To share, or not to share… that is the question.

I have some beautiful books on my shelves.  I have pristine *signed* copies of Shiver, Lament and Ballad.  As well as Beautiful Creatures, Shadow Hills, The Dark Divine, I Heart You, You Haunt Me and many many others.  Many are signed to me and to me are priceless.  Like art.  So the question is, do I dare let them out of my house?  Into the folds of another who may not worship them as I do?  Do I take the risk?  OR do I let them sit on my shelf and stare at them lovingly each and every day but never get to share them others?  Never get the satisfaction when they hand it back saying, that book was amazing! 
Shadow HillsBallad: A Gathering of FaerieLament: The Faerie Queen's DeceptionShiverThe Dark Divine
I’ll be honest, it is torture for me parting with my lovely’s.  But the joy of sharing my books is so much more rewarding that taking the chance is worth it.  I have a few I don’t hesitate to share my treasures with and they are my sister in law that lives nearby, she truly understands how precious they are to me and she cares for them as if they are her own babies.  I also don’t hesitate to share with my mom and my youngest sister, who doesn’t have any children yet.  But when it comes to sharing with some of my sister in laws that live far away the hesitation comes in.  I *really* want them to read the books I’m raving about, and I know they can’t get them from the teeny tiny local library, so is it worth taking the chance on them?  Well, I recently loaned out The Body Finder, a gorgeous, signed to me book.  I chose this one because Kimberly Derting lives in the NW.  I will see her again and if I have to I can get another.  So I loaned her, for the first time, one of my actual treasured books. Afterwords my mom showed me some of the books she’s loaned to her.  NOT pristine.  Horror filled me.  My heart stopped. I felt like I was going to throw up.  Oh what did I do?!  Well, I texted her and was clear in my text that I treasure that book as it was signed to me by the author.  She replied she would.  I waited a week.  Then two weeks.  Finally I called my mom to see if she had given it back to her (they live in SD, I live in WA) and she said no.  I waited longer.  And longer.  Finally my mom called and said she got it back and it was in pristine condition!  And oh, I could breath easy again.  But that set off some serious thinking.  I loan out my books to my local friends but so far it’s my non-signed books.  Ones that I can easily buy new ones of.  Was I ready to loan out my precious signed copies?  Was I prepared to deal with it if something happened?  Well, I’d had my test.  When my sister in law sent me a text saying how much she LOVED The Body Finder it came to me how it was all worth it. 
Beautiful CreaturesSo next time I pass another bag of books off to my dear friend Autumn she will get the opportunity to read one of my very most cherished treasures.  I’m not yet sure of which book it shall be, but perhaps Shiver since it’s a book most everyone loves and I feel badly that she’s missed out for this long.
I also must point out that I have some very very dear friends online that I wouldn’t (and don’t) hesitate to loan my books to.  And they do the same for me!  But they are book people.  They understand how much I love them.  And I was actually introduced to this world of YA by an internet friend sending me her YA books.  So loaning out books is a great opener of doors.  My friend Autumn was never a reader until she was introduced to YA, now she reads faster then I do!   

So what do you do?  Do you dare loan out your treasures?

NOTE: This post was inspired by Lisa Schroeder when she tweeted me back after I loaned out The Hunger Games and Catching Fire to my sister in law.  She really made me feel good, because I know my goal in life (one of them anyway) is to share my wonder of books, and the books I love with others.  I often tell Lisa about the people I’ve loaned her books to, and how much they loved them.  Her tweet said this:
“You are like the best sharer of books that I know. I love it! You’re like a little book angel. :)”
A book angel.  Now I think that is the highest compliment someone has ever paid me.  Thank you Lisa! 
I Heart You, You Haunt Me Chasing Brooklyn Far from You

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  1. You are really brave! I never lend out my signed copies because they mean so much to me. Anything else in my library is fair game, but the signed copies are precious to me. Especially since we don’t see a lot of author signings where I live. (Hardly any in fact.) I have even gone so far, as to buy another copy of the signed book so that I can keep the signed one pristine. I don’t do that for all of them, but the ones I know I will be sharing or reading a lot I will. My husband thinks I am nuts, but he always breaks the bindings in the books in my library so I won’t let him touch the signed ones. :)

  2. This is something I’ve thought a lot about and I’m still apprehensive about which titles and to whom I lend out.

    The few people I lend to are: Vanessa (my book soulmate – duh!), Nely from All About {n} and a couple of other girls as well as my mom cuz she’s my mom.

