Book Chat :: Do you lend your books?

Hey everyone!

From time to time, I’d like to pick your brains on different topics that I think interest and affect all book lovers. Today, I’m really curious to know from you all: Do you lend your books to others?

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Image via EpicReads

Let’s chat, shall we?

There have been times when friends have NOT returned the books I lent them. To this day, one of my best friends still has one of my favorite books in her possession (I gave it to her back in 2009 and I eventually had to stop asking for the book back, since she didn’t seem to know where she put it -_-). Other friends who eventually returned books I lent, brought them back with either oil smudges on the pages, discombobulated book spines or limp-looking, torn paperback covers – basically, damaged books.

I feel very connected to the (physical) books I own – am I alone here? I’ve connected with various characters, places and incidents from the books I read. Some of my books have notes I jotted down on the pages, some passages are underlined and some pages are marked for future referencing and whatnot. So right now, I do not like to lend my books to anyone anymore (well, I do share my books with my Mom. She’s an original book lover, so she respects books! And I usually read her books, so its only fair to share mine too haha).

I’m learning to say ‘no’ to lending my books. But it’s not easy to say no – I don’t want a friend or family member to feel offended or think I’m being selfish for not wanting to lend them. Books shouldn’t be the cause of sour relations between individuals… but honestly, after all the bad experiences I’ve had with lending, I’d rather purchase the book of interest for a friend, instead of loaning my copy.

How about you all:

Do you let people borrow your books? Are you attached to the physical books you own? Have you had similar instances where loved ones misplace or ‘abuse’ your cherished books? How would you tell others that you don’t usually lend out your books?

I’d love to hear your opinions, experiences and tips on your book lending policy!


By the way, I’m currently (slowly) reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest novel: In Other Words. It’s very passionate thus far!

I also attended a book reading for Elnathan John last weekend (he was shortlisted twice for the Caine Prize) and I purchased his debut novel – Born On A Tuesday, as well as Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore which I spotted at the bookstore where the reading was being held (Vidya Bookstore; Accra). I hope to enjoy them during summer break!

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Image via my Instagram: @AwoDeee

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49 thoughts on “Book Chat :: Do you lend your books?

  1. I have loaned books in the past and really should learn not to do it because in every case I never got them returned. and as you say after a while you stop asking for them because its just embarrassing (for me that it is – my friend never seems to be as embarrassed

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do lend my books, and I actually give them away as often as I can. I don’t like a lot of clutter so that might have something to do with it, and plus the more books I give away, the more I get!

    Also, your “No.” is a complete sentence and not offensive, lol. Your loved ones will deal.

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dominique! Thanks! You’re right – the more you give away, the more space you’ll have to acquire some more. *sigh*. So I’m guessing you give away for others to keep? But do you give away your ultimate faves? 😦
      Thanks for passing by!

      Like

  3. I completely understand Darkowaa. I’ve had bad experiences from lending books but sometimes I really want them to read the book and so I lend it. Whether I lend or not depends on the person and the situation. It’s hard to build a library if your books keep getting missing and I’m always attached to the paper copy I read with all its marking and stickies and so I’d rather not replace my copy. Life’s full of tough choices lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Osondu! Ask again ohhh- how am I supposed to build my personal library if people keep on losing my books?! smh. But true – lending depends on the person and the situation at hand. Some people are more responsible than others I guess. *sigh*.
      Thanks for stopping by, Osondu!

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  4. I’ve learned to treat a book loan like loaning money. I don’t give it out if I expect to see it again. Then they are no hard feelings if I never see the book again. I “loaned” a signed (to me), first edition book to a bestie and never saw it again. It wasn’t as important to her as it was to me. Learned that lesson. Classifying my books as a gift means it’s great if it comes back to me but no sweat if it doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great lending policy, Glenyse! So I take it that you don’t give away your favorites? How do you tell others you don’t give out a book that’s your favorite if they really want to borrow it?
      (by the way, I LOVE your drawings and watercolor paintings on your website! So so lovely :))

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      • Darkowaa, *blushing profusely* thank you so much for the compliment (I hope to design a book cover in the future.

