Lending Books, Not My Thing

Now that it’s spring, I have been spending time outside on morning walks (not every morning because of rain, sleep, or laziness), and I have gotten back into podcasts. There are several I listen to regularly, but since I’m all caught up on recent episodes I started looking for other podcasts. I scrolled through the popular podcasts in the app and I found Dear Book Nerd a Book Riot podcast that started as an article.

This morning, while driving to work, I was listening to episode #6: The Risky Business of Lending Books and they were talking about something that really burns my chaps.

I used to lend books, before Harry Potter. It was super easy because I didn’t care about my books as much. Then I lent a family member one of my Lord of the Rings books which ended up with a juice stain covering a corner of the whole book. Did I let that discourage me from being generous with my books? No. I let that same family member borrow some of my Harry Potter books. My treasures. Even I washed my hands before touching the pristine pages of these books, and when they were returned to me, one of them had black dusty-byproduct from a factory all around the outside and black fingerprints on the pages. Did that get me down? No.

I’ve lent out books to friends, family, even my former boss. Those books sat around collecting dust without being opened. I would watch and wait for the borrower to read the book and return it, but that didn’t happen. It bugs me when things are borrowed for longer than a few months. I like when things are done in a timely manner. When I borrow books, I try to read them right away. If I haven’t read it in a few weeks and have lost interest in the book then I return it. My books, though, disappear. People forget they were borrowed, who owns them, and all that. Then I’ve lost my book. Lost one of my treasures.

So, instead of lending out from my collection, I make recommendations and direct people to where the book can be purchased or I make gifts of books I think people should read. Here’s a small confession: I have even switched out a book I lent to someone for a  cheaper copy I got off Amazon because the copy they borrowed had been a gift to me and had borrowed it for over a year. I didn’t want to offend the borrower or bug them by asking for it back, so I made the switch while they weren’t looking. It somehow made me feel so much better having my original copy back and I no longer look at that person’s stack of borrowed books with an uneasy Gollum feeling.

I can’t be the only person out there who is protective of a book collection. Obviously, since there was a whole episode about lending books on Dear Book Nerd, but are there any others out there with the same level of intensity? Please confess some of your strange book habits down in the comments? I really want to know.

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