How to Lend Books to Friends Without Stressing Over It

Lending Books to Friends

I’ve had a couple people recently ask me about borrowing books. First, whether or not they can borrow a book from me. Secondly, how I let others borrow my beloved books without losing my mind over it. While I haven’t always been keen on lending out my books, I’ve recently turned a new page and opened up my personal library to friends. How do I do it without having a panic attack, you ask? I guess it’s time to let you all know.

My thoughts on Lending books

As I said, lending books to friends is a new venture for me. Growing up, my books were my most prized possessions, and I didn’t let anyone else even look at them, let alone hold them. Now, though, I gladly lend out books to friends without even thinking twice. There’s a couple reasons for this. I know some people won’t agree, but this is what works for me, and you’re the one who clicked on this post to read it, so . . .

First off, I 100% own books that I will not lend out. I have a shelf of collector’s editions and signed copies that are strictly for looking at. Even I get weary about reading those copies, so don’t even think about asking me to touch them. I will say no and then kick you out of my house. I’m not even sorry.

Now, for books I am comfortable lending out, I have a system in place. This all started back when Harry Potter and The Cursed Child came out. As someone who grew up as part of the Harry Potter generation, I was thrilled to get my hands on a new book. I picked up my copy on release day, went home and read the entire play in one sitting, and hated it. A lot. So much so, that when a friend mentioned she wanted to pick up a copy, I responded with “please don’t waste your money on it, you can just have my copy,” and promptly handed it over.

This got me thinking: if I was able to give away a book I was so excited about, what was stopping me from lending other books I owned? I have well over 350 books, most of which are unread (and not going to be read any time soon). What was holding me back from lending books to friends? My arguably unhealthy obsession with my books, that’s what. After realizing this, I decided it was alright to start lending books to friends.

At first, I kept track of who borrowed what. I bought a new notebook (as if I needed excuses to buy more notebooks), and wrote down the names of my friends, and the titles they borrowed. Sometimes, I would borrow a book from them, and we would hold each other accountable for our respective books. Both of these tactics helped ease my anxiety a bit.

Over time, I decided that two types of books could be borrowed from my personal library without any stress: books I had read and knew I’d never read again, and books that had been on my shelf for over three years with no intention of being read anytime soon. Now, I routinely let people borrow books off my shelves, and in many cases, tell them to just keep it.

But what if someone borrows an unread book, keeps it, and I eventually, some day, want to read it? Honestly, that’s fine, because there are these wonderful things called libraries where you can literally go get books for FREE!

That being said, lending books to friends is still a bit stressful at times, so along with keeping track, I also follow a couple rules that help keep me at ease.

Rules for Borrowing Books

  1. DO NOT DOG-EAR THE PAGES. Please. You can break the spine, you can eat snacks while reading. You can even bring it on vacation with you (if you promise to bring it back), but please, whatever you do, do not bend the pages.
  2. If you are a monster and typically dog-ear pages, let me know, because I will gladly give you a bookmark!
  3. Read it and love it.
  4. Talk about it with me when you’re finished. PLEASE!
  5. If you lose it, that’s okay! Worse things can happen. If you feel really bad, replace it. If not, no worries!
  6. If it’s a book I said you can keep, please keep it. I gave it away for a reason. If you don’t want it, pass it on!

That’s it! If it’s a book I’ve read and won’t read again, or a book I know I won’t read anytime soon, you can absolutely borrow it from me as long as you don’t bend those pages. Read it, love it, and treat it with respect, and we will be book-pals forever and forever.


4 thoughts on “How to Lend Books to Friends Without Stressing Over It

  1. Brianna Benton says:

    Thanks for sharing your strategies. I always find it so hard to lend books to people but I have been trying. Right now I stick to only lending to certain people or certain books. I’m much better at giving then lending but am working on it!

    • Elizabeth DiCesare says:

      Thanks for reading, and for giving me the idea for this post! For a while I only lended to certain people as well. At the end of the day though, they’re your books, and you should do whatever you want with them!

  2. se2rodri says:

    When I lend out, I take a picture of the person holding the book. Then when they return it, I delete the pic off my phone so I know they gave it back. If I’m looking for a book, I can just scroll through my pics and see who has it.

  3. LisaDay says:

    And if not, you’ll be off the book lending list forever, like my uncle, who once gave me a copy of my book back that was completely destroyed. I cried.

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