Way back when I first started blogging I’d written a Random Thoughts post listing “Ten Reasons Not to Lend.” I shared my horror stories of ten books I’d lent that met with great misfortune, which caused a permanent fear of lending in me.
I am someone who is very particular about my books. I don’t break spines, I don’t eat while reading. I remove the dust jacket on my hardcovers. I wash my hands before even picking up my current read. I never, ever, leave it open and face down to hold my place. And I don’t just use any bookmark to keep my spot in case that gum wrapper, receipt, ticket stub or other placeholder leaves a mark.
But in addition to losing a favorite book, finding out it has been left in less than sanitary places or being used as a pillow, there are a few other reasons why it might not be the best idea to lend out a book from your collection.
And so here are seven more reasons why I hesitate before agreeing to lend.
7. Dog Ears are for Dogs.
Whenever I see a book that has been dog-eared I die a little on the inside. I know for some it is a sign that the book is a well-loved book, but for me it’s criminal. Bookmarks were made for a reason.
Aside from the fact that most dog-earers don’t create perfectly matched dog-ears in their book, which brings out a whole other compulsive issue I suffer from, a book can’t recover from such a heinous act. Even straightening a bent page will never return a book to its original state. A dog-eared book to me is a ruined book.
Which is why it drives me absolutely batty when a book I’ve lent returns with bent pages. Or even worse, straightened pages that had once been dog-eared.
6. Finger Lickin’ Good.
Not all pages turn easily. I get that. It frustrates me to no end when I think I might end up wrinkling a page when it won’t turn to the next quickly enough. And I know, for some, it is an unconscious act when they lick their finger to get that next page to turn. Especially when they’re so caught up in the story.
But I love my pristine books. I don’t want my saliva coating the page corners. I certainly don’t want someone else’s, no matter how much I might adore them. And I definitely don’t want any saliva that may have remnants of the borrower’s snack or coffee beverage left behind.
As it’s not cool to ask friends or family if they happen to be finger lickers, I imagine the worst and opt to give the book away versus ever having it returned.
5. The Re-lender.
Sometimes a book is just so good that the person you lend the book to wants to share that book with others. Many times they do this on the sly. And while they may be willing to abide by all of your rules and quirks for how a book is to be treated, they may not pass on that message to their friends.
In those instances you’re lucky if you ever see the book again. But if, perchance, you do, the likelihood of it coming back without it requiring you to wear a Hazmat suit is slim. Very, very slim.
4. The Coffee Table Book.
It’s common practice to leave a book on one’s coffee table when reading, or when finished. But a book left in such a highly trafficked place is all but doomed. When you lend a book to someone who has a strict policy about not putting glasses or dishes on their coffee table, the book is the most likely choice on which to set something down if a coaster or placemat is not available.
Many a book has returned with a coffee ring, cup sweat ring, or warped from the heat of a hot dish all because it was left on a coffee table.
3. All in the Family.
I adore my friends whose households are filled with family. I really do. But lending a book to someone in a household with young children is all but begging for that book to be destroyed.
Small children do not have the understanding or capability most times to treat a book as it should be treated. Sticky fingers, grabby hands, accidental spills, hide and seek all bode poorly for a book left within reach.
As much as I’d love to lend a book to a friend looking to escape said crowded house, I just can’t bring myself to do so knowing that my book may get swept up in the tornado that is their daily life.
2. Bedtime Stories.
Most of my reading is done late at night or very early in the morning. I love to read in bed. Well, with my Kindle, anyway. I’m terrified when I read a physical book in bed. I have fallen asleep and woken up atop my Kindle or Nook. I could never forgive myself for mistreating a print book in such a manner.
And while I have that same fear about lending books to friends who are bedtime readers, that’s not my biggest hesitation when lending to this type of reader. It’s been known that some readers like to set books down on their chest to pause briefly to converse with their spouse or significant other while in bed. Heck, my mother was one such reader.
But it’s also come to my attention that some readers like to sleep in the nude. Putting two and two together, plus the idea that the book may spend all night in bed tumbling around with said friend, makes me more than wary about the idea of my book spending the night away from me.
1. After Dark Reads.
While I’m not currently a big reader of steamy, sexy romance and I don’t typically pick books up of a more erotic nature, I’m not too keen on the idea of lending out any book that makes me blush.
I am not one to judge what turns someone on or what they opt to do when that happens. Most of the time I really don’t want to know. I’m sure many of my friends feel the same. (I, for one, am not nosy enough to browse through someone’s Kindle library for that very reason. I’d hate to discover that my co-worker, friend, relative was into sexy stories about Bigfoot, for example. I’d never be able to look at them the same.)
Just the thought that someone might be using my book to achieve a goal makes me cringe. The thought that they might continue to keep turning those pages after turns that cringe into a shudder.
On that note…
So, those are seven other reasons why I don’t opt to lend out books. I used to lend books fairly regularly and got burned almost every single time. Nowadays, once a book leaves my hands I don’t want to see it again. I have a hard enough time reading borrowed books as my imagination goes wild as to what the book has already been through in its short life. Especially the library book.
And while I could have included ten reasons on this list, versus the seven I opted to share, as I’ve only had one or two books returned with writing or erase marks in the margins, I didn’t include notetakers on my list. And as it’s been years since a lent book was used for a game of catch, a game of frisbee, a game of monkey in the middle/keep away, I wasn’t sure it was relevant anymore.
Of course I could have listed the fact that even when I get back a book in what seems to be the condition in which it was lent, I typically give it away and buy myself a fresh copy. But that would have made me look weird.
What about you?
What horror stories do you have about books that you’ve lent? Or has every lending experience been fab?
Do you have any paranoia/fear about what’s going on with your book when its away from you like I do? Do you imagine the worst about its treatment? Or are you a worry-free lender?
Do you have any reasons not to lend? I’d love to know!