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Fri, Oct. 4th, 2013, 11:39 am

Hello, I have a question about desk copies for professors. There are some books that a professor requested and he got them as free copies. He then brought them back saying he wanted to keep them. As far as I know there is no procedure that has to be done for this. He can just keep the books, correct? I don’t have to return these copies and actually pay for them when re-ordering? I don’t think he is going to be using them for classes but just in his personal library. I just want to make sure that I’m going about this process correctly.

Fri, Oct. 4th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)

So I've never heard of doing it that way. At the institutions I've worked at, if a prof wanted a personal desk copy, s/he would request it from the publisher directly with no library involvement; if a library faculty member wanted a desk copy, it would be ordered and cataloged, and it would be the property of the uni not the individual.

I guess it depends on, did you order the books through the library acquisitions funds for him? If so it would still likely be a copy of the uni/libraries. If not, and it was something he ordered himself then I guess it would be his.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Fri, Oct. 4th, 2013 09:36 pm (UTC)

For us if a faculty member wants a book they give us the information and we send it to the publisher. We’re a very small school. I thought that the desk copies that they requested were free copies from the publisher so they wouldn’t be using the library funds. I just started here and am not sure how it was ordered. Hmm, I guess I’ll have to look into that and see if money was spent on it. If so, then we will catalog it as part of the library, if not it can just be his personal copy.

Sat, Oct. 5th, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)

I used to work with desk and review copies as well. From what I could tell, most publishers will provide review copies for free. However, there were some publishers that would give you the book to review for a time period and if you didn't decide to adopt it, they'd expect you to either pay for it or return it. If I remember correctly, those usually came with an invoice right away.

That's why it was my policy to only order desk copies for established textbooks. If a professor wanted a review copy, they had to be a part of the committee looking to decide which book would work best for a certain class. Luckily, that was an easy policy for me to have because individual professors didn't make the textbook decision on their own and there would always be a committee. If there wasn't, then I knew it was a personal request.

If a professor just wanted to get a review copy to take a look at it, I would give them the contact information for the publisher/rep and they could order it on their own. I don't mind a professor trying to game the system but I didn't want to have to answer the questions that would come if I were the one abusing that review copy privilege. Publishers do watch that kind of thing. If there was a problem then I could send them directly to the person they had been shipping the books to.

To sum it up, you're probably in the clear but you may have to inform the professor that if the publisher tries to charge you, the books are going back or his department is paying for them.