I Think I’ve Made A Terrible Mistake

I’ve always loved lending out books. As a kid, I practically begged my sister to borrow books from me. I love being excited about a book and getting others excited. I’ve converted some of my friends into readers and it’s delightful. Even when I’ve had to mourn some lost books, I’ve still joyously lent them out to friends in need of a new book for their vacation or just life in general. I don’t even get too worried about wear and tear to my books because you know how I am. In fact, I’m more scared to borrow books from other people than I am to lend them out. (I think I’m a weirdo in that regard maybe?).

But in my book zeal, I’ve realized I may have been a little too hasty with my lending.



I’ve lost track of what I lent out and I’ve lent out things that perhaps I shouldn’t because it kind of gives me heart palpitations to think of ever losing.


3 situations I’ve found myself in lately:

1. Forgetting what I lent out: My little sister came to visit and said she wanted some new books to read. I was practically bouncing up and down that she wanted some books. So I loaded her up with 10 or so books and I can’t even remember which ones. The only one I do remember that I lent her FOR SURE is Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour which you know I super love. She said my cousin (who is also her age) wanted to borrow some too and I was just so excited to connect with them over books that I was out of control. I’m honestly terrified I’m never going to see these books again and I can’t even REMEMBER which books they are. I need to make people sign them out like I did when I was little APPARENTLY. Also, my sister is not ummm very responsible in keeping track of THINGS? About a week after I lent them out I had a moment of sheer panic for my books after my “OMG PEOPLE I LOVE WANT TO READ” high wore off.

2. Lending out favorites. SIGNED FAVORITES: My friend borrowed a bunch of books from me (and recently returned them…AH THE RELIEF)Β  and I was SO excited because I have gotten her into YA. She would read a little bit here and there but never YA. And now she’s hooked. SO OBVIOUSLY I hooked her up with my favorites from Gayle Forman (among others). BUT THESE WERE MY SIGNED BOOKS. And I trusted her no doubt. But I realized I maybe need some “borrowing copies” for my favorite books so I don’t have to part with my signed. WHAT IF SHE LOST THEM? Especially my Gayle’s. Can’t replace these personalized copies.

3. Lending out books to people who then lend them out to someone else: So my friend who borrowed my Gayle books? Well, she lent them to her sister-in-law and then her mom. NOW, she asked. She did. But I felt so awkward saying no and plus I WANT EVERYONE TO READ THE GAYLE BOOKS….so I said yes. I HAD NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN BEFORE. I was ill-prepared and it scared me for my books to get even further away.


And now I’ve found myself with a bout of book lending anxiety. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, friends. I’ve never really ever felt TOO nervous about lending and I’ve done it freely and joyously but now I kind of just want to be like THEY ARE MIIIIIINE. NO.


But I really just like getting friends hooked on books I’ve loved. I’ve had a lot of personal success with lending my books and letting friends discover new favorites (my one friend who lives in my complex has been a READING MACHINE and has discovered all sorts of new authors to love from borrowing my books).Β  I know a lot of other people don’t like feeling like their friend’s personal library…but I’ve never minded it.

So now I’m all like: to lend or not to lend? Do I need to maybe have boundaries with certain books? Actually write down what people borrow? Stop lending so freeeely? I DO NOT KNOW.


What about you guys? Do you lend books out to people? Have any lending horror stories? How do you choose what books you are fine with lending?
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. When I was on good terms with my dad, I lent him books all the time. I was excited that he was reading YA, even if it was ‘boy’ YA and mostly on the horror side. Anyway. I lent him my copy of Anna Dressed in Blood because I LOOOOVED it and I wanted to spread the love around. He loved it too. SO HE LENT IT TO HIS FRIENDS. I got it back EVENTUALLY. And then I lent it to him again (shame on me) and I haven’t seen it since. We had a falling out and he flat out refused to give it back to me. But that’s a whole other story.

    I also lent out my copy of The Hunger Games to my aunt who lent it around the family. I got it back with a torn cover, broken spine, and it was sort of rolled up?

    I lent my mom my copy of Insurgent and I got it back a year and a half later, covered in CIGARETTE ASHES. And she hadn’t even read it!

    Anyway, I don’t lend out books anymore except to my little sister. She’s had the two books I gave her for a while now but she lives three minutes away and I know she’s busy with school so it’s taking her a while. Basically, I’ve learned my lesson and I trust NO ONE. I do lend books to other blogger occasionally, but never anything that I actually want back. If I happen to get it back, then great! But I’m not expecting it.

    • OMG you’ve had some really traumatic book lending! :/ I would definitely be lending to almost nobody if I had all those things happen!

  2. I only lend books to my boyfriend because one, he knows how I am about my books and I have no shame in telling him that he will not see another book from me if he returns one damaged and two, sadly I don’t have many friends that read πŸ™

    Hmm I saw a while ago an idea of how to keep track of the things you borrow: you take a picture with a phone/camera of the friend/relative holding the books you lend to him/her. It’s less hassle than making a list!

    • Ooh that’s a good idea! I wonder if they’d be weirded out by that haha. Or maybe I’ll sneakily take a picture of the stack I give them and then use an app to write their name on the pic?

  3. I don’t have people around me that want to borrow my books, so that is one thing. But I don’t think I could ever lend my books to a lot of people. I feel very protective over them and I’m careful with them, so I don’t like the idea someone else is touching them.. I’m always happy when my sister FINALLY starts to read the books I keep shoving in her face, but we still live in the same house. I know she is careful with them (she knows the punishment, haha) and while I know she is a bit chaotic, I know she will give them back eventually.

