I have two different sets of books: my Permanent Collection – which is virtually never leant to anyone – and my general collection.
The Permanent Collection
This collection is usually the hardbacks (plus other books, such as my Persephone Greys) that I’d rather not lend out to others. This is because ultimately I dont trust people to either return them in the first place, or return them in the same state as I leant them out (so: no broken spine, no writing in the margins, no dog ears, the matching book mark returned etc).
The General Collection
My general collection is treated in the opposite way – these are usually paperbacks, many of them second hand, and the only proviso is that I have to decide whether I’m going to read the book before I lend it out. I have leant some of these books, wanting to read it and asking for it back, only to find out that the borrower has read it and passed it onto friends, despite the explicit instruction of “you have to give it back”. Therefore this person only gets to borrow the books I have already read. I usually have a pile of books sitting in the corner that I have already read or I dont intend to read specifically to be lent out to others.
Letting the book go.
Meanwhile I am also a member of Bookcrossing, where you can register a book and then release it, hoping that someone will pick it up and pass it along. Many of my books are released in a controlled manner, usually in places that have a bookshelf I can leave them on. I used to be really focussed on wishing people would mark the fact they had picked it up, but now I am much more relaxed about it – if it happens it happens!
So what’s your policy on lending your books out to other people?