Discussion Post: Are You a Scrooge When It Comes to Lending Your Books to Others?

In most aspects of my life, I like to think of myself as a pretty generous person.  I frequently donate to good causes. I try to be as helpful as possible to my friends and family.  And if anyone I cared about needed it, I’d lend them the shirt off my back.

What I wouldn’t lend them, however, is any of my books.  That’s right. None of them, lol.  When it comes to my books, I become downright Scrooge-like. 


In my defense, I don’t do it to be mean.  It’s just that my books are one of my most cherished possessions and I’ve been burned in the past by lending them out to people I thought I could trust to take care of them.  What I got in return was either books that were never returned or books that were so severely damaged that they needed to be replaced.  That said, my trust in others has become pretty much nonexistent when it comes to my books.  In many cases, it was because I thought I could convert a non-reader into a reader and I have long since learned my lesson.

There are, of course, exceptions to my no-lending rule.  My mother and sister are probably at the top of the list. They’re both avid readers who treasure books the same way I do so I will happily lend them any books from my collection and feel secure that they will come back to me in the same condition I lent them. 

I also have a couple of close friends that I would be comfortable lending books to.  Those friends have earned my utmost trust and I know they’ll take care of and return my babies intact, lol.

And then there are my blogger friends.  Thus far, I’ve never actually loaned a book to a fellow book blogger but I could see myself being comfortable doing that if the opportunity ever arose because I know full well that book bloggers feel the same way about their books that I feel about mine. 

* * * * *

So, what about you?  Are you comfortable lending your books out to others or are you a Book Scrooge like me?

30 replies
  1. Tânia @MyLovelySecret
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret says:

    I’m a Book Scrooge. My books are my precious. My books are a part of me. Lending them only to have them back ruined or to never see them again (it has happened and the book was not cheap) is too “painful”. However, there are some friends I feel comfortable lending books to, but only because I know they will take good care of them – only because I know they are like me when it comes to keeping a book in perfect condition. =P

  2. Jess @ Jessticulates
    Jess @ Jessticulates says:

    You’re not alone! I also have the tendency to be a bit of a book Scrooge. Like you, I’ve lent books out to people in the past and they’ve been returned to me battered or lost entirely. I just don’t like it when people don’t show other people’s things respect – the worst one for that was one of my sisters who once borrowed two of my books from two of my favourite series, didn’t return them to me for ages until I found them battered and bashed in my nephew’s toy cupboard. I was not impressed! My other sister, though, is a bit more careful with my books and my dad’s an avid reader so I’m happy to lend him books.

    If I want people to read a book then I’m quite happy to thrust it on them, but my big rule tends to be that if books are particularly special (limited editions or signed copies) or absolute favourites, I keep them to myself because I don’t want them to be damaged. That being said, I’m one of those people who buys multiple copies of my favourite, favourite books. So if I want to lend someone The Goblin Emperor, which is my favourite book, I have a mass market paperback I can hand out rather than my hardback. 🙂

    Great post!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      That’s a great idea. I’d much rather lend out a copy that isn’t special to me or for that matter, even buy them their own copy so that I don’t have to worry about mine.

  3. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
    Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy says:

    I’m the same, I tend to be very possessive about my books and I’ve also been burned. I’ve lost a few books when they were never returned and then I lost touch with those people, so I’ll never see them again!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’ve had that same experience. And I old a grudge too. If I’ve had to buy a replacement copy, every time I look at it, I think about the person who never returned my original copy, lol.

  4. Daniela Ark
    Daniela Ark says:

    I don’t own many books. I had a huge library but had to give them all away when I moved out of the country and it was a little bit traumatic so I kinda didn’t want to get any books again for a few years. I’m just starting to build a library again and HELL NO they are not going anywhere!! LOL LOL LOL 😉

    BUT if I ever overcome these fears, yes! I totally agree fellow book blogger but be the ideal foster parent for one of my babies 🙂 Great post!