    I can definitely understand your anxiety. Maybe you should start some sort of library system, where people write down in a special notebook which books they borrow? And when they want to give it to someone else, they first have to note down who that person is, so you always know where your books are – and which ones they’ve borrowed?

    And I think getting double copies of precious books is a good idea if you want to lend them to other people. Like you said, losing a new copy isn’t a problem, but losing one that is signed..

    • Haha yeah it’s a little easier with sister’s who live with you…you always know you can go snag it back if you want it. My sister and I used to share things all the time when we were living at home still and it was nice to be like OKAY TIME IS UP and march into her room and get it. Though come to think about it she DID lose a bracelet I loved & purchased while I was in London. SIGH.

      I go back and forth if I want the people I lend books to to even give them to someone else. Esp if I don’t know that person. In the case above I knew her sister in law and mom but it still like freaks me out for them to be further out of my hands lol I appreciated that she asked at least. I would be so bothered if they were just lent out without asking. I think it’ll have to be case by case maybe? And maybe NOT my signed faves.

      And yes! There are only handful of books I’d need to get lending copies for but that would definitely lessen my anxiety for those really really precious copies.

  4. I’m torn on this. On one hand I love introducing people to new books, but I’m also terrified of something happening to my books. I love that I have books I got ten years ago that still look and smell new, so lending them out is always a bit of a gamble. The only people I know I can lend books and get them back in the same condition are a close friend and my mum. Two other friends also borrow books occasionally, but I have gotten those back with mystery stains :(.

    The thing I hate the most is, if someone gives you back your book and it is obvious that there are stains or tears and they don’t say anything. Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love my books and how I take care of them. How can they think I won’t notice the state the books are in is beyond me.

    I once lent a book to a friend in primary school and I still haven’t gotten it back after 10 years.
    And I once lent two books (The Film Club and Thirteen Reasons Why) to a girl in my class and when I saw The Film Club again the cover was creased, one corner of the front cover was folded in th the middle and the paper of the cover had split into several layers. I have to admit that I then made up a story that my cousin wanted to borrow Thirteen Rwasons Why and she would only be in town two days. I don’t really care if she believed me, all I cared about was to get my book back before it looked like it had been through a natural disaster.

    I have a few books that I will never lend to anyone, like my Penguin Clothbound Classics or the leatherbound edition of Lord of the Rings. And my absolute favourites will only be given to people who had other books before and passed the test.

    • YES I’m so split!! There’s nothing like getting friends into books but GAH IT IS SO SCARY TO LET THEM OUT OF YOUR SIGHT.

      Ah that’s so sad that people would return them and pretend like there isn’t damage! One of my book club friends borrowed an ARC from me and then came over to return it and it was a brand new hardcover. I’m like HUH? She’s like well I got some water damage on the ARC so I got you the new copy. I appreciated it but I was like OMG YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT…it was only an ARC!! But I really did appreciate that she wouldn’t try to just return it without saying anything haha.

      Hahah I’ve totally lied to get books back. I would rather do that so I could spare their feelings rather than be like YOU ARE DESTROYING MY BOOK GIMME.

      I think that’s a good idea…that favorites can only be lent to those who have proved themselves worthy in borrowing my books!

  5. Nikki Robinson says:

    I love giving people my books to read! LOVE. But one time I thought I lost one because a friend kept it forever until she randomly found it, so now she gets the shady eyes every time I give her books. But I tell people this: “you know I trust you because I’m letting you borrow my books”. Then they get the stare. I do forget what I give people too though. I just get so excited I’m like “you NEED this. And this. And this.” I definitely should start making people sign them out.

    • Haha I bet she’s careful now!! And that’s a good caveat…hey just realize this is my favorite and this is a BIG BIG deal I’m lending this to you. OKAY. NO PRESSURE? haha. And YES..that’s exactly how it is. I get so excited that they want to borrow and I’m just loading them up without even taking notice of what I’m giving!

  6. I don’t lend books out that often (mostly because people don’t often ask *sad face*), but I get anxious about the state they might come back in. I’m very fussy about my books, especially when I bought them new, and don’t like to damage the cover or bend pages. I don’t mind other people doing it – with their own books obviously – but I have a thing about keeping mine like new. So lending a book to someone who I know reads in the bath, or shoves the book into a bag under other things, or folds the pages instead of using a bookmark just FILLS – ME – WITH – HORROR! My books are my prized possessions and mean more than expensive items like my laptop, which a lot of people don’t understand. I’d never give people a list of demands when I lend them a book, I just stew quietly!

    • Yes! this is why I am SO careful when borrowing other people’s books! I’m a person who commits all sorts of book crimes with my own books but I wouldn’t want to treat other people’s stuff like I do my own.

  7. I once saw a great tip online to keep track of the books you lend out. Just take a picture of that person holding the book/books and then you will have proof (lol) on your phone of what you have lent out and to who!

  8. This is a very valid concern, Jamie. I have very few bookish friends and we have different tastes. And I am very protective when it comes to my books. I go downright selfish about it. But I do share my ebooks (as long as it’s not for a review request) with my friends.

    If you don’t want to stop lending your books to other people, maybe you can just make a list. Tedious, I know, but it can help especially when you lend in bulk. πŸ™‚

    • I think it’s okay to be a little selfish with the stuff you spend your hard earned money on! And yeah, I think I’m going to have to calm down in all my book excitement and just write out a list!

  9. When I was in fourth grade I lent a twi books to two different friends, and I never saw either one again. I was kind of upset at the time considering I liked those books!

