To lend or not to lend? Second to deciding whether I want to be the next Persephone or the General of a mermaid battalion, deciding whether I should allow person A to borrow my books is the hardest decision. Even harder than deciding where I want to go for lunch.

Personally, I’m not very specific about having my books in pristine condition.

Bent spine? Cool.

Dog-eared pages? Cozy.

Yellowing pages? Cutie.

I don’t have a problem with lending because I, myself, used to borrow a bag or two of books from a friend every week.  In my opinion, the best you can do for your beloved story is to share it.

I had a scare once in high school when my newly acquired copy of Twilight went missing. Breaking Dawn – a huge book, by the way – was stolen from my friend whose tears and apologies only intensified the stress of losing a gifted book. I couldn’t help wondering why anyone would want to steal a book when I’m pretty well known among my classmates for generously lending books. Long story short, the book was returned and has traveled all the way from India and is safely nestled in my bookshelf here in the Philippines.

Lending books is risky; even the hardest of hardbacks are quite flimsy. And I can’t say no when someone earnestly wants to read.


“It’s just a book.”

Why, excuse me, Mr. Waffle Head! It’s not just a book, it’s hours of sweat and stained coffee cups; it’s 500 pages of teary eyes and choice curses; this book is remembers my fingerprints and has probably a few fingernails embed between the pages. The things this book has done to my heart makes it an incubus reincarnated.

The downside of lending your book is a horror story that will haunt bookworms through the generations. Books are never returned or if they are, you find stains

Worst case scenario is probably having friend A lend your book to friend B, who then lends it to their third cousin, who leaves it at their great-grandfather’s house over Easter, who donates their entire library – including your precious mass market paperback – to a church library, only for it to be defaced by a year old toddler.

And you wonder why I have trust issues?


While I am very protective of my books, at some point, I think it would be unfair on my part to lend my books to someone who is sincere. To be honest, I feel like a terrible bibliophile if I don’t share the joy of reading. One of the most rewarding things about lending book is having someone fall in love with reading. One of my wishes is to inspire someone to begin reading books, especially young children.

I know children who don’t have access to libraries and are not encouraged to read; two weeks ago, I lent one of them my books. An old Enid Blyton copy. I lent her this book knowing that my book would be vulnerable to her puppies’ teeth and her siblings’ hands. But this fear is soothed whenever she comes by to tell me of her progress in the book, and I think Why allow my books to go unread and gather dust when there’s someone else who’ll give it the attention it needs?

Perhaps my book will come back to me in a condition worse than it was before or it may never, but I sleep easy knowing I helped someone discover the joy of reading.

However, the same cannot be said for adults. Maybe it’s because I believe them to be more responsible such that if they are reckless with a book I swear off lending altogether. I find it hard to forgive adults who don’t take care of books, so I am more wary of lending. But in the same way that I can’t resist carbs, I also can’t help shoving books into undeserving hands.

So, if you’re like me, then the next section is for you.


Firstly, DO YOU TRUST THE PERSON? This is the first thing any bookworm should consider. Are you aware of how this person takes care of their things? If the question comes up you could always say that you don’t lend out copies of the book in question. 

KEEP TABS ON THE BOOKS YOU LEND. Take note from your local library and write down the information. Have a check out date and a tentative date for when you’d like the book returned. Another safe way is to take pictures of the person with the book.

PROTECT YOUR BOOKS! Keep your books in a protective cover and provide bookmarks. If needed, have a short list of rules to handout. Print your own library stickers or write your name in your books.

Have an alarm at the end of the week to CHECK ON THEIR READING PROGRESS. Some of you may think this is going a bit overboard but, trust me, you need to do this. It works as motivation for the borrower to read the book. You’ll also foster a conversation and, because of the fresh eyes, a new perspective will be offered to you.

And finally, kindly understand that ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN. Unless the borrower broke a cardinal rule, it simply can’t be helped. My precious copy got eaten by our puppy once. Unless your friend suddenly decided to bathe your book in chamomile tea and feed it to the cat, then you might need to reconsider your idea of trust. Worst case scenario you get them to buy you a new copy.

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Do you lend books freely? What rules do you keep when lending books? Share your book lending horror story!

