned out one of my favorite books (at the time, it was 5th grade mind) and when I got it back, the cover was torn and the pages were bent! So yeah, I am particular about my books now days. I have a paperback copy of Outlander that I loan out. This is a copy I bought from Half Priced Books, so I do not get worried (at least, not THAT much) if the book is out for a long time or comes back with some minor damage. If someone has had my book for way too long (like over a year) then I will make up an excuse and be like, “Hey, do you still have that copy of Outlander? I think I lent it out to you last year…”(which is a complete lie. I KNOW who I last lent the book out too. I have the sign out sheet!) and the person is usually like, “oh yeah, I have it” (that is, if I am lucky. Other people have looked at me blankly and blinked, clearly having no clue what I am talking about, but hey, I KNOW they have it! The sign out sheet doesn’t lie! Unless that person loaned it out to another person, but that is another blog post for another day.) Usually at this point, since the person has acknowledged the book in question, I will gently say, “Well, would it be possible for you to bring it back, I have another person I promised could borrow it.” <—- Does this work? Every time!