    Since then I’ve lent a few books to my mom and close friends. I’ve always gotten them back, thank goodness! I did tell one if my friends to be careful with then though because I’ve seen her just haphazardly throwing and jamming books and other things into he purse
    – umm be careful that’s still mine!

    If I had a signed copy of a book I would probably only lend it to my mom and possible extremely trusted friends, though – you can see just can’t take it!

    I wish I had a friend like you whom I could borrow books from!

    • AH it’s the worst to never get them back and to KNOW you will never at this point. πŸ™

      I would let you borrow any of my books if you lived near me! πŸ™‚ Book bloggers are good people to let borrow your books because they understand!

  10. I lent out my signed hardback copy of Attachments (there are very few hardbacks of Attachments) and forgot who I lent it too! Luckily the lendee reminded me that she had it but I haven’t seen her in awhile and want it back! I’m probably going to troll used bookstores for a paperback copy to lend out in the future.

    • OH GOOD. Thank goodness for people who don’t forget! ALSO very jealous you have a HC of Attachments!! And yeah, I think finding loaner copies for our favorite signed ones is probably smart!

  11. I have actually stopped lending books to people after a few traumatic experiences. For the most part I had never had an issues, so I was telling one of my friends about The Looking Glass Wars, and since she is super into Alice in Wonderland she was dying to read it. So in the excitement of spreading my new favorite series at the time I was all for lending her the books. So I just gave all three to her to read. This was nearly 5 years ago. I have not seen the books since. She sometimes mentions that they are still there, but that’s basically it.
    We’ve also had to make rules that my brother-in-laws are not allowed to borrow books. It kind of started when we used books for our wedding decorations. We picked our favorite books to be displayed because that was kind of a big thing for my husband and I. We are both constantly reading and have a few classics in common. Our favorite books suddenly became lost for a year and a half. One day we found them, in their shelves like they belonged there. Then we lent them all of my husbands books from the Song of Ice and Fire series. We no longer have any copies. They took those books EVERYWHERE and really didn’t take care of them so they got trashed. Then they lent it to the guy who was living with us at the time, and he left books in hotel rooms while he was on the road for work. Or one day I cam home to find that the book had been torn in pieces. He said he’d buy a new copy, but we have not seen one yet. Our new rule is that they can read books of ours at our place, but those books cannot leave our place.
    It’s crazy, because I used to lend books out to people all the time. Movies too. But then I hit this streak where people just kept things. I lent some of my favorite movies to a girl who was my friend at the time. Then there was a TON of drama and I called her out on it (she was kind of the worst friend possible for me, and I figured that it was an unnecessary friendship) and so she kept all my stuff. If I was to bring it up to her now she would just act like she didn’t know what I was talking about. But I have had good book lending experiences. I used to lend books to my roommates all the time, but I supposed it helped that we lived in the same apartment. I’m much more nervous to lend books out now. I just feel like it’s not that hard to take care of something that isn’t yours, but it seems that lately people can’t do that with my books. I’ve now stuck to just recommending titles and making sure they are available at a library.

    • Oh my gosh! Very traumatic!!! I think once you get burned so many times you kind of have to protect yourself! I’ve had a few times where I know I’ve borrowed a book for a little longer than I should and I always felt AWFUL but they always got returned and I made sure i knew and asked if they wanted it back which would be fine with me bc I would get it at the library or something. (This is also why I don’t borrow books too often because I’m such a mood reader that it takes me forever!).

  12. I’m not a big lender myself, because I’m such a control freak I want to know where my books are at all times. But I definitely get the feeling of trying to let other people fall in love with the same books you are. I have 3 sisters and I try to lend them books all the time, but when they actually borrow them they take forever to read them, like months and months, and I start getting anxious about getting my books back. I mean, I don’t get what’s taking them so long. Grr! And that happened even when we were living in the same house! My advice for your problem though, would be to have some sort of registry. I know this could be a lot of work, but maybe it could be fun to organize them? And make a list of the books you treasure the most and don’t lend them to everyone, just the people you trust the most and know you better. If it was me actually I would lend them with a warning or a price on their heads if they don’t bring my babies back. So that’s why I would only lend them to people that wouldn’t freak out about me doing that, lol!

    • Being the nerd that I am I think a registry of sorts would be FUN. πŸ™‚ Also dying at your “lend them with a warning or a price on their heads” HAHHA

  13. I lend to my sisters – I know where to find them! And if they ruin something, I can get a replacement. Other than that, I don’t lend. I give. If I can’t part with it, sometimes I’ll even buy it for someone.

    Hubs on the other hand does “lend” and we never see those books again. It drives me crazy!

    • Haha that’s the best part with sisters…always know where to find them and you KNOW you can shake em down for a replacement! Although I can recall some clothing and jewelry my sister lost of mine back in the day. DAMN HER.

      I’m picky about what ends up on my shelf after I’ve read it so a lot of times I will give those copies to someone. It’s the hardest thing…wanting people to read your faves but not wanting wanting them to take your book..esp a signed favorite. But I know sometimes they won’t go get them unless I give them. SIGH SIGH SIGH. Bookworm dilemmas.

  14. I lend books all the time. When it comes to my very favorites (especially the signed ones!) I do have separate lending copies! I’m often lending my personal copies to my students. Even when they try, 13-year-olds don’t always take the best care of books! Like you, I just want people to read!

    I do try to remember to have students sign out my personal copies of books (I am, after all, a librarian!) but I often forget. I really should keep better track of the books I loan to friends! Those are the ones that I forget about most often!