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Cam’s Bookish Tales is a weekly discussion post by Camillea Reads on the weird & wacky world of literature and its bibliophiles. This blog post is a link up to Pages Unbound’s 52 Discussion Prompts for 2018


  1. Kristina says:

    What ?! xD did you ended up knowing who stole it ?! Knowing we get *free* panties stolen at work (the ones that come with corsets..) I’m not quite surprised just .. wow.

    I lend my books to mom on a daily basis, she freely have a hand in my bookshelf; however we do live in the same house xD Only problem I’d have to lend a book is if it takes FOrEVEr for them to give it back. or worst, give it like a year later AND in a bad condition -.- Then I might not lend it to that person ever again. If not, Sure ! go ahead and pick one – I just might wanna reread that so heh. please hurry up x)


  2. Briana | Pages Unbound says:

    I’d love to lend out my books and share them and get more “use” out of them than a single read, but I have the problem that most of my friends don’t read and no one want to borrow my books anyway. :p Though I have had problems in the past with someone dropping my books into puddles and such…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Markante Korenwolf says:

    I lend books to friends all the time and I borrow a lot from them. I know where most of my books are and usually when one doesn’t make it back to my bookshelves, it’s because someone put it with my brother’s books instead so it’s not like it’s far away.
    I don’t really care about the condition of my books, as long as they words are readable and the pages aren’t loose, there’s no problem. I reread the wheel of time series a lot (and the first book gets around even more since I give it to everyone I know in an attempt to get them into the series) most of them are in a condition that you couldn’t even sell them second hand anymore but i kinda love it cause it shows how much these books get read

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

      I’d love to see your copies of The Wheel of Time! There’s something very precious of those kind of worn-out copies. Right now, I don’t have anyone to borrow books from but my boyfriend brings some of his fantasy books when he visits, so that’s there 😀


  4. Angela says:

    I don’t really lend my books out much, I don’t have a lot of readers to share with. But I have twice loaned a book out and not gotten it returned. One was to my mom’s coworker who ended up leaving the firm, so I had no way to get in touch with her to get it back and had to replace it myself. The other was to my cousin, so maybe I’ll see that book again someday?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts says:

    I’d like to think I’m okay with lending books out…but I also seldom have had the opportunity to really lend books out. The caveat is that there are certain books that I would never lend out — even if it’s damaged or tabbed up or whatnot. Either it’s a coveted signed copy etc. that I can’t let out of my sights hahah. I’ve had bad experiences when I was younger lending out my DVDs though. It’s especially worse when you have a falling out and never really get to retrieve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

      Haha I think I’d be the petty person to take my books back if I had a falling out. But yeah, favourite books and those with well-loved annotations are off-limits. I’m also very picky with lending out books that have been gifted to me. Thank you for commenting!


  6. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books says:

    Yellow pages are cutie? 😀
    Spreading the love for books, I’m am all in but only to those people who can’t take care of a simple book enrages me. I had a fair share of those before I became apprehensive about not lending out anymore. I can ignore dog-eared pages but bent spine and the cover of a new book getting returned to me in ancient condition, no way anymore. But I still lend my books but only to some trusted few.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bookishluna says:

    I used to lend out books all the time, then I got one back and realized pages were ripped out of it because they wanted to save some quotes… For me that was the last straw. The book is no longer complete so the full story was lost I wouldn’t be able to lend it out again anyway. I also felt really disrespected by it. I trusted you with a book I loved and you defaced it without asking and without telling, even going as far as to hide it. While I loved sharing my books I can’t bring myself to do it anymore… side note this was an adult who knew it was wrong not a child. Like you said, if it was a child I would have been understanding and took it as an opportunity to teach them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thebackwardsbookshelf says:

    Long story short, the book was returned and has traveled all the way from India and is safely nestled in my bookshelf here in the Philippines. Whoa. I kind of want the story behind this.

    The one thing that I absolutely do not mind about books is when they have cracked spines. For me, a cracked spine does nothing to take away the beauty of a book. In fact, I think it adds to it, because it’s proof that the person who read the book really enjoyed it because they opened it so wide, or opened it again and again.

