Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)


The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow:

Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down,
Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town;
Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply
Another as good to the mind and the eye.
With right and with reason you need but be friends,
And each book in my study your pleasure attends.


If thou art borrowed by a friend,
Right welcome shall he be,
To read, to study, not to lend,
But to return to me.

Not that imparted knowledge doth
Diminish learning’s store;
But books, I find, if often lent,
Return to me no more.


Read slowly, pause frequently, think seriously, keep clean, RETURN DULY, with the corners of the leaves not turned down.


Hayes, Kevin J. (1997). Folklore and Book Culture.

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

11 thoughts on “Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

  1. Love it. Particularly love this line: “Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down.” With the edition of suggesting a bookmark is the best way to mark your place.


  2. Love these 😀
    I can’t say I like lending books, but then again, I’m not so careful with them myself. I love seeing a dog-eared book of mine and remembering the late nights spent reading, but God forbid you dog-ear MY book…
    I guess this post has exposed my hypocrisy. Yikes.


  3. I never lend my books. If it’s one I’m not really fond of, I’ll give my copy to someone, but if it’s a favorite, and I really want someone to read it, I’ll find a used copy somewhere and give that to them.


  4. When I was a kid I wrote in my books: “If this book should ever roam, give it a kick and send it home.” Then I wrote my name and sometimes my address. I think it was my father who taught me that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was young I read many books, but then I have no time or rest to read. Last time I bought a book was for sure 12-15 years ago, John Grisham´s The Broker. I have still not open it!😄😄😄

    Liked by 1 person

What's On Your Mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s