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The Risky Business of Lending Books

Have you ever lent out a book to a friend (or a family member, or an ex) and they never gave it back? And you don’t know how to get it back? And you reeeeaally want to get it back? Then this episode of the Dear Book nerd podcast is for you! The wonderful and wise Ryan Chapman and I discuss the pitfalls of lending out your books, what it means to be a responsible book borrower, strategies on how to get your precious items back, and much more. (Plus, I make some shocking confessions of my own.) Don’t miss it!

This episode was sponsored by Oyster.


Questions Discussed:

1) Dear Book Nerd,

I am hoping you can help me. One of my goals in life has been to accumulate enough books to create a library in my home and so far I have amassed hundreds of books, which I take pride in. All of my friends know me as the book nerd and come to me for recommendations or to borrow books. I have no problem loaning out books to my friends but, unfortunately, they don’t always make it back to me. It has gotten to the point that I will no longer lend books I have but haven’t read yet for fear I will never get it back and have to buy it again. I love my books and I want to share but I’d love some recommendations on how to get them back. Should I be the annoying friend that asks if they’ve finished the book yet or should I just accept the fact the loaning books comes at a risk? What has your experience been like when loaning out books? Thanks for your advice and great podcast!

Amanda K.

1A) Dear Book Nerd,

Help! I’ve lost my first edition of Harry Potter. How do you get a book you’ve lent out back from someone whom you’re not friends with anymore?


2) Dear Book Nerd,

I spilled soda all over a copy of World War Z. I bought a replacement copy (since I’d borrowed it from a friend), but the book dried up good as new: no smell, no sticky pages. I’ve offered both copies to the original owner (in case he has an emotional attachment to his copy), but I’m afraid the book will attract bugs. I’m also concerned that the books miraculous recovery from certain doom represents a return from the dead and it will soon begin devouring the brains of other nearby books. Should I eliminate this book? If so, how does one vanquish an undead book? I’m assuming fire will be of no use.

Sleeping with one eye open,

Butterfingers from Bayside

Links Discussed:

How to Get Back Books You’ve Loaned Out by Alison Peters

What Not to Do With Books (According to Kids)

McGraw-Hill’s Careers for Bookworms And Other Literary Types (2009)

Dear Book Nerd: Help! I Need a Book-Related Job

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (Atavist Books)


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Do you have a bookish question about life, love, or literature for Dear Book Nerd? Fill out the form below or email me Don’t be shy, ask away!