    All in all, I figure a book lost by me (whether from my personal copies or my library) is gained by someone else who probably needs it more than I do. BUT NOT MY SIGNED COPIES! πŸ™‚

    • Haha oh man…my teen nephews? They are the WORST to lend books to. TEENAGERS. I pretty much only give them books I’m okay with being destroyed or lost haha. Smart to have lending copies for your students in some cases! But that’s true…I hope the people who have kept my books in the past at least enjoy them!! Signed ones though…gutted if one doesn’t ever come back. I should def get some lending copies!

  15. I love lending out books to friends! But I like to know who has what, so I bought myself a library kit. I love how old school it is! I put a pocket and card in each book, then when I lend one out, I take out the card and write on it who has the book. I have a little spot in my office where I keep the cards, so I always know who has what books! I know this doesn’t help with the fear of someone losing one of your precious books, but at least you would always know who has your special autographed copies!

  16. Oh HELLLLLL no to lending out signed books. You’re a MUCH more generous person than me. You’ll have to rip those books out of my cold, dead hands!

    You definitely need to starting a lending process for The Library of Jamie!

    This is actually why I don’t like when people lend me books. There’s too much pressure to read, like and then return the book. I’m stressed out the entire time I’m in possession of someone’s book. I’d just rather pay for it myself (or take it out of the library). At least then I know that 1) I actually WANTED to read it so I’m more likely to ACTUALLY read it and 2) I’m not beholden to anyone.

    • HAHAH. I think I’m coming over to your side now with my signed books!!

      THIS. I linked to a post above that I wrote about why I don’t like borrowing books and ALL OF THESE REASONS ARE WHY FOR ME TOO. It is SO much pressure!!

  17. This is straight up why I don’t lend books to anyone except people at work (who I see constantly) or my BFF. I don’t trust anyone else. That said, I’m constantly getting rid of books so in situations where others might lend I often just give away books–which I find more satisfying because it’s like giving gifts all the time!

    • YES me too! I am super picky about what stays on my shelves (have to be favorites or books I would reread or just feel strongly about having) but that means that even books I really liked get passed on! Fewer books to lend but I do always want to lend people my faves because THEY ARE MY FAVES.

  18. I don’t actually own any books, so this is a non-issue for me lol πŸ™‚

  19. I only lend books to my dad and sister. My dad is a big reader like me, so we trade books all the time and he even makes sure not to smoke his stinky cigars around mine, which I appreciate greatly!! My 14 year old sister, I just started loaning books to this year because I didn’t trust her before lol. If I wanted her to read a book before, I ‘gave’ it to her. Now, when I loan her books, I take a cell phone pic of the stack (and usually post it on Instagram lol) so I know what I took her. She’s been very good about them so far, I’ve had one come back a little sticky, but that’s it!

    • That is so nice that your dad is aware of not doing that. it would KILL me if someone was smoking while they were reading my books. Also very cool that you and your dad share books!

      I think I should start taking pics with my phone just to remember!

  20. I lend my books all the time and I am THE WORST at keeping track of them. I used to do it way more, but I’ve lost and had to replace books, so at this point, I have only a select group of friends I lend to, so if I can’t find them, at least I can canvass those five people.

    The signed books are the absolute worst – it’s not that I care so much that they are signed, but they have memories associated with meeting authors! My husband says I shouldn’t lend books if I expect to get them back…but NO. I want to share the love, but I want them back, too!

    • Haha that’s the good thing about having a small pool of people to lend them to…you know the usual suspects that probably have them!

      and YES!! Like my Gayle books that my friend has right now are signed from my birthday and like THAT WAS SUCH A GREAT DAYYYY.

      It’s a double edged sword. Want to share the book love but it’s risky sometimes! Also, I guess at the end of the day they ARE just THINGS…so it’s not the end of the world. *repeats this to self*

  21. Such a tough decision because while there are pros to lending out books, there are cons. I love how you got your friend into reading young adult! But it would be such a shame if the person accidentally rips a page or get some dirt on the book. I think you should just lend out the books to people you trust and emphasize to them to not get your book damaged or else…dun dun dun!

    • YES exactly! I mean, I know lending books to friends has gotten them hooked so it’s such a good thing . I’m not AS worried about the little damages but more so the LOSING THEM FOREVER and big damages πŸ™

      I’ll have to figure out what the DUN DUN DUN will mean….*thinks up punishments*

  22. I don’t even like lending books to my boyfriend because I worry what will happen to them. I do lend out books though from time to time but the people who borrow them know that they better return them in the condition they took them in otherwise they owe me a new copy of said book. So I guess I’m that evil librarian of my own library. lol

    • Haha evil librarian of my own library. I like this title. I guess I’m going to have start dropping joke-y but serious hints so they know to treat my books right!!

  23. YOU ARE BRAVER THAN ME. I am so picky about lending my books out, I pretty much only lend them to fellow bloggers. I could never lend out a signed book though.

    • I feel like bloggers are the exception because MOST of just know the RULES. I mean, I am awful with my own books but I would never treat other’s books like I do mine haha.

  24. We’re a lot alike. I totally get the lending high from passing them on to friends and family members. But my short term memory is AWFUL. I’ve lent books to both my best friend and my sister-in-law only to totally forget what I sent with them. Thankfully, they’re both responsible, so they kept track for me.

    However, I may be a bad person to lend to. I take care of books, but I seem to hang on to them FOREVER. This is mostly because I have a large TBR pile and it takes me a bit to get to them. I have one that my best friend lent me almost three months ago that might actually get read this month and one that my mother-in-law lent me last month that need to get finished.