        As Dominique stated so eloquently, no is a complete sentence. And also what you said works perfectly also “it’s my favorite and I can’t lend it you.” I’ve got books, for instance “The Art of Pinup” a couple of Kehinde Wiley books that I enjoy immensely. Come visit me to see them, I’ll be your library. But “no” they cannot be lent out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you design a book cover in the future too! Such lovely art work. And I really appreciate your suggestions/diplomatic ways to saying no. Inviting a friend over to read the book is way better than lending. Thank you!! 🙂

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  5. I used to feel attached to my books, but didn’t like that feeling of unfulfilled expectation when they weren’t returned and so I decided to do something about it – to change my attitude – so when I lent a book to someone – because of course its always the GREAT books you want others to read – I would tell myself that it was a gift and I was giving it to them. I didn’t say that to the person, I said that to myself, so then the expectation is that you won’t get it back, and so then on the occasion a book does come back to you – oh joy! You can give it away all over again. I told myself to stop freaking out about my favourite book and go buy another copy – I’ve done that about 5 times now and with great pleasure, because its the book I always want to lend out!!

    Now that I blog about the books I read, I have even less reason to hold onto them, seriously I might go back occasionally to a book, but mostly once read, they just get dusted every once in a while and won’t be read again unless I do share them. I no longer suffer over books and it feels much better this way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Claire! I truly admire your mature approach to this whole book lending thing. Like you said, it’s all about your attitude. I guess you can always buy a book again if it wasn’t returned…even though you’re spending extra money *sigh*. You made a valid point about the effect of book blogging- once you finish reading the book and writing a post about it, you hardly pick it up again- unless it’s a real favorite…. hmm. Your response has given me a lot to think about! Thanks so much for sharing your stance on this issue, Claire! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I give away about half of the books I buy after I’ve read them. Preferably, I give them to someone who expresses an interest in reading them, or take them to Amnesty’s charity bookshop in Hammersmith. The criterion for keeping a book is, do I feel I want to read it again/need it for reference? If I keep a book, I will not lend it, although like you I happily allow my mum (and dad in theory but he doesn’t read books) to read them, because I trust her to keep them clean and because they live at her house (i only have one shelf for books where I live at the moment).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Zanna! It’s awesome that you give some of your books away to charity. So I’m assuming all the books in your collection are books you’ve enjoyed and plan on re-reading. Making room for new books by giving some away is smart. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a small collection of books that I treasure – books from my childhood, author-signed copies. It takes a lot for a book to be moved from the ‘read’ to the ‘permanent collection’ shelf. I don’t lend from the permanent collection. I do lend from the read stack and, depending on the book, say to people that I don’t expect it back and they can pass it on to someone else – share the love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Kate! I like the idea of having a ‘read’ shelf and a ‘permanent collection’ shelf! Lending books from the ‘read’ shelf and urging the person borrowing to pass it on after is genius. This makes me want to classify my books a little more seriously. Thanks for your input and for stopping by, Kate. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am good at choosing books I will like so my books are mostly like photos in an album, they are precious reminders of good times I’ve had and I am very loath to part with them. (I have my own library at home so it’s clear to all my friends how much my books mean to me).
    I have only very rarely lent these books (and never the first editions) and the borrower was in no doubt that it would have been the end of a beautiful friendship if the books had not been returned nice and promptly and in the same pristine condition that they left my house. I think that if you don’t make it very clear what your expectations are, then the friend can’t really be blamed for putting a different value on the book that you are lending. IMO You owe it to your friend and to the book and to yourself to be absolutely upfront about the conditions of the loan.
    But some books are forgettable even if enjoyable to read at the time, and they go into a pile for a friend of mine who’s a keen reader. She takes the ones she wants and I send the rest to a charity shop. That works out nicely for both of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, books are precious reminders of good times and memories!!
      You are right – telling borrowers exactly what your expectations are is KEY! I tend to leave that out, for fear of being too bossy/demanding, but it seems necessary, so that the borrower knows how to care for the book and ultimately return it. Being upfront about expectations and conditions of the loan is absolutely necessary – thanks for the reminder, Lisa!
      Giving books to charity is such a noble act. Other people who have commented on this post also give books they don’t wish to keep to charity, and I think that is something I’d be willing to do too. I love all these tips and suggestions. Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. At the moment one of my favorite books is in the possession of a supposed fast reader and last I checked she hadn’t finished chapter one. Then again I borrow books myself but I take care f them best I can 😇😇😇

