Borrowing Books, your thoughts?
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We lend books out, and make sure they get returned. In addition to LibraryThing, I maintain a parallel catalog in an Excel spreadsheet. I confess to being a tad bit OCD because I record the dimensions and weight of each book in separate columns. This made it quite easy to determine ahead of time which books would fit on to which shelf when we reorganized our Library several months ago. But I digress....
When we loan a book out, I record the name of the borrower and the date, both in red, with the title of the book, still in black. It really stands out when scrolling. I also have a column where I describe defects in the book -- a scratch on the cover, dog ears, stains...
My two oldest sons smoke (an addiction they inherited from their mother). I blame their inherited addiction to reading to both her AND me. I have been very leery about loaning books to them, but they go to great lengths to protect the books -- never smoke while reading (those books, at least); store the books in zip-lock bags before entering a smoke-laden environment... I taught them well.
My wife's niece, on the other hand... although a voracious reader, she doesn't take much care of the books she gets, and generally takes 6 or more months to even begin reading a borrowed book. I won't let her have any more.
Anyway, sometimes I get a remark that I am being to strict about my books. Then I ask that person if they would be comfortable when I would borrow their car, spill coffee over it, a few scratches here and there and return it either to late or not at all. Or how about me lending a CD and return it without the booklet, the case crushed etc. After these questions they understand. I've learned that most of the people that want to borrow your books, are not interested in the books itself/have no clue on the value of books, but are too lazy to walk to the library.
Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other people have lent me.
- Anatole France
Borrowers of books -- those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes.
- Charles Lamb
I never borrow books from someone else; If I see a nice book in his or hers library, I will buy my own copy.
The teenage daughter of our next door neighbor used to babysit for us. She borrowed the J-K volume of our encyclopedia one day, and never returned it. We found a new babysitter.
When we moved to Texas, she was not able to locate the book prior to our leaving, so we gave her the rest of the volumes. They were printed in the early 60's.
Now when a friend comes over and admires one of the books on my shelves, I will buy them a copy before loaning mine out.
I love to have visitors in my library, but the books stay.
So far, the only reason one weighed more (by a tenth of an ounce) was that my son left a bookmark in it, and I suspect that the book had absorbed a bit of moisture fron the atmosphere because it had been uncharacteristically humid for the week prior to its return.
BTW, I put a mylar cover on the dust jacket (if it has one) of any book I loan out. On the average novel-sized book, that adds about .9 oz. Of the total weight of my books, well over 2,500 lbs, almost 17.5 pounds of it is Mylar.
Here's a good one:
All those who do not books return
Are thieves, not borrowers, and earn
The punishment Justice demands;
Their sacrificial loss of hands.
May God, therefore, as witness see
That it be done unswervingly.
The Book Talk group is good for that kind of query.
One of my relatives used to have stickers in the front of his books with a short verse. It probably helps if you have a North Notts (English) accent, but still gets the message across ;
This book is mine
This boot another
Touch not the one
For fear of the other
Now I just give books away. I check out used book stores and thrift stores for cheap extra copies of books in my own library, as well as books I think others would like, and then I give them away. I find that's a lot more fun and a lot less stressful.
Yup, I have started doing that, too. Some books are "only for reading" i.e. not Keepers, and I happily give them away to people or swap them for others after I've finished. Even sometimes, like you, buying double 2nd Hand copies just so I can give them to friends...
I now keep the books that may not leave the house in another room. Well, OK, rooms. And the really treasured ones have ExLibris plates, too :-)
But it is very freeing to not lend books anymore, which I stopped after bad experiences (I had a ketchup incident, too). I've stopped borrowing books from civilians, too. I feel too guilty when I take ages to finish and can't read under pressure. Now I only borrow from Libraries.
Am I allowed to chip in here? I don't consider myself a 'book collector' as such because, to me, that reeks of old or valuable books, but I am one in the loosest sense having somehow 'collected' this house full of paperbacks! There are only so many books you can keep in one house so I do regularly purge and rehome any I can bear to part with. I do my best to ensure these go to friends and relations I know will enjoy them - I find that helps towards keeping these people off my back trying to borrow other books.
However, that does lead to the difficulty of having a house full of books I love, plan to reread and want to keep forever. Because I love books, I can't help recommending good ones to other people. I used to think that meant they would dash out and buy their own copy or borrow one from the library but more often it means they think they get to borrow (steal) mine. Sadly, that means I have had to learn to say no forcefully. There is still one couple, though, who come to our house and immediately start browsing the shelves, not - as I do - out of interest at what is there, but to see what they can drop huge hints about borrowing. I resist.
Like others here, when a book is so brilliant that I can't shut up about it, I often get a spare copy just for lending out or give copies away and I have no qualms about asking for my books back again but you can only really do that once or twice before it gets tedious so you have to pick your moments and only ask when you are actually standing in their house with that book in your hand and they can't come up with an excuse.
So yes, the end result is NO LENDING. It's such a shame, though. I would get a real kick out of lending my books to others if only I could be sure they would come back. And there are just a couple of close friends who still get the privilege because they have proved over the years that they DO return books - and in good condition. They are deeply honoured friends who I appreciate from the bottom of my heart and the heart of my bottom.
And WHL, there's obsession and there's attention to detail and you just hit hero status in my house!
ETA - OP - I also have a copy of that curse on my computer and have often considered making up my own book plates with it but that would rather give the impression that I was prepared to lend in the first place if I have to go to the point of cursing non-returners. Instead, I have danced naked in the moonlight and actually applied the curse to all my books. Non-returners known nothing about it uuntil their body parts start to drop off. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.
Unless I am prepared to have a book lost, damaged, or simply treated with less respect than I would give it, I will not lend it. It is best to just avoid the issue.