    I’ve also seen that take a photo thing. I think it’s a great idea. Honestly, more just for my own sanity than because I don’t trust those I’m lending to. Seriously…my memory is terrible.

    • I have this exact issue. My TBR list is so long that, while it’s nice that someone wants to share a book with me, chances are that it’ll be awhile before I get to it. I usually make that disclaimer now when someone is handing me a book. Or I’ll tell them to hold on to it and I’ll ask them to borrow it when I have time to read it.

      I find that other big readers fully understand this. People who don’t have a TBR list don’t understand why you just can’t start it that night and return it in a week or so.

      See… this is why borrowing books is even more stressful for me than lending my books out. THE PRESSURE!

    • Yes I’m glad I’m not alone in this!! And I am SO the same…I made a post that I linked to above about why I hate borrowing people’s books. I take FOREVER because I’m a mood reader so I might not get to it right away…..or even in a year haha. I’ve stopped borrowing mostly because I feel so much SHAAAAME.

  25. Jennifer B. says:

    Lending out books is traumatic. I always have fears that they will never return or return in a worse condition then when I lent that person a book!

    What I always do it write down who is borrowing a book from me and what books I gave them! I also write the month & year so I can remember exactly when I gave it to them. It helps me to not freak-out as much if I write all that information down!

    • I really do need to write them down so, when they take forever, I know how long it’s been and who has it when my memory gets fuzzy! I’ll just have to jot it down discreetly. Or with the people I’m super comfortable with just be like HA YOU KNOW ME I’M CRAZY ABOUT MY BOOKS…let me jot this down HAH!

  26. I lend books out to people, but I lay down a set of rules for them. No lending to other people. If it’s someone I know, they can ask, but if it’s someone I’ve never met then no. The books I lend must come back in the same condition they left in. If they aren’t, they have to buy me a new book. I NEVER lend out signed copies. Too scary.

    I also only lend to like two people at a time otherwise it gets confusing and I lose track of my books.

    All that being said, I have had trouble w/people buying me new books after they ruin mine. Two of mine are still out because I wouldn’t accept them back in the condition they were in. It’s been WEEKS and they still haven’t gotten me new ones. So I probably won’t lend them books again. I like to give people a chance, but break my trust w/my books and you break it forever.

    Yup. Intense. Bookworm problems right?

    • I always feel so awkward bringing up “the rules”. I NEED TO THO. It’s mah stuff. I hope you get your replacements soon!!

  27. I have lent books out in the past, but I get anxious if they are not returned within a reasonable amount of time. I have the app Libib, which lets you catalog all your books. You can make a note if you lend it to someone. No one has asked for a book since I started using Libib, so I don’t know if it will make me feel any better.

  28. I am THE WORST at keeping track of things I lend out. It doesn’t even just apply to books. I’ve been trying to get better at writing things down (because otherwise the answer is just don’t let people have stuff, which seems rude because it’s not like it’s random strangers demanding my things), but still. And then, when they take a long time to get back to me, I don’t know how to be like, hey remember that thing you borrowed 17 weeks ago? I want it back. And I’m totally all about having lending copies of books that I love, but can’t be separated from. (We may or may not have 8 copies of Holly Black’s WHITE CAT in my house between two of us).

    • ME TOO. In college was the worst…I was always lending clothes and movies and cds and NEVER COULD REMEMBER. Also, as someone who HAS been the person who is totally aware they still have a book I would NOT mind being reminded of it. I always try to be like HEY I KNOW I STILL HAVE YOUR BOOK. Lemme know if I’m taking too long and I’ll give it back! That way the lender doesn’t have to feel awkward haha

      And yeah..I think the lending copies are going to need to be implemented for a few of these books!

  29. I’m always a bit anxious about lending out my books, because I don’t want to get them back damaged or just not get back at all (which happened to my mother a few times). I’ll lend books to close friends, but mostly my solution for getting people to read my favourite books is giving them a copy for their birthdays. πŸ™‚ If someone I trust really wants to borrow one of my books, I’ll let them, except when it comes to my Harry Potter books. Beside the fact that they’re really important to me, it makes me twitch to see a book missing in the series on my shelf!

    • That’s a good idea!! Makes birthday shopping for them easy too πŸ˜› And your comment about hating seeing an incomplete series on your shelf just reminded me how annoying it is for books to be “out” because when I’m rearranging and acquiring new books in this time I’m like CRAP I need to leave space here but nooo I don’t want to. SIGH. BOOKWORM PROBLEMS.

  30. Well lately I’ve only been lending to my Mum, Aunt, Sister and brother. I am this close from cutting my sister off, some of my books have come back in horrible condition. On this thought, I am NEVER EVER lending my signed copies. I am totally doing a MINE! Not yours! lol

    I did lend my whole Kresley Cole series to a friend of my Mum’s and I had a completely panic because they moved and I hadn’t got them back. My Mum was just not taking the situation seriously enough because every time she talked to her, she forgot to mention it. The friend had them for like 8 months. Fortunately they all came back. πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I’m thinking I’m going to have to start nixing the lending of signed books. Haha and you should send your sister a warning …one more time and YOU ARE DONE.

