I have a little black book.
In my case, it contains a list of names of people I will never, ever lend another book to again.
There's nothing that brings me more joy than sharing the magic of books with my friends – which is why I gladly loan my books out to fellow book addicts. But here's where the little black book comes in…
If I lend you my book, I expect you to return it in the same condition as when it was first lent to you. If the book comes back with coffee stains or curled up and torn pages – your name goes in that little black book of people I'll never lend books to again.
How do you deal with people who treat your books like shoddy doormats? Am I justified in my outrage? Or do you think I should take a chill pill?
Tammy February, Book Club content producer
Here's what some of you had to say in response to my mutterings in the newsletter.
The plastic sleeve solution
I totally agree! My hubby and I love books and spend a fortune each month on new ones. We are happy to lend books out because at the price you pay nowadays it is great to get your money's worth!
When I buy a book no one may touch it until I have covered it with a thick plastic "sleeve" like they do with library books. Not stuck down, it folds perfectly. IF they come back damaged, you are off the list of friends...
For books that are not returned (and most often you forget who has them), we have a "library" at home. Friends are welcome to borrow our books, but they have to fill their name, book title and author in on a spreadsheet in our "library book" and sign them back in when they return them. We all laugh about it, but it works!
I have extended the library book to include CDs and DVD's now too…
Tammy says: A good idea indeed. Perhaps you should include an "Is it still in a good condition" column in your spreadsheet too? Just a thought…
The worse they look, the better the read?
Books are not meant to always look new and clean, the worse they look, the better you know the read will be. As long as the person who borrowed it enjoyed it as much as I did I am not too fussed about the condition of the book when it's returned.
Tammy says: Perhaps you've been lucky enough to not have your books come back in an atrocious condition…
Name and shame those book abusers
Absolutely agree! I actually cover my books with plastic because I see my books as investments! Some people are offended – but that's just tough.
One friend returned my favourite book with pages hanging out of it – I couldn't believe the cheek and utter disrespect for my property and for me! I like your idea of a little black book – I think you should set up a space on the Web where we can name and shame book destroyers!
Tammy says: Does this article qualify?
Sometimes the books don't even come back
I so agree with you! Nothing irks me more than my books coming back looking like the dogs breakfast. My husband says I am a bit too pedantic about my books, but I absolutely love my books and expect others to respect my books.
But the worst of it all is when your books don't come back at all. I have a sister-in-law famous for this and I now have vowed not to lend her another book, and to crown it all she sends books back that aren't even mine. But I must say I think I am going to invest in a little black book!
Tammy says: Let me guess, the books that aren't yours end up being crappy choices anyway?
Sometimes the books don't even come back
People who don't look after books should do three years Community Service in a Library under the strictest Librarian ever. This way they may learn the value of literature and treat books with respect.
Tammy says: A bit harsh, but could be effective in the long-run.
Take a chill pill
Sorry, I think you should take a chill pill. Life is too short to get so grumpy about coffee stains and curled pages.
Tammy says: So I'm guessing that not a lot of people lend you their books then...
How to deal with book abusers
Nothing riles me more than people who borrow books never to return them again or return them looking like the dog's dinner. Books are a great part of my life and there is not a day that goes by that I do not read for at least 2 hours before sleeping. if the book is good enough I often read until it is time to get up and go to work the next morning!
So here's a list of what I'd do to people that 'steal' or 'harm' my books, hmmm.....
No more invites to lunch, dinner or even for coffee
Should they come to the gate again I am liable to set the dogs on them.
I know a bouncer
I can always pretend not to remember them and totally ignore them.
Last resort – go into their homes and destroy all their books while recovering mine.
Tammy says: That last idea is a rather attractive thought, except that it would make me a just as bad as the book destroyer. Such a pity really.
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How to you deal with people who return your books in an awful condition? Do you let it slide? Or do you let the offending book abuser know? Tell us in the comment box below
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