To Loan or Not to Loan

TalkA Quieter LibraryThing

Join LibraryThing to post.

To Loan or Not to Loan

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

1LA12Hernandez
Jan 8, 2011, 6:44pm

I don't loan my books. Most of my life I have been a military dependent and all that moving makes it hard to keep track of books borrowed and loaned. So If I have a book you want to read I will either give you the book or buy you a copy. So I bought my friend a copy of a book I knew she wanted and then heard that she was angry about it. She just wanted to borrow it, not "Bring the stupid thing" into her house. I told her she could always give the book away once she had read it, and she just commented "I guess." I later found out that even when she borrows books she rarely gives them back in a timely manner and few of our mutual friends lend her books anymore.
Do you lend out your books?

2Mareofthesea
Jan 8, 2011, 7:15pm

It depends on who they are. There are a few people who take as good care of books as I do, so when they wish to borrow a book, I have no problem. There are others who I know read slowly, cause the spine to crack and crease, and return months later who I no longer lend books to.

My collection may be large, but the majority of my friends and co-workers do not share my reading tastes. It's helped slow down on the borrowing.

3southernbooklady
Jan 8, 2011, 7:30pm

Often. Sometimes they come back. Sometimes they don't. I don't tend to loan out the ones that mean something to me because they were signed, or given to me by a friend, or passed down from my grandfather. But otherwise, yeah.

4Quembel
Jan 8, 2011, 8:03pm

I lend books only to my siblings. They are unlikely to be offended when I ask for it back, and I know I won't be out of touch with them for long. If someone wants to borrow a book I have I will just get them a cheap second hand copy. No one has been annoyed as far as I know. I am just really bad at lending, too many times when the book, cd or dvd hasn't come back or has come back in terrible condition.

My mother also thinks that because there are so many of us (7 children) and we shared all toys etc we are very particular now about our things. Probably some truth in that too.

5mschweer432
Jan 8, 2011, 8:32pm

Please give me advice on this subject!! I have several coworkers who enjoy the same books as me. I freely loan whatever books are requested to whoever requests them. Until now, and only regarding ONE coworker. Originally, I was happy to loan her some to read. I've never minded loaning my books out and if the occasionaly book isn't returned, I just replace it. Upon receiving several books from me, she makes frequent comments about how good the condition is and how it's clear that I take care of them. She even commented that she didn't want to read a book that I haven't already read. I assured her that I had read them (some of them more than once!!) and that I hoped she enjoyed them.

Needless to say, they did NOT return in the same condition!! I decided to let it go, they were just books, but it's gotten worse!!! She has become very pushy about the types of books she gets, how often she gets them, and each time, my books come back in worse condition than they were sent! For example, a couple have been lost altogether, water has been spilled on several, the spines are all cracked, and food is ALWAYS on at least on of the bunch I loaned her. I have tried discreetly telling her that I am not a library and that I take care of my books because I enjoy re-reading them. She acts like I'm joking and just blows it off. Always with another request for more books!!

I'm not sure what to do!! How can I loan books to everyone in my office but one?? I keep telling myself they are just books, but my heart breaks a little each time :'(

Sorry this rambled on!! Looks like I needed to vent!! Thanks for allowing it.
Misty

6macsbrains
Jan 8, 2011, 8:59pm

I sometimes loan out books from my hoard, but I am very particular about who I lend to, and which books I allow to leave my dragon claws.

See, I was an only child growing up (my sister wasn't born till I was 16) and I notoriously REFUSED to ever share my things. With anyone. When I was very young, my mom tried to get me to share toys using this logic: "why should the other kids share their toys with you if you won't share with them?" And it totally backfired because I would reply, "They shouldn't, if they don't want to, and I don't expect them to." I understood not wanting to share and didn't hold it against them. Toys break, they get lost and slobbered on, and aagh! And while I knew I wouldn't break that other kid's toys, they didn't, so they had every reason to be wary!

As an adult I have not outgrown those impulses. Now I will mostly reluctantly loan books, but only to people who will care for them and be gentle and who know that if they give it back I expect it to be in the same condition I gave it. And as for getting books back at all? Well, since I am already selective of who I lend to, if I don't get it back, then they must have really loved it, and I am a big believer in a book belonging to the one who loves it most. I knowingly take that risk when I loan, hoping that the book and the reader will be very happy together.