  31. Wowwww you are a much nicer person than me! I only allow two people to borrow my books: my sister (because she’s two steps down the hallway and I can take it back anytime) and my best friend (because she’s equally anal about her books like me). The last time I lent a book to someone other than those two, it took me four months to get it back! That’s just way too much for me. Just reading about your friends lending to friends gave me anxiety πŸ˜›

    • Haha you would HATE lending books to me. I’m that person that takes too long :/ Which is why I also don’t borrow books a lot and I make SURE that I touch base every now and again and remind that HEY YES I STILL HAVE IT…it’s OKAY! If you want it back because I’m taking too long…LET ME KNOW!! I would never NOT give a book back but being a mood reader makes it soooo hard for me to borrow books. I need to work on it.

  32. I’m really big into lending out books to people but I do always keep a little list of who has what. I used to just lend them out to whoever and whenever but then I’d get annoyed with myself because I would want to, of course, read the book I had lent out and I would think that I had lost it! Although I never ever lend out my signed copies of books especially my John Green and my Michael Chabon ones. (I have second copies of all my signed books so I can lend them out to people). I’ve only had a couple traumatic lending experiences; including lending out The Hunger Games to my now-ex boyfriend and him leaving it at his parent’s house across the country…that was fun. I would definitely recommend keeping a list of who has what though…it makes things way easier!

  33. I have a ton of lending horror stories so I don’t lend books – though I will give books away, so there’s no stress about where they are, what’s happening to them, have they been re-lent. I’ve had them taken out of the country to never return, dropped in tubs, dropped in pools, covered in tuna fish, discovered in the bathroom on the toilet tank (eww). They have these great little library checkout card sets that I used to put in some of my books when I’d lend them, and while it helped me keep track of who they went to, that did not mean I’d get them back.

    I don’t even read signed books – those become collectibles. But I am totally angsting for you about your signed books! I hope they come back to you in the same beautiful condition they were lent out in.

    • Omg your list of things??? CRINGING SO HARD. OMG. I would SO not lend books out if all those things happened. OMG.

      I need to find a library checkout set! I’ve gotten all but one of the signed books back and she said her mom is still reading it and I felt awkward saying NOOO so fingers crossed that one comes back soon! I think I’m going to rethink the signed favorites being lent out.

  34. I am an English teacher and have started building a classroom library for myself and students. It was easy to see that if a child did not loose a borrowed book (sob!) It would probably come back in less than pristine condition, which also breaks my heart. I also tried using the old-school library check out cards, but that became hopelessly unorganized. I then found phone apps where you can catalog all your books easily (scan the barcode), and check the book out! In some apps, it will connect with Facebook friends and email them if they’ve borrowed it for too long πŸ˜‰ This method was very successful, and I was only missing one book at the end of yhe school year!

    • Oh that’s useful to email them…like a reminder! Then it’s not so awkward to track it down yourself! What’s the name of the app?

  35. I feel your pain. I have a list… I do not show this list to the person I lend my book to. But I keep this list nevertheless and write down date I loaned a book, title, person I loaned to and any special notes about the condition of the copy. This list is never EVER revealed to the borrower. I NEVER loan out special copies. I actually DO have loaner copies of some of my favorite signed copies. I hope you get your books back! I love getting people into reading great book and discussing those books with people, so I loan out books. But I do not loan out books I could not stand to lose. The anxiety would kill me.

    • I think I need to make a secret list too. I would feel so weird doing it out in the open. I just need to calm myself down from my initial lending high and do it haha.

      I think, after reading the comments and seeing so many of you doing it, that I’m DEFINITELY getting loaner copies for my all time favorites. Have to draw a line somewhere!

  36. Hahaha, I have the same issue, especially back when I lent out books to multiple people. I had to write down what I let to whom, otherwise it’d just be a mess. My main problem is lending out books to people who keep them for over a year, or who give them back to me dog-eared. Makes me think twice about lending out books again.

    • I am a dog-earer but omg I would NEVER do it to someone else’s book. Reading someone else’s books is actually so awkward and uncomfortable for me because I’m reading them so carefully that every movement is awkward. Sloooow page turns so I don’t accidentally rip…barely opening it so the spine doesn’t crease. I also tend to keep them for way too long (maybe not a year but long) but I always try to reassure them I STILL HAVE IT…I just suck at reading things because I am a mood reader and let them know they can let me know if they need it back and no worries. Also, why I don’t borrow many books these days haha

  37. Oh, man! Whenever I lend out things – books, CD’s, CLOTHES, whatever – (DVD’s!) I never get them back; or I do get them back but they’re not in the same condition they were in when I lent them out. It irks me! (But I still lend out!) Like you, I love lending books because I WANT people to read (so many people I know don’t read!) but these days I’ll only lend clothes to my sister (who has ruined a few things on me in the past! Ha!)

    I think I’d hang on to those signed books, though – and it would really annoy me if someone started passing around stuff I had lent (I mean, I know she asked – but how do you say no?!)

    • In college I got burned so many times by lending out clothes. I let someone borrow my FAVORITE black cardigan ( you know, that perfect one that goes with EVERYTHING and fits perfectly and you wish you bought 50 of?) and she left it in her purse in the trunk while they were all in the club and it got STOLEN.

      And yesss!! I feel so awkward saying NO …make your mom stop in the middle of the book and give it back. Or NO your friend can’t borrow. It’s so awkward. Depending on the book I’m going to have to start just sucking it up and saying no.

  38. I lend books out all the time! People have been pretty good about returning them looking the same as when I lent it to them. But I’m sure there are a couple of books out there that I totally forgot about! And I have a couple that people have lent me that I still have read! And I’ve had them for a year or longer. FOR SHAME, ME! πŸ™

    • I’m in the same boat with having books for so long. I FEEL SO MUCH SHAME. I try to be open like HEY I KNOW I STILL HAVE THIS. I SUCK. LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE IT BACK. But I still feel shame haha.

