Five Awful Things That Can Happen When You Lend People Your Books

5 awful things that can happen when you lend your books

1. They dog-ear the pages.

If you dog-ear your own book, that’s fine,  Do whatever you want with your own property!  Read however makes you happy!  But no one should crease the pages of books they don’t actually own!

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2. They crease the spine.

If you work at keeping your own books pristine, nothing is more irritating than getting a book that you lent out looking brand-new come back looking as if it’s been read by five generations of schoolchildren with creases all over the spine and bends in the cover.  Have people no shame???

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3. They get water or other substances on the pages.

Drinking or eating while reading a book can be dangerous business. Just ask anyone who’s accidentally gotten a chocolate smear on a page or dropped crumbs so deep in the binding they were impossible to get out. (That person, uh, is not me.)  But reading a book while taking a bath or running in the rain is even more dangerous and damaging!  Someone once literally returned a book to my co-blogger they had dropped into a puddle.

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4, They lose the book entirely.

Who does this???  And did they lost it, or just kind of “forget” they had someone else’s book?

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5, They Do Not offer to Replace any Lost or Damaged Books

An interesting amount of people see books as “just” books, items that are essentially one-time use and then disposable.  Yes, there’s an argument to be made that the value is the words, and if you can read them, that’s the point of the book.  But these people seem not to realize that books can be expensive (seriously, adult hardcovers are going for $35 USD) or that some readers put time into tracking down specific editions or getting books signed.  If you damage or lose a book, replace it! Don’t act as if ruining someone’s property is no big deal!

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BUT: One Good Thing That Can Result

Someone loves the book as much as you do, and you can now bond over its amazingness and convince them to read everything else that author has written. Win!


35 thoughts on “Five Awful Things That Can Happen When You Lend People Your Books

  1. Kelly Brigid says:

    All of these are such terrible fears of mine when I lend people books! It is true that it can be so lovely when they adore the book as much as you do though! Sometimes it’s worth the risk. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nualacharlie says:

    I tend to give away books rather than lend them. I am not that much of a book hoarder these days, I guess I have moved house too many times over the years to keep books that I am unlikely to re-read as books are really HEAVY.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ashley says:

    I’m lucky that I’ve never been asked by anyone to borrow a book, there are a few that I wouldn’t even lend them of I was asked. I’ve seen library books dog-eared and it makes me cringe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Claire says:

    I had a friend in high school that no-one would lend books to because they came back shredded.

    I accidentally got melon juice all over a book I was lent last year, when my tupperware in my bag turned out not to be watertight. However, I was actually interning at the publisher who published the book, so I was able to replace it with a hardcover edition, AND get her copies of all the other books in the series too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Book Admirer says:

    All these things infuriate me and I have since stopped lending books to people. I only lend out copies that I don’t care about or if I know the person has as much respect for books as I do. And only then, I basically make them swear on their life to respect the book and return it as they got it. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mae Crowe says:

    Ohhhh man, I lent my copy of Fahrenheit 451 to a classmate toward the beginning of my senior year of high school because she was into old dystopia and needed more AP points to meet our English class’s requirements. Then she proceeded to never give it back. I asked, and she’d always say “tomorrow.” I eventually had to go through her brother and got it back ON GRADUATION DAY.

    Now when I lend people books, I ask that they lend me a book in return. That way, they’re more likely to give mine back in a timely fashion and we both get to experience something new.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CaffeinatedBookOwl says:

    I had a friend “borrow” a book from my shelf without telling me. She spilled coffee on it, dog eared the pages, and basically ruin it completely. Then had the audacity to get upset when I demanded she pay to replace it. 🙄🙄 I still loan out books (just not to her) but now I always take a picture of the book before hand so I know the condition and date I loaned it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. PerfectlyTolerable says:

    Haha I do most of these to my own books so I have no fears when lending books. But I would hate to upset someone by messing up their book so I am always hesitant to borrow them! (Tho when I do I take extra special care to keep it in the exact same condition it was when they gave it to me!)


  9. foreverlostinlit says:

    This was like a list of my biggest fears! :O I pretty much just don’t lend out books (which isn’t hard because most of the people I’m close to don’t read, haha), but if I want someone to read a book, I’ll try to just buy it for them or encourage a library visit. 😉


  10. Olga Polomoshnova says:

    I’m very possessive in this respect, so I never lend books to anyone. If someone becomes interested in a book I’ve read, I just urge them to get their own copy, with the encouragement spiced up with a couple of comments about how great the book in question is 🙂 I love and value my books, I treat them carefully, so I don’t entrust them to anyone.


  11. spicejac says:

    Working in a range of libraries, it is the patrons who come in with the damaged book, and ask if they can replace it, who win my respect. Those who just shove the book through the chute and hope we won’t notice that their dog has eaten half the book however do not escape having to pay for a replacement. I think sharing books are so important – especially amongst people who can’t afford to buy a book. Encouraging folks to borrow a copy from the library works……


    • Krysta says:

      Haha! I remember overhearing two moms complaining that they were always being charged for books they didn’t damage. And I thought, “Hm, I borrow tons of books here and not once in my entire life have I been charged. Maybe you are being charged because…it’s you?” After all, their kids or spouse might have ripped a page or spilled something and not thought to mention it. I just think it’s unlikely that you’d be constantly charged for books and you had nothing to do with it. Maybe there could be a random occurrence, but not all the time.

      Also, people have vastly different ideas of what counts as a damaged book. Go to any college bookstore and you will find students offering up water damaged and coffee-soaked books for resale because they honestly don’t understand hat a book like that can’t be sold to someone. And that’s been my trouble with lending out books. I keep my books so pristine I have had people think I never cracked open books I’ve had for years and read multiple times. Then I’ll lend it out and it will come back with a cracked spine and bent out shape and the person doesn’t understand why I’m silently screaming inside–because, to them, that’s a perfectly fine way for a book to look.


      • spicejac says:

        I hear you, I’m now in the stage of life where I’m trying to give my books to homes, so I’ll give them away rather than lend them. So I’ll give my read only once books away to schools, and friends, rather than have them sit on the shelf gathering dust. Though I have kept a few to pass onto my son when he’s older…..

        We had one patron bring back a textbook to the library that her cat had eaten the first chapter……she was happy to pay for a replacement. It’s all about educating folk about what can be considered fair wear and tear, and what isn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Ahh I so agree with you- you don’t get to dogear books you don’t own!!! I do it to lots of my books- but not all (it is so painful when I’ve seen people messing up my books when I kept them in pristine condition!!) Same goes for creased spines. I once lent a book to a friend and they had the book open on their bed side table to keep the place- ouch! What makes it worse was that they never gave it back and then moved country! So of course I know what it’s like to never get the book back. And no one ever bothers to replace or pay for ruined books :/ Gah- it’s so sucky! I do hope some people will end up loving books I lend, but all this is why I’m super fussy about who I lend books to.


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