Thursday, March 07, 2013

Book Borrowing Etiquette.

Over the years I've become a bit of a book hoarder. I used to be all footloose and fancy free with my books, lending them out to anyone who expressed interest in a title that I had. But, as a result, I lost track of a lot of books and they were never returned to me. Or, they were returned to me in poor repair. One person fully dropped my HARDCOVER in her bathtub, and then nonchalantly handed it back to me, like, no big deal. Your book is just totally ruined. Who cares.

This is why we can't have nice things!

So now I hold my books pretty close. There are only a select few people that I lend books to, in fact, there are five. In the whole world.

Recently, I took a leap of faith and lent a collection of Robert Munsch stories to a sixth person. And, wouldn't you know, he wrecked the book. Alright, he didn't wreck it, exactly, but it got wet and some of the pages were torn.

Listen, I'm not a crazy person. I know that books are just things and people are much more important yadda yadda. But, I'm not going to lie, it makes my heart hurt to look at the book. As I tried to dry it in my office, things admittedly got a little dramatic:

Courage, though, because this story has a happy ending. After the book got wet, the borrower contacted me to tell me. He apologized for damaging it, and offered to buy me a new copy. After all of the books I've lent out and gotten back ruined - or never gotten back at all - this was the first time someone has ever demonstrated some level of book borrowing etiquette. And so, even though I am sad about my book, I'm glad to know that I lent my book to a good-hearted soul. And maybe I'll even let him borrow another book someday (read: of course I won't.).

What do you think are the book borrowing etiquette essentials? The dos and donts when it comes to lending and borrowing?

P.S. Maybe I should get a card catalogue and start asking people to sign out my books...

(Image via)


  1. I need to acquire a card catalogue. But first we need to buy a new house to find space for it!

  2. I lent my favourite book to a cousin-in-law once, and then she let her 3 sisters borrow it. I think all of them took it to the beach, built sandcastles with it, went swimming with it, and took it out for cocktails. They handed it back to me like I gave it to them that way. I was horrified. I haven't been able to look at it again. Poor little book.

    1. I'm just stunned at the gall people have sometimes. I would be mortified if I ruined someone's book! Hoarding: it's the only way.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.