  39. I love to lend out books to because I want EVERYONE to love ALL the books. But, like you I lose track of what is out. I go looking for the book and realize…it’s not there. Crap! Where is it? Did I lend it? To who??? Yipes. I’ve tried to allow myself to not lend out my favorites but I have trouble saying no. It literally hurts to tell someone no about a book I love. But, sometimes I feel like I must. I try to put the rule out there…like…I don’t lend out my VERY, VERY favorite books. Like The Winner’s Curse or The Winner’s Crime…nope. I can’t. I just can’t let it out of my sight. I’ll have complete anxiety if I do. Even if I trust the person. So, I completely relate to this post!! And…I’m with you. I get so nervous loaning books from others.

    • Oh geez, reading over that I realized I used the wrong ‘TO’ I meant to type ‘TOO’ sigh. That’s what I get for commenting on cold medicine.

    • YESS!!! This happened to my copy of The Sky Is Everywhere. I forgot I lent it to my sister and I was SO UPSET thinking I somehow lost it. A year or two later I find it in my little sister’s room when I was up visiting my dad. I was so relieved but man that was scary!! And yes…to deny someone a favorite? SO HARD. Esp if they ask. I’ve had friends be like ok do you have such and such book? And of course I get giddy so they are like okay grab that one for me and I’m like Oh UM OKAY…yeah..here. REMEMBER I LOVE IT?? BE GOOD TO IT.

  40. SIGNED, PERSONALIZED FAVORITES!?! Oh, you are so, so brave. I barely let anyone borrow finished copies from me anymore (thanks to all the ruined books I received in return – once, a book arrived back missing 50 pages and the person just shrugged like “I don’t know what happened”), let alone a personalized favorite! Personalized books are so hard to get, I basically put those under lock and key πŸ˜‰

    I really dislike when #3 happens. You never want to be the bad guy by saying no, but still – it’s more likely that book will never end up coming back if it keeps getting passed around to people you didn’t directly lend it to.

    I only lend to people I really trust. I’ll lend / give ARC’s with no hesitation to anyone, but a finished copy cost me hard-earned money, so I’m more careful with them.

    Really great post! I hope all of your books end up coming home in same the condition they left! πŸ™‚

    • I’m thinking I’m done with the lending out of personalized favorites after this!! THE ANXIETY IS TOO MUCH. And omg I cannot BELIEVE someone did that!! I would have groveled and shown up with a brand new copy for you!!

      And yes..I hate looking like a bad guy saying no so I cave. SIGH. At least in this case it was her mom and sister-in-law and I KNOW both of them so I felt sort of okay!

      Yeah, ARCS…I never want them back unless it is like a “rare” kind of arc or a favorite author.

  41. OKAY STORY TIME. About 3 years ago I was in the process of moving houses. I put all of my not-so-favorites in a box that I lent to my friend and I told her “I’m going to leave this here for a few months while we get situated and unpacked and then I’ll come back and pick them up. Read what you want!” Now there weren’t a lot of books in there that I mourn the loss of, but there were AT LEAST 50 books in the box. That’s a lot of money! About two or three months ago I called her (because I don’t see her that much; she’s on the other side of town) and asked if she still had the box. Now, maybe this was my fault for forgetting about the box and letting her have them for so long, but I just assumed that, y’know, you don’t give other peoples’ books away..? Anyway, she gave ALL of the books away. All of them. Well, except one. But yeah, she gave them all to Good Will. I was furious! I get that she thought I probably didn’t want them, but she could have double checked! I would have liked to go through them and see if there were any gems (like ALL of my Harry Potter books for one thing!).

    Now I’m really thrifty about who I lend books to. I lend my books to my best friend, but my favorite series have duplicates so I don’t lend her my nice copies. (Like I have the Throne of Glass series twice because if she damaged a hardcover copy I’d probably lose my mind. She isn’t as…careful.) But I try not to lend them out anymore because people never freakin’ bring them back.

    I DEFINITELY recommend some sort of library system lol. I have a little book that has a section in it where I can keep track of what books I’ve lent to people and whether they’ve returned them or not. Seeing as it’s rare I lend them I don’t use it much, but it’s a cool system just in case. πŸ˜›

  42. I’ve also completely forgotten which books I’ve leant out and to whom D: To the point where I asked my friend who has been VERY SLOWLY going through a large stack of mine if she could bring back the ones she wasn’t in the middle of just so that I don’t have to worry about them being used as coasters or something ;-). I actually have “lending copies” of some of my signed favorites so that I don’t have to worry since they’re just mass market copies, not my precious hardcovers!

  43. I haven’t loaned too many books FOR THESE REASONS and let’s not forget that I’m also THAT PERSON who still has people’s books years later. BUT IN MY DEFENSE!!!! One: I tried to give the books BACK and the owners were like, “No, it’s okay. I totally don’t need them back. Take your time and read them whenever you can.” (Erm, that was also a nice way of me saying that I don’t WANT to read them…? Not in a bad way but like, they’re not really my style) and then they even FORGET that they loaned me a book (so opposite of me. Usually. God forbid I loaned a good book to someone because I KNOW I’ve forgotten about books I didn’t really care about too much) but TWO: I loaned my signed copy of Divergent to my friend which was cool. She’s one of my best friends, promised to treat it well (and she did) so then I loaned her my (also signed) copy of Insurgent and she still has it. And she moved to Seattle. Soooooooooooo. I asked her to bring it to my bridal shower, assuming she was done and she said she wasn’t and I’M TOO NICE so I told her to keep it until she was done and she didn’t have to return it unfinished so will she bring it to my rehearsal dinner? Will I get it back in a few years!?! Luckily I’m not as gaga over that series as everyone else so I’m not TOO worried about it getting damaged or not getting it back but the other two books are lonely without it hahaha.
    My one friend just moved back from CO/NV and she read If I Stay and LOVED it so I told her I’d loan her WSW but she loved books too so she’s totally trustworthy! She can browse my library any time!