    I remember one time, when Neil Gaiman was in Manila, I won free passes to his book signing. I was embarassed that my copy of American Gods was so cracked and yellowed, and I said so to him, but he said not to apologize and actually, he was flattered because the state of the book showed just how much I loved it. I’ve carried that moment with me ever since!

    What I do to make sure my books get back to me is, I take a picture of the person holding the books, and then I also have an Excel spreadsheet of all my books, and I take note if someone borrowed a certain book. Hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

      Aaw that is so sweet of Gaiman ❤ Honestly, I love seeing rows upon rows of worn-out books. There's something so familiar and pleasing about them, hence why I prefer secondhand bookstores or so I think. Since you mentioned it, I'll make sure to give American Gods a read.

      Wow, I love how organized you are!

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebackwardsbookshelf says:

        Oh, definitely give American Gods a read! It’s definitely one of my most favorite books of all time!


  9. Lia says:

    Ooh I love this discussion! I really don’t mind lending people books, in fact, every time I talk to people about books I ask them if they want to borrow it but THEY NEVER DO. So yeah, I never had people damage my books before but I think I would be mildly annoyed if they would.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Victoria says:

    This is such a great post! When it comes to lending books, I’m a little more stingy than I probably should be lol. I really only let people I completely trust borrow them, and then make them talk about the book with me that way they don’t take too long with it lol. I also write in my books a lot, and it’s kind of vulnerable letting someone read a book that I’ve marked up with my thoughts and feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Heidi says:

    What a great post. I don’t lend books out anymore because I don’t have too many to lend. Almost all the books are read are ebooks, I guess I can lend those, some of them at least, and there is no worries when doing so. I remember back when I did lend books, that often they didnt’ get returned. I think I bought Catcher in the Rye twice and I don’t have one in my possession now. ARGH. Great advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Charvi says:

    I lend whenever people ask me but only if I know that the person will take care of it. I don’t mind minor stuff like a slight tear on the jacket if the hardcover book I just got back since the girl fangirled with me about it. It’s just spreading book love. But I do get anxious upon lending books sometimes and I hate when people don’t take care of it!


  13. ireadthatinabook says:

    I have three types of books:
    Irreplaceable books which I would be seriously sad to lose. These I won’t lend as I wouldn’t want to risk hurting a friendship over a book and I can’t count on others to care for these treasures like I do.

    Books I need in my bookshelf but can replace: These I will lend as I love sharing my love for books. If they are lost or destroyed I will be briefly annoyed but I accept that I take that risk when I lend it to someone and I consider it worth it. However, don’t expect to borrow more books from this category if you haven’t returned the first one.

    Books I don’t mind losing: Anyone may borrow these and if they are returned great, if not it’s no big deal. These are typically novels I’ve read once and don’t expect to reread.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael J. Miller says:

    You are braver than I! This is probably my biggest book-related guilt issue. I am SO crazy with how pristine I want my books that I can rarely bring myself to lend them. It’s horrible! I once went on vacation, packed a few books to read, and when I got home realized I made a critical error in packing my suitcase. One of my novel’s covers was torn and bent from the trip. I couldn’t even look at it so I tossed it and bought it again. I KNOW! I’m crazy and I wish I could share my books with more people as, otherwise, they just sit on my shelf waiting to be reread. There are a few people I know who I’ll lend books to but that is a difficult club to get in because, as I said before, I’m crazy.


  15. Krysta says:

    I admit I hate lending books. More often than not, they are never returned. If they are returned, they are returned looking like someone stomped on them, chewed on them, and then threw them in a mud puddle. I’m very careful with my books and people have actually thought books I’ve had for over ten years were new and never cracked open when, in fact, I’ve read them multiple times. So, yeah, I’m not into lending books except to a very select group of people. I wish I were more open about this and could share the bookish love and all, but I’m not sure how much people were actually READING the books based on the condition they come back in.


  16. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I love this post! Yes, yes yes! I love lending books to people, but I have my own personal library card system to keep track of them all. O_o I want to share all my loves with people! In fact, for a few of my absolute favorite books I have my own copies and my Lending copies. I expect my lending copies will see wear over time when I lend them out, hence the reason I might keep special copies for my own. 🙂

    Great post, Camillea! I found this via The Sunday Exchange at Pages Unbound. Thank you for sharing!


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