When Professors Want Free Copies

September 2009
by Steven T. Karris

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When Professors Want Free Copies

by Steven T. Karris

As a publisher of books for the academic market, I often get requests for free examination copies from teachers who say they are considering one of my company’s books for adoption, and I also often get requests for free desk copies from teachers who say they have adopted one of my company’s books as a text for their classes.

At Orchard Publications, we originally had a liberal policy for handling these requests, including some from other countries, but eventually we found that the number of free copies we were being asked to send out exceeded the number of copies we were selling.

Then, too, our requests for feedback were ignored, and in some instances teachers reneged on their assertions that a textbook of ours was to be adopted and an order from the college bookstore was imminent. (Surprisingly, some professors placed orders for some of our texts through their college bookstore before requesting a desk copy.)

I knew we needed to establish a policy for dealing with requests for free copies. In hopes that our experience will be useful to other publishers, I am summarizing my thinking and providing a sample response to requests below.

Points to Consider

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