To any bookworm or book collector, letting someone borrow your book is like giving your own child to a stranger. The time that book is gone from your shelf is oh-so-evident; you see that little hole everyday as you walk past, or the left-behind book jacket collecting dust without its partner. If you ever see the person with the book, you mentally go through a book evaluation: is the spine in good condition? Is the cover still it’s original color? Is that person really dog-earring a page RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME?! Again, the most troublesome worries of a bookworm, and yet we just can’t deny lending out a book. I, personally, love lending out books, unlike others. And here’s why.
First off, it’s important to note that I only lend books to people who I know that are going to ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK. What’s the point of sharing if it’s going to rot in their backpacks for weeks on end? Goodness gracious. Anyways, I lend out books because that’s what they’re meant for; to be read. If they’re going to sit pretty on my shelves for forever, what’s the point? I want others to be able to enjoy the story as much as I do. I understand that some people like their books to be looking untouched and in tip-top condition. I really don’t care as long as the book is still in good condition where I can open it up and read it without cringing at rips and stains. Getting that book handed back to me a little more loved, the spine a little more broken in, and knowing someone gasped and laughed and cried while reading this exact copy reminds me of an imprint. They left a mark on the book, and the book left a mark on them.
Now, don’t get “a little more loved” confused with “ruined.” Yes, I have had someone ruin my book. It was a hardcover edition of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I swear, backpacks are the death traps of books; the person claimed that “they didn’t know how it happened” and that they’d “pay me back,” yada yada yada. The binding was split completely, and pages were falling out left and right. My heart weeped. The person clearly didn’t “love” the book at all. Her attitude was uncaring towards the thought, and I could tell she never truly read it. That person is blacklisted from my lending list, by the way. I’ve grown more careful on who I lend to.
A huge tip is to leave the dust jacket off if you’re going to let someone borrow a hardcover. Leaving it with them is the opening to the possibility of it being torn and crinkled. Only lend paperbacks to someone you trust (they get beat up much more easily), and tell them whether they can break the spine or not. If your biggest fear is dog-ears, give them a bookmark with the book and tell them to use it. Give them the warning if they deform the book, they pay.
However, when you see that the person truly had a wonderful experience reading that novel, your heart soars a little bit. Especially if you’ve read the book, you have a new friend to fangirl with. The fact that you were the reason they read the book puts a little bit of positive pride in your chest. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love lending books.
Tell me your thoughts below! I’m open to discussion.
Until next time,