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I feel you. I don’t lend books as well. I’ll either buy someone a copy if I feel strongly that they should read it or send them a link to where to get it. I’ve never gotten a book back. I have books of mine that are all over the world since I had a lot of friends from other countries while we were studying abroad together. Even close friends to whom I’ve lent books before don’t return them and I’ve had to ask for them back or invent an excuse (like taking pictures for the blog) to get them back which is really sad. I get completely jumpy when I have someone else’s book and read it as fast as possible (usually 2-3 days at most) and return it immediately. Why don’t other people feel the same?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ME too! I like to read books that don’t belong to me super fast so I can return them without any drama. *sigh* You’ve asked the million dollar question – ‘why don’t other people feel the same?’ I ask myself this all the time when I find myself getting frustrated haha. #BookLoverProblems.
      Thanks for stopping by Filomena!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Melanie! You’re so right- encouraging others to BUY books from small press publishers definitely helps the author/press instead of them borrowing -_-. Such a valid point!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh…No. No, no, no. No lending of my books to others unless the person lives in my house and knows not to leave the premises with it. I’m starting to learn to say No too and not feel guilty about it.

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  12. I recommend books more than I lend them. I’m such a heavy annotator and private person that I don’t want people reading what I write in my margins lol

    Liked by 2 people

  13. ….As if you need more comments on this post that touches a nerve! -but I’m reading it late. I no longer loan copies of books that I cherish. I either give books away or I buy new copies of books I highly recommend to give away. I’ve had folks steal, damage, and “lose” first editions and personally-signed copies of books that I love and just thinking about it makes me grit my teeth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terrible! *sigh* You’re not alone here! So many people have had similar experiences, unfortunately. I agree, I just buy new copies for books I highly recommend for people. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie! x

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I definitely don’t offer to lend anyone my books, but if someone asks, I might consider it if they’re genuinely interested. I really would love to discuss a book with someone outside the internet..hah!
    I have so many books in my home library that I won’t miss the one I lend, as long as it is returned in a timely fashion.

    If I want people I care about to read a book I loved, I prefer to buy them their own copy of the book. People really appreciate this and are more likely to read your book.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I would rather buy that person a copy than lend them my books. Each book I own has a story behind. They are of sentimental value and besides each book I own is a step closer to owning the massive library I dream of having one day :). -Lee.

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  16. Haha, this is an interesting question. I too feel attached to my hard copy books, so now I don’t lend books to friends anymore because I have a few books out that weren’t returned. With my family (nieces and nephews), they are free to read and lend books that I left home (only if sure they’ll be retuned) – so far, so good.

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  17. Joining the conversation super late but just had to comment, this is a matter very close to my heart.

    I never lend my books to anyone except my mother and even she has been coached to treat my books with absolute care, not mess with them and never ever loan them out or give them away (she did that once, I still have not fully forgiven her lol). I am entirely too sensitive about my precious books. In fact in one of the squares of my beloved book case I have a framed sign that says “No you may not borrow. Don’t you dare steal”. My books are my babies and over the years I have collected absolute gems and the thought of being parted from them gives me heart palpitations.

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    • Hi Rukudzo! This comment is the EPITOME of how I feel about my books! People just don’t understand the attachment book lovers have with the books they collect. Its part of our well-being, why lose it to careless hands? Thanks so much for the comment and for passing by 🙂

      Like

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