  5. Lindsi
    Lindsi says:

    I used to let people borrow my books, but they started being returned less and less. I even bought a stamp for the back that said, “From the Library of Lindsi Root.” However, that didn’t matter to people who were too lazy to return a book, or too cheap to buy their own. It was infuriating. Now I don’t lend my books to people, not even family. They don’t like to read, so there’s no point trying to share my treasures with them (my husband and children being the exception). If I’m trying to convince a non-reader to read, I’ll buy them a copy of whatever book we’re talking about. I’m more than happy to go to a used book store and purchase something for someone. It’s much better than wondering if I’ll ever get my copy back.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

  6. Jordan Rose
    Jordan Rose says:

    I’m sorry to say that I’m extremely Scrooge-like in this matter also, haha. I’ve had too many bad experiences. The only person I remotely trust is my mom because she not only respects books herself, she is also one of the only people who truly understands how crazy I am about keeping my books nice. I’m pretty possessive of my books, though I am much more lenient with the secondhand copies I pick up at library sales and the like that are more beat up–I figure they already have seen better days, so I can lend those out to my husband or other people I see regularly (though not many people I know read much other than my mom, haha!). I’m very generous with just about every other thing in my life, so hopefully there’s a balance there… right? 😉

  7. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    To be perfectly honest, I have a ton of physical books, mostly ARCs from conventions, but I don’t really read them. I keep a little library at work for when it slow, and have no issue lending books, because I most likely won’t read them. I will often take books out of the eLibrary or read them even when I have the physical book, because I prefer reading an ebook. But, I totally understand worrying about, who you lend a book to, when you are one who collects books.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, I’d probably be a lot better about lending books if they’re ones I know I’m just going to unhaul at some point anyway.

  8. Angela
    Angela says:

    I don’t have a ton of opportunities to lend my books out, but I would be cautious about doing so, too. I’ve lost two favorite books because people (including a family member!) never returned them. It’s such a catch-22 – as a bookworm you want to share stories with others, but at the same time, you don’t want to actually share your books!

  9. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    I don’t lend books out. I will give books away though. Unless It is an all time favorite and I plan to reread, I will give a book I have read to a friend or family member who I think will enjoy it. I totally get not lending out books though.

  10. Sophie
    Sophie says:

    I lend only to one or two trusted friends! Because they are like my babies and have to be cared for and protected at all costs LOL

  11. Greg
    Greg says:

    I’m the same. I mean there are a few people I would trust with my books, but the average rando? No not really haha! I’ve lent books before and they come back in less than great shape, so yeah- I totally agree. 🙂

  12. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard says:

    There are only a small handful of people to whom I will lend a book, for the same reasons you mention: I’ve had books not returned or returned in terrible shape, and I don’t often make a convert to a favorite book or author, which is disheartening. On the other hand, there are people to whom I will lend because I know they love books as I do. And there are some titles I buy secondhand just to be able to lend them out without fear (while keeping my own copy in pristine condition.)

  13. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    I’m definitely a book scrooge too! I don’t like to lend books, unless to my closest friends, and even then it makes me super uncomfortable. Not that they’d hurt my books, but they tend to…take a long, long time and then I feel awkward having to ask for them back…So I prefer not to lend any books if I can help it, haha 🙂

  14. Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café
    Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café says:

    I didn’t used to be a book Scrooge but I’ve become one. I don’t know what happened because I used to believe that if I didn’t get a book returned, that person was paying it forward. Now, I’ve become a hoarder almost. Guests are welcome to read my books while they’re here but I’m afraid to let them go. Maybe it’s because I’m only reading eBooks and listening to audiobooks now and my print books have become more precious.

  15. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says:

    My mom reads all of my books, but I don’t count that as “lending.” I would be a bit more leery about lending books to other people—depending on the books. Some books I wouldn’t mind at all, but my favorites or special copies are different.

Comments are closed.