I can't really fault other people for not returning good books to me since a parts of my own collection were 'loaned' to me indefinitely. I'll give my sister's books back when I borrow them, but sometimes it's painful to do so.

7macsbrains
Jan 8, 2011, 9:25pm

>5 mschweer432:

Oh, how awful :( It would make me stop loaning altogether. I'd say that it was costing me too much to repair and replace books that were not returned to me or returned in worse condition.

But I know I could get away with saying something like that because of my reputation regarding people touching my stuff.

8honeydew69862004
Jan 9, 2011, 2:06am

I don't have the problem of lending books because only one of my friends reads (that I know of). I've lent her a book before and then we got on the outs with eachother. I got my book back luckily because my son gave it to me on a mothers day. We're still not really talking which is a shame but a whole off the subject story on it's own. I feel very weary of lending things out because I'm not the best at returning them in a timely manner. I do try to return it in the condition that it was given to me. Plus I've lent things out before and I still haven't seen some of the things. I'd say about 1/4 of my cd collection when I was in high school got barrowed from me and never returned.

>5 mschweer432: I'd just be upfront with her saying that it's getting too expensive to keep replacing the books that she doesn't take care of.

9AnnieMod
Jan 9, 2011, 2:20am

If I give a book to someone, I expect that when I get it back, it will have some spine cracking, covers wear off and so on - not everyone is as careful with books as I usually am. Expecting it back in the same condition is a bit unreasonable, as much as I would love that.

But food/water stains? I have some on some of my books because I had been not careful or whatever. But these are mine. Borrowed books? If it ever happens, I will probably buy another book and return it.

There are some things that cannot control - nose bleeding for example - a few of my books have drops of blood on them - and if someone returns a book with something like that, I would not make a fuss (provided that they tell me and don't try to hide it and hope I won't see). In most cases even for food/water -as long as they let me know and they realise that it matters, I am fine. Someone that does not think it matters? They won't see any of my books any time soon.

10AngelaB86
Jan 9, 2011, 4:37am

I generally loan books to anyone who asks, but if my books come back damaged (beyond normal wear and tear), that person is crossed off the list. It shows a shocking lack of regard for other people when you destroy something they trusted you with. And laughing about it as well? Mschweer432, if I were you, I would have no problem telling her that her behavior is beyond the pale, and until she learns better manners she's cut off from the free books.

11LA12Hernandez
Jan 9, 2011, 2:47pm

>5 mschweer432:
It's so nice of you to be concerned about her feelings since it is obvious that she could care less about yours. You may view her as a friend but I don't see how you can think she sees you as one since she is showing you no respect. If she asks to borrow a book just say no. No explanation is required, but if she pushes for one simply tell her that you can not afford to buy another one if that one is damaged. Remember you own the book and she has no right to it. YOU decide who to loan your books to not her.

12pre20cenbooks
Jan 10, 2011, 5:34am

not...and hope the book someone wants to borrow is at the pub library. The condition of my books range from very good to excellent and I hope to pass collection down to one of my neices or nephews or my son.

13_debbie_
Jan 10, 2011, 7:16am

About 4 years ago we started a book club at work. It's blossomed into an office full of readers who swap books (book club and other) around like crazy. In the beginning I tried to keep a list going of who had which book. I realized quickly I couldn't keep up, so now I just loan them out and hope for the best. I don't typically loan out books that I care about getting back though, except to those people that I know take care of books and return them in a reasonable time frame.

I did once borrow a book from a co-worker and I had the worst luck with everything happening to that book. Normally my books are pristine, but this one ended up with water and food splashes and a tear. I went and bought her a new one and she professed that I shouldn't have (but I still would again if I had it to do over). I have had one person damage a hardback book significantly, but I didn't care. She offered to replace it, and I told her not to and meant it. So I guess the moral of the story is each reader is different in how they feel about books and how they view borrowing, but I would not continue to loan out books to someone who so disrespected me or the books (RE: #5).

