Chat Between Chapters: Loaning Out Books

September 14, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 36


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?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

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.

Rose review avatar Rose:

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!

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36 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Loaning Out Books”

  1. Elizabeth

    I only have a few friends who even ask to borrow books from me. I’ve never had any problem loaning books to them. One group of my friends tends to circulate books, so it’s not uncommon for me to receive one of my books back from a different person than the one I loaned it to. That wouldn’t work for everyone though.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Books to Read After The Hunger Games

    • Julie

      Yea when it is understood that books will circulate the group of friends that is much better than someone just loaning out your book without your knowledge heh.

  2. Tina at Mommynificent

    For me, the whole point of real books is being able to loan them out! I read most books on my Kindle now and I only buy “real” copies of the ones I want to reread and loan. I keep 3 or 4 copies of some of my favorites so I can loan or give to more than one person! Someone advised me once to never loan something I wouldn’t be willing to give. That advice has kept me in good stead – when I get back things I’ve loaned, I’m pleasantly surprised, and I don’t carry any anger or bitterness if I never see them again.

    Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Always a pleasure to have you!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #63

    • Julie

      Ooh Tina I really like that. I guess having multiple copies to loan/gift out makes you much nicer than some of the rest of us who want our precious back LOL

    • Rose

      Tina! I like the concept of never loaning out something I wouldn’t be okay with simply “gifting” and I use this concept for whenever I loan out money so I do not get angry or do not loan out if I can’t afford it. However, there is just something personal about loaning out my books… haha I want them back! They are my babies!

  3. Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens

    Hahaha! This post is really lovely, Julie and Rose. It has been such a long time since I loaned out books to other people because I have learned my lesson. When I was still young and naive (during my senior high school and Uni days), I used to loan out books to my friends who also want to read don’t want to buy books (I know that they have money but they just wouldn’t buy copies because they think that books aren’t worth buying. LOL) and return them to me in a dilapidated state.

    Aside from the above, some of these friends need some serious teaching about loaning etiquette because after they read the book, they will lend it to other people without me knowing it. WTF! Yes, I am all for spreading the book love but can they do it with some semblance of decency and respect? For them, it might only be a book but to me, it’s like a baby. It’s like a signature dress, bag, or shoes. So I really hate it whenever some of these friends take matter into their hands and just lend my books to others without bothering to tell me. I swear, I’ve already lost more than 10 books because of such attitude. The biggest blow was when I lost 2 Harry Potter hardbacks, The Chamber of Secrets and The Order of the Phoenix.

    After losing books, I swore that I will no longer loan out books to other people. I even gotten to the point that I am already lying on my teeth.

    Friend A: Hey, I know that you have already read “X” book and I’ve heard that it was already good. Do you have a copy? Can I borrow it?

    Me: Yeah, I’ve already read it but so sad that I didn’t have the money to buy it. I just borrowed the book from an office mate. (But I actually have a copy. Lalalalala. I am sorry. I am just exercising my motherly rights.)
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…A Letter To My YA Book Boyfriends…

    • Julie

      Haha I think it is funny that you’ve started saying you borrowed the book yourself so people can’t get their hands on your books and hurt them. I would just say sorry I had it in ebook and it isn’t lendable. Done.

    • Rose

      hilarious! I feel like loaning money is one thing, but loaning books is PERSONAL! They are my babies! I want them home safe with me…

  4. Leila @ LeilaReads

    I rarely borrow books (because I don’t want to forget to give them back), and I only lend to two people (one of whom is my best friend). My books are my friends, and I guard them jealously. If I’m interested in a book a friend owns, I usually just get it from the library or buy it.
    Leila @ LeilaReads recently posted…Hot Scot Saturday #3

    • Julie

      That makes sense – books must be protected so unless the person you’re lending it to is very trustworthy, they can get their own book or go to the library hehe.

