Confessions of a Serial Lender

I admit that I have a slight problem. I’m a serial book lender. I love books so much that when I find out someone hasn’t ever read one that I own and think is excellent I’ll often press it on them, telling them to return it after they’re done reading it. Other times the book will come up in conversation and I’ll mention that I have it if they want to borrow it.

Over the years I’ve often learned to nab extra copies of books that I really love to loan out so that I can not just loan them but give them away if the person ends up liking it. I’ve also had to repurchase several books due to folks moving, forgetting, damaging or deciding to cut off communication with me before returning said books. In some cases I don’t mind as much, in others (where it was a copy that I’ve had for years and have marked several passages) I tend to fight for the return of my books.

Though in one hilarious story I loaned a copy of Good Omens to a friend in California sometime around 2001-2002. After I moved I figured I’d never see it again and chalked it up to bad luck. He ended up getting married and during a move he found the book, contacted me for my address and mailed it back to me….about 6 years after the fact with a funny note of apology for the unintentional long loan. That note is still in the book, just for me to laugh at when I pull it off the shelf.

In any case, I still continuously loan out books to my friends. Though I’ve tried to keep track of who has what, sometimes I forget. Even using a website called “Return my pants” helped for a time but became cumbersome when I realized I had to log on every time I loaned someone a book or dvd.

DIY Library Kit

DIY Library Kit

Just before Christmas I picked up a kit from ThinkGeek called a “DIY Library Kit”. It’s a cute thing that looks like a novelty but is actually pretty damn useful. It comes with a cute date stamp (think back to the old days of library lendings), a pencil, ink pad and several of the old fashioned card holder pockets for the backs of books and the insert cards. The idea is that you’d put the pockets and cards in the backs of your books, label them properly, then any time you loan someone a book you put their name, phone number and date on the card which you keep and then stamp the return date on the pocket in the back of the book. Exactly like I remember from my school library.

I ran out of the cards in the first kit within a couple of weeks. (Course, at the time Amanda was borrowing my Dark Hunter books at a crazy rate so they are the first ones to get cards) I even ended up using the cards on a few dvds that I’ve loaned out. (and as I loan a lot of movies and often forget what I’ve loaned, these are great!)

I had to order 2 refill kits just last week to put in more books and movies. I have a feeling that most of the books in my library will end up with these cards. The only ones that might not are the collector’s editions of things (like my 1st edition hardback of Good Omens signed by both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Yeah, that one doesn’t ever leave my house).

Still, I’m totally digging on the easy to see what of mine is loaned out and who has it…and when they borrowed it.

Suddenly being a serial lender isn’t nearly as heartbreaking and wallet-hurting as it used to be.


~ by rumielf on January 11, 2011.

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