    I adore my mom but my books probably take the biggest beating with her only because she’s a much slower reader than I am which means my books spend more time in her purse than they would in mine. I had lent her one of my romances once and when I went to pick it up, a couple of the pages had fallen out. I think it was from bending the spine and they came unglued – oh the horror!! I let her keep it and got myself another copy. No way was that going back on my shelf, lol. But alas, she’s my mom and I’ll never deny her…

    I have not lent out any signed books and frankly, I don’t think I could. Those are FAR more valuable so I’m going to be really really super careful with them. I may end up vacuum sealing them one day – J/K! LOL


  3. Awesome post! I did lend out my copy of Shiver to a friend that hadn’t read it yet and was dying to. It wasn’t signed yet at the time but I still felt very nervous about letting her borrow it. Thankfully she took really good care of it. I totally understand how you feel about letting someone else borrow your signed books, I only let someone else borrow mine when I know they will be really careful with them and if they love books as much as I do.

  4. Mel,
    It’s funny you say that you sometimes even buy extra copies NOT signed. I would love to do that, but because of budget reasons, I can’t. But it was just killing me to not be able to share my most loved books. And if I know I’ll really love a book then I tend to try my hardest to get a signed copy… But yeah, like you my unsigned copies are generally fair game. I do have some new hard copies that I hesitate to loan out to people far away because I’m afraid I won’t get them back. Also I hate the dust jackets. I have a serious fear of them getting ruined or lost, or something. And that book will no longer be beautiful. It’ll just be a plain old hardcopy book with no distinguishing features.

    Everyone else,
    At least I’m not alone in my obsession. I seriously about have a heart palpitation thinking about it. But what good are they if people can’t enjoy them? Are they really worth it just to sit there and only be loved by me? Yeah, it’ll always be hard to let them go. And it’ll only be one at a time because otherwise I would have some really really serious anxiety. But I gotta be brave. I gotta have faith that they understand how precious those books are to me. And Oh, I’m sure to let them know each and every time! Even the ones that aren’t signed.

  5. I have 2 personally signed books. There from Jennifer Echols. And, they will stay with me. After i lent out my twilight book to one of my friends. It wasn’t signed. Just thoes books was so special to me. And i got it back with COFFEE stains, and THE pages was bent! I MEAN that’s what book marks Are for!!!!!! But, no.. i mean to someone who has the same reading passion as me YES, i’ll lend. Someone who takes care of there things, books.. yes! I gave that book the the salvation army and bought me a new one. I couldn’t stand it that bad! It killed me. Since then she hasn’t asked to borrow one, nor have i suggested anything of reading to her! LOL :))

  6. For the hardcovers I loan out, I always keep the dust jacket. Keeping it serves two purposes for me. 1st the dust jacket stays nice, so the book will look nice when it is back on my shelves. 2nd it serves as a reminder to me of what I have loaned out–for instance I have loaned both Twilight and Hunger Games to my mother and I know that is where they are because I have the dust jacket. I know–crazy, but it helps! :)

  7. I’m very selective about who I loan books to. If I had signed copies of anything, there would be no way that I’d loan out the book. I just don’t trust some of my friends to be gentle readers.

    Even my paperbacks that are read, look new. I hate it when people batter books.

  8. I buy the paperback to lend out. I lend books to my brothers and sisters since they don’t have access to a library. But they do not get my signed books. I usually get a paperback copy cheap from paperback swap or something, so the cost is minimal. Or, if I’m at a yardsale, I will see a book and pick it up.

  9. I loan out books to friends and have been loaning out one particular series to a friend. However, the next book in the series is a signed hardback and since it was shipped from the US to here (the UK) and cost me a fortune, I can’t let it go… So I’m hoping my friend either has a library pass or will wait until Christmas so I can buy her the next book in the series as a present.

  10. I think keeping the dust jacket is a good idea, but I’d be afraid they’d be less inclined to read the book if they don’t see the beautiful cover. If I showed it to them and then kept the dust jacket, that might work. Too bad they don’t come with two dust jackets…

    Because I get so many of my books from paperbackswap, most of them it isn’t a big deal. I’m a bargain shopper, so I get them used a lot too. It’s just really a small amount of my books I’m quite anal about and those are the ones I’m really wanting EVERYONE to read!

  11. Really tough question! I share a good book with as many people as I can after I’m done. But those few that are signed TO ME and I treasure? Hmm. So far, I have not relinquished those. If the opportunity arrises, I might just do it though. I like sharing books.