14gordon361
Jan 10, 2011, 2:52pm

I have mostly non fiction and literature. My wife puts up with my book buying only because she is an English teacher and buys books for her classroom library, she is not thrilled by the space my books take up in the house. So I'm actually thrilled when someone wants to borrow from me, it justifies my collection. My wife just recently used some of my books as reference for a paper she was writing (smell the irony!) I buy most of my books used so I don't sweat too much the possibility of additional wear.

15mellymel171328
Jan 12, 2011, 1:15pm

I never liked using the library or borrow from friends because I often take too long to finish it. So I tend to have to own the book to read it, and I don't like lending because I don't want my books to not come back.

16Clurb
Jan 19, 2011, 6:02am

The way I found to curb my anxiety about loaning out books is to simply not loan the ones I care about, and let go of absolutely everything else.

A few years ago I ended up giving away the vast majority of my library owing to a house move and rapidly dwindling space. I took it as an opportunity to start looking at my books objectively and it turned out to be a wonderfully cathartic experience. I realised that I was clinging on to things that I had no emotional attachment to for the simple reason that they were books. I've tried to keep up with the cleansing by letting go of books as quickly as I can after I've read them. The biggest change I've made is to use library books where I can, and only buy new copies when I can't get a book any other way, or when I've read the book, loved it, and want a copy to keep and reread. Then I can take all the time I want to shelve, stroke, and love them.

17mlnelson01
Edited: Jan 19, 2011, 7:24am

I didn't lend out books for years, after a classmate in middle school borrowed a book, didn't return it, lied and said he had returned it when I asked for it, then very vocally called me a liar for asking him about it. That was 35 years ago - think it was traumatic? :)

>1 LA12Hernandez:, your friend has a problem with politely receiving gifts. She was rude and unfeeling, and rejected your gift outright. Regardless of whether the gift is a book or anything else, that's unacceptable behavior and not an appropriate way to treat a friend.

>5 mschweer432: in your position I would stop lending to the one person and tell the person why, but brook no discussion of it - it's totally your decision to make. Borrowing books from you is a privilege, not a right, and you have every right to withdraw borrowing privileges for cause or not. If that creates an issue, stop lending to everyone, and tell them all why - that one person is not respecting your property and it has led to your decision to stop lending altogether. You can even name the person if you want and let peer pressure work for you.

>13 _debbie_: like you, if I damage a borrowed book (or any borrowed item) I replace it.

I was raised that you treat other people's property better than you treat your own. Borrowed items must be returned in the condition you received them, unless something else is agreed in advance. Anything else shows disrespect to the giver. Not disrespect to the borrowed item, but to the person who gave it.

I know others do not hold to this standard, but obviously from the above, I have little patience for those who don't. So I very rarely lend out books. When I do, I accept going in that I may never get it back, or I may get it back abused, and don't lend it unless that's ok with me.

I also never lend money unless I'm totally ok if I never get it back. Again, something I do incredibly rarely.

18bohemima
Jan 31, 2011, 2:58pm

Thorny question for some people.

>5 mschweer432:: "I'm sorry, I don't have any books to lend you." Repeat until nagging stops. It can be hard in a work situation, but that sentence is non-offensive and clear. If she(?) stops speaking to you or raises Cain, it won't be you who looks awkward.

As for lending out books, it depends. I give lots and lots of books away. I would lend only to a very small group of friends--most of them here on LT--who seem trustworthy. If a book goes missing, it's a lesson learned for me, and sometimes a painful one.

I lent a treasured copy of a book to a coworker; never saw it again. Never loaned him a book again either.

I lent a first edition of a book, known by the borrower--a very close relative--to be treasured by myself, never saw it again despite repeated requests. Never loaned her another book. Gave her several, but not anything I wanted back.

I try to be scrupulous about books I borrow, replacing any that I may have accidentally damaged. People are sensitive about their books, and I think others should respect that, or buy their own.

19Thrin
Feb 5, 2011, 5:00pm

I keep on lending... I keep on losing.

20LisaStens
Feb 5, 2011, 6:17pm

The only person I'll loan books to is my mom because I know I'll get it back and I know she'll take good care of it. I have been known to buy my friends books if I feel really strongly about a recommendation but don't want to potentially give up my copy. Of course there are those books I don't mind losing, those are easy to loan out.

