A Guide to Borrowing and Lending Books

I love books. I am away for 4 days and I have 4 books with me (not including all the ebooks I have on my tablet).  I'm always talking or writing about what I am reading. I guess I am an extroverted reader. When I like a book, I am convinced everyone who I know or have ever connected with in some tiny way should also read the book. When I've learned something I want everyone else to share in that discovery.


I also lend books. All the time. I like to think I am generous with my books.  I just finished a book today and I have already told two people I would lend it to them now that I am done. The problem is I don't know the first person on the list very well.  I started wondering, "what kind of book borrower is she?" Is she the kind of person who will borrow my book and I will never see it again? Or will she return it after she has read it looking like she dragged it behind her car for a couple hundred kilometers? It's a book she is eager to read AND it's a book I want to keep in my personal library. 

There are a few guidelines I would like to offer to you when you borrow a book. I talk a lot about expectations. When it comes to book lending I think they need to be made clear. 

Sandy's Book Borrowing Guidelines:

1. Establish a time line when you would like the book you are lending returned.  I think a month is reasonable. This guideline serves two purposes for the borrower.  First, they are more motivated to read it sooner and return it. Second, they can take the opportunity to say they won't be able to read it in the next month and decline to take the book.  

2. Return books in good condition. If you borrow a book return it with reasonable wear and tear. If you spill a glass of water on the book consider replacing it. (Helpful hint: Don't use the book as a wine coaster - especially if you drip when you pour.)

4. Don't highlight or underline in the book.

5. Don't lend the book you borrowed to someone else without permission.

6. Put your name in the book you are lending. Don't put your name in the book you borrowed.

7. Make a note of who borrowed your books. I've actually taken a picture of people holding the book when I lend it to them. It's quite funny and when I email them the picture 6 months later asking for my book it makes a pretty good case that they did borrow it.

Those guidelines should cover most of your book borrowing challenges. I was thinking today as I wrote this that it wouldn't be a bad idea putting a bookmark in books I lend. I created two and you can download them below.  One is asking for the book back. The other is for those books you don't want back. I rarely read a novel more than once. When I lend them out I often tell the borrower I don't want it back. The second bookmark will remind them to pass it along instead of returning it.

So, do me a favour. Go through your bookshelf and check for any books you have borrowed and not returned. Take some time in the next week and return them. You might want to include a couple of bookmarks as well.

Download the bookmarks here and here