  44. Yup, I lend out books. I like sharing the book love! However, I always tell the person borrowing them that they need to treat my books with utmost care. I also try not to lend out my signed things because those are infinitely more precious to me. And if I can, I’ll loan an ARC rather than a finished copy because I care less about the condition of those.
    However, my paperback copy of Princess Academy now has a permanent curl/crease in the cover because a friend wasn’t too careful with it. Every time I see it, I about have a panic attack so I obviously need to be more selective with who I loan books to.
    But, yes, I feel your pain and worry.

  45. I now only lend books to two people, two of my good friends who have always returned my books and in great condition. Not to mention they are friends that I feel very comfortable with saying, HELLO I want that back now!!

    I’ve had so many lending disasters. I’ve not received a ton of books back and it’s a shame. Luckily I have been able to rebuy several of them from bookoutlets at a really low price, but STILL I hate not getting MY copy back πŸ™

    I love sharing books but I’m just so possessive with my collection it’s never going to be something I’m ok with I think :/

  46. I think you need to start a log of what you lend out. And I’d say no to the signed copies. Just nope. I think you could get borrowing copies of book though. There’s tons of online sites that have books really cheap, perfect for lending out and not worrying. Also have you ever thought about getting address labels with a “if lost” and your address, then sticking them in your book. That way if they do get lost, maybe someone could mail it back to you. Just an idea.
    Hope you figure it all out.

  47. A lot of the books I lend out are hardcovers, so I take off the dust jackets and keep them, 1) so they’re not damaged, and 2) it’s a really easy, visual way to check which books I have floating out there. I also should get some lending copies, but the only one I’ve really done that for is The Thief (I have three copies). And if I HAVE to lend out a signed copy, I make sure they know it’s a signed copy and to be EXTRA SPECIAL CAREFUL WITH IT.

  48. Your conundrum reminds me a lot of lending library books to people when they’re checked out to my card – like, I’M responsible for that book no matter what happens to it. I lose it? My problem. YOU lost it? Still my problem. (This is one of the reasons that I don’t let others borrow my library books anymore!)

    I’ve only ever lent books out to people a couple of times: my sister’s ex boyfriend (who lost the book but replaced it), a friend at work (who, like, your friends, got a PILE of books of which I didn’t really remember the titles but ultimately got them back to me), and my sister (who just takes titles but always returns them). I think that, if you’re in the habit of lending out books frequently, you should start some sort of lending system (perhaps a list or spreadsheet of titles, the person, and the date you gave them the book) so that, say, six months later, you can gently remind them (and yourself!) that they still have the book.

  49. I was once so sad because I couldn’t find my copy of Looking for Alaska, or The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, or The Time Traveller’s Wife … then YEARS later a friend returned them. I just figured I lent them out to someone I never talk to anymore and they were gone for good. I’m sure she thought I was crazy with the amount of happiness I was displaying when she brought them over! But yeah, since then, I rarely lend out books … especially not coveted signed ones!

  50. I’ll be real honest with you: I’m slightly OCD when it comes to how I keep track of the books I lend out. And there are CATEGORIES for them too! Like, for instance, I’m not averse to lending out ARCS, even signed ones. Those are fine by me, since I don’t mind what condition they’re in when they come back to me (as long as they come back to me). When it comes to finished copies though, I’m a whole lot more picky about who can borrow them from me. I like keeping my books in relatively good condition AND don’t want to lose them, so I only ever lend books out to people I trust. I used to make lists, but the easiest way for me to keep track now? I take a photo of the stack I’m lending out and just keep a file of it handy so I know who has what πŸ™‚

  51. I’ve always been ok with lending my books out, although it does make me sad when my books don’t come back for a while/come back a little more damaged than before. However, over the past few years, no one’s really borrowed books from me as a lot of my friends don’t read! HOWEVER, I do have one experience of book lending, which has taught me to never EVER lend a book to one of my Aunts again. When I was like 6/7, I bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in paperback and although I hadn’t read it, my parents had read it to me! So, one day my Auntie borrowed it, and I swear to God, I did not see that book for over 10 years. I lent it to her in 2001/2002 and literally got it only like 1/2 years ago. And do you want to know something? SHE NEVER EVEN READ IT. In fairness, she is an Air Hostess, BUT STILL.

    Oh god, just never again.

  52. Lena Marsteller says:

    In 6th grade( right when I was getting into reading) I lent a book that I really liked to my one of best friends at that time, and she never returned it to me. πŸ™
    I don’t usually lend out my copies of books. If anything I let my twin read my books (she understand my bookishness).
    I will also make sure if I got sent a book that I would keep the book in the same condition that I received it in. I don’t think I would ever lend out my signed copies (NEVER), just because they are so special to me.
    I think, from the previous comments, that taking a picture of person and the books that you lent them, is a good idea πŸ™‚


  1. […] they will be returned dog-eared and with broken spines? Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner thinks she made a terrible mistake by loaning out too many […]

  2. […] Jamie laments the issues with lending books. […]

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