  12. I really don’t have that many signed books. (I will after September!! Yay) So it’s never came down to letting anyone borrow them. But I’m really picky with all my books, signed or not. I have a friend who is a….part time reader. She likes to read but I honestly only think she’s likes to read because I do. She’s one of those people that just goes with the majority and molds herself to fit in with everyone else…(drives me insane!)Anyway! When we first became friends I would lend her 7 or 8 books at a time but then she would forget which books were mine and claim they were hers! This horrified me!! I let a lot of it slide because she was really nice about just giving me books after she had read them.
    And she doesn’t always take the best care of them either. She doesn’t take the dust jacket off and uses the flap as her bookmark! Eeek! And there has been many times that I get in her car and there is books in the floor! This year I have hardly let her borrow anything. I always wait until she buys them herself to mention that I have them or I tell her I have it on my Kindle. lol
    I never have a problem lending you or Angel books, but you are book people!

  13. I can completely relate to this post, and I think you were very generous (and brave) to lend out your signed book! I have such mixed feelings about this issue because I really do love to share books with friends and family, but I have had a few books returned in terrible condition. In fact, I loaned the book I am re-reading right now (Catching Fire) to my mom shortly after I first read it & at some point she ended up placing it next to a leaking bag of Chinese takeout. Ack!! So as I am rereading my scuffed and scrubbed and stained 1st edition copy of one of my favorite books, I can’t help having mixed feelings about having loaned it out. I am glad to have been able to discuss it with her, but part of me wishes I had just purchased an extra copy for her or even put a library hold on a copy for her.

    I think I’ve only loaned out signed books a handful of times, and most of those times I was a nervous wreck until the books were returned. With signed books that I was asked to loan out a lot, like Twilight, I finally just purchased a backup copy at a used bookstore so that I wouldn’t have to stress about my signed copy being destroyed. I am more likely to loan out signed books by authors who live in the NW (since I feel like there is a chance I may see them again), than I am to loan out my signed copies of books whose authors live elsewhere (such as my signed copy of The Demon’s Lexicon, since Sarah Rees Brennan lives in the UK).

  14. Love that you posted this today! I just, for the first time, loaned out an autogrpahed book (Rules of Attraction, Simone Elkeles)- up until a few months ago I never loaned out any books, afraid they wouldn’t come back, but then I realized that I had friends and faily who I wanted to share these books with.

    Today I loaned my cousin, who loves YA as much as I do, 15 of my books, including the signed ROA. She is about 2 months away from giving borth to her first daughter and is bored out of her mind at home alone- she needed some new books to love. So with a warning that I had to have them all returned, and with my name in big letters across the first page, I handed them over. I can’t wait until she reads them adn we can discuss!

  15. I don’t really like to share because I fear I will never get them back. But I do have a select friends who I trust to take care of my babies. Yes, I’m one of those people that keeps their books even if already read!

  16. I never share my signed copies (although I probably would with you and Lori because I know you would take care of them) but none of the ppl in my real life are readers like us, and I just wouldnt trust them with the signed books….lol.
    I do share the regular ones though, even though I’ve had to rebuy I couldn’t tell you how many because I don’t get them back…

  17. I don’t mind lending out my books. Hardly anyone really asks to borrow them so when someone does, I feel obligated to because then I have someone who’s actually reading something that I like. Of course when it came to lending out one of my signed copies, I really didn’t want to, but she really wanted to read it and she is one of my best friends. So basically I told her not to let anything happen to that book under pain of death. And she returned it in the same condition, so all was well!

  18. I only lend out books to people that I know where they live. haha That way I can always drive over and ask for it back.
    Most people I lend books to are book lovers themselves and take good care of them. The minute I get a book back from someone that isn’t in the same condition, they go on the do-not-lend list.

  19. Lending out books is very hard for me. They are like my children — I don’t actually have children yet. I am always aware of who has my books, though, because each and every one is so precious to me, signed or not. When I get a new book, I come home and sit and hold it just looking at it. Some people think I am absolutely insane, but I just love my books so, so much. Lending them out to another person who does not feel that way does not work. If I know that the person understands how I was raised to take care of the family encyclopedia set, then I might let them borrow one of my books. We had to wash and dry our hands very carefully before we could look at them. To this day, that set of books looks as new as the day we bought it. It’s 25 years old and out of date, but we were taught to respect that expensive set!

  20. I don’t own any signed books :( But I have had some very bad experiences lending out my normsl books. In some case the books have not come back (in one case I heard that her cat ate the book). These days I will not offer to let anyone borrow a book. If I am asked, I will let the book go but with the idea that I will not see it again.;)

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