21jjmcgaffey
Feb 6, 2011, 6:49pm

I have a lot of my favorite books in intentional duplicate, so I can loan them out without losing them.

22anglemark
Feb 9, 2011, 4:11am

We lend if people ask and I guess we always have a few books out somewhere. Some of them are never returned, but so far we have always managed to find a new copy in those cases. And to be honest, we have a few thousand books, so if we lose a couple a year it's no biggie.

We're cuplrits, too, we have a stack with borrowed books, some of which we've had for years and been too lazy to return, so I guess it all evens out.

23Tess_W
Feb 12, 2011, 3:14am

All paperbacks are lenders with the idea that I won't get them back, nor necessarily do I want them back. My collectible hardbacks go nowhere--they dont' leave my house. Other hardbacks loaned to dearest friends and never lost one yet.

24pre20cenbooks
Mar 31, 2011, 3:21pm

Did I tell you all that my neighbor was dying for Centiennial by James Michener...practically foaming at the mouth for this deceased author....so I search high and low for a cheap good quality first ed and could not find, so I sacrificed as she is a senior andn such a good neighbor and I do not feel the withdrawal for having done it and am proud of me...no regrets! There is a first ed out there for me...a while back I found three first of Michener at the Goodwill one block away, but did not have the funds...needless to say I am working on collecting his complete works as a hobby.

252wonderY
Mar 31, 2011, 4:24pm

I'm with jjmcgaffey - if it's a book or a DVD that I want to pass around, I'll purchase another copy.
Yes, I've been burned too. In fact I just recovered two books that the borrower denied having. When I took them off her shelf, my name was clearly written inside. No more priviledges for her.

My sister, bless her, will gather up piles of books I've lent her about once a decade and return forgotten treasures.

261dragones
Mar 31, 2011, 5:20pm

Previously, I loaned my books to anyone who asked -politely. But whether from friends or family, most requests were more polite than the way they treated my books... Too many times the books were returned very much late (2.5 years after the fact, in one case, and that, from a family member!) or in worse condition than when I had lent the book; (One person wrote phone numbers on the back cover of my book, as if it were a scratch pad), or not at all...

When inquiring about one of the books that was not returned to me, the person said that she had loaned it to someone else and did not remember who!

So now, I lend books only to my mother-in-law. She respects my books and they come back to me - normally within a week or two, certainly no more than a month later - in substantially the same condition as when I loaned them to her. And she's only 5 minutes away from me. As for anyone else... I may give books I do not expect to be returned, but positively won't loan them. I've learned my lesson.

I don't borrow books as a rule, not even from the public library. I just take too long with some books, and making arrangements for timely returning those I would borrow is far too much hassle.

5. Don't feel guilty about cutting off that one co-worker - or all of them from borrowing your books. Lack of respect of other people's property is a serious breach of manners. She needs to be told that's what she's doing... and do speak the name of the bad apple to the others if you choose to stop loaning to all. Peer pressure works wonders.

I would tell that one co-worker that if she can't read books without trashing them the way she does, then she needs to buy - not borrow - the books she wants to read. Or get her own copy from Bookmooch. Regardless of what you choose to do about loaning to other co-workers... that one needs to find out that she's no longer welcome to borrow books from you.

27SunnySD
Mar 31, 2011, 6:41pm

I have a friend who insists on loaning me books. Usually with the caveat that she "needs them back in excellent condition" so that she can trade them.

I'm careful with my own books, let alone someone else's, but whenever I'm reading something she's lent me I feel jinxed. I just know I'm going to drop it, one of the cat's is going to yak on it, a meteor is going to hit it....

On the flip side, anymore I never lend a book I'm not willing to see disappear - too many of them have disappeared never to be returned. I don't feel guilty about it, either. After all, I paid for them! :)

281Owlette
Mar 31, 2011, 6:45pm

As above -- I would be reluctant to lend a book that I wanted to keep, but would be very happy to lend one I've read and am not bothered about keeping. I'd be pleased that someone else might go on to read it.

Lending books: a good way of clearing shelf-space without any fear that the book will come back...

29SunnySD
Mar 31, 2011, 6:49pm

@28 Lending books: a good way of clearing shelf-space without any fear that the book will come back...

So true!

Join to post