    • Rose

      Is this the time or place to remind Julie that I have a book of hers and have had it for over half a year and have no clue when I shall ever read it , but do want to read it???? Or should I wait and comment on that later??? lol

      • Julie

        You have a book of mine? See, I don’t have a sign out sheet. I have no idea which book you have LOL

        • Rose

          er um… NO! My mistake… I have not book of yours… (actually it is your hubby’s book. History, non-fiction)

  5. Leila @ Readers' Oasis

    Oh, great topic! When I loan out books, I generally expect I won’t get them back! So in general, I only loan out my paperbacks . . . and only books that I don’t expect I’ll want to read again. I am terrible about returning books I borrow from people, so I generally avoid it!

    • Julie

      I think it is cool that you don’t expect the loans back and only loan out a specific subset of your books.

  6. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    I loan books out the same way that I lend money. I have no expectations that I’ll ever get them back. I’ve bought at least four copies of ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ because of this… and that’s okay. It’s all about expectations. 🙂 That being said, I DO NOT loan out signed editions or anything that’s really important or valuable for me.

    I normally don’t borrow books from people unless they are REALLY pushed on me – and often – I’m terrible about returning them unless I read them right away. That’s what the library is for. 🙂

    It’s funny that you posted this today because I was just asking my sister, “Hey, did I loan you my hard copy of ‘Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ – she said no, so I have NO IDEA where that book went. 🙂
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Spread the Love 2.0: Week Thirty Two

    • Julie

      That definitely makes sense to not loan out signed or special books. But that is cool that you don’t expect the book, or the money, back when you lend it out.

    • Julie

      Yea you’re right about the ebook thing, safe and sound and a forced return after 2 weeks heh.

  7. Brenda @DailyMayo

    I don’t usually loan books, but mostly because my IRL friends don’t read or don’t read the same type of books that I do. I only care about a few of my books enough to be sad if I never got them back- so I keep those to myself. The rest, I don’t really care if I get back or not.
    Brenda @DailyMayo recently posted…BKR04 Impressions

    • Julie

      That’s a good system, to keep the books that matter most safe and have a no loaning policy on those.

  8. Terri M.

    I do loan out books, but not very often. Many of my friends don’t read the same things I do and if they do they buy a copy of the book themselves. My sister and I do a regular book exchange. Since she has 2 kids, she keeps the books she borrows from me in a safe place so the kids can’t get to them.

    If someone loans me a books, I try to move that to the top of my TBR pile. If I can’t get it read within a month, I return it.
    Terri M. recently posted…Scenic Sundays #02: Fall Leaves and Rob Reiner

    • Rose

      I am glad that she keeps the books safe from the kiddos… I loaned out an audio on cd before. and I got the cd’s back, but their dog ate the case… kinda made me sad…

  9. Kimber Leigh Wheaton

    I stopped loaning out books. I learned that I had to the hard way. A couple of my close relatives are inadvertent book destroyers. Think broken spines in multiple places, dogeared pages, wrecked covers. I thought I loaned the book to an adult not a toddler… Seriously, my dogs treat books better than they do. Then of course there are the friends who never return the book at all. Hello? What kind of friend doesn’t return a book you loaned to them? One person told me that they dropped the book in the bathtub and would buy me a new copy. Still waiting here but not holding my breath!
    Kimber Leigh Wheaton recently posted…Book Blast: Vampire Secrets by RaShelle Workman

    • Julie

      Yikes, that must be hard to have relatives that destroy books like that! And the person who dropped your book in the tub and didn’t immediately replace it! Wow, are you still friends? Heh

    • Rose

      wwhoa! Dropped the book in the tub and did not replace yet??? My cousin puked on my copy of Outlander… luckily it was a trade paperback, so I just replaced it. I felt bad, since she obviously didn’t feel well. The worst part was she tried to “clean” the book and gave it back… some books are NOT meant to be returned.

    • Rose

      I understand completely about the “getting burned” aspect of book lending. Hence the loaner copies… because sometimes I love a book soooo much that I just can’t stand NOT loaning it out!

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