Law books just want to be free

One of the things that has suprised me most about becoming a law professor is the quantity of free material everybody suddenly wants to send me. Representatives from every imaginable legal publisher send me copies of a dozen different books or supplements each month.

Not that I’m complaining. I enjoy being catered to, the free books are nice, and I even manage to read a few of them. But a large (and growing) stack of them are ones that I’ll probably seldom, or never, even open. And like Christine, I’m starting to wonder just how much my own stack of never-gonna-open-em books contributes to the $100 price tag of law books. Is it more than Ian Ayres’ $10?

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5 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    If you feel guilty, feel free to send me any of your securities, corporations, and criminal law books. I’ll pay the shipping, and you won’t let the books go to waste. I’m kidding … well, come to think of it … what do you have lying around? ;^>

  2. Joe Liu says:

    How do folks feel about re-selling extra copies of these casebooks? Every so often, folks come through the hallways, offering to buy up extra complimentary copies for later resale. I never gave this much thought, until a colleague (who happens to be a casebook author) said that he didn’t sell his extra books b/c each sale deprived a casebook author of a potential royalty.

    That’s probably true. At the same time, there is no legal restriction on the resale of books and there is, of course, a robust secondary market for used books, which generates no royalties for authors. Plus, it seems a waste to simply throw the book away when a student might have use for it.

    Still, my colleague’s comment has troubled me, so I have been letting the books pile up in my office, unwilling to either sell them or throw them away.

  3. Eric Goldman says:

    Joe, your comment REALLY makes me wonder how large your office is! Eric.

  4. Kaimi says:

    I have donated a few to the library for use as reference copies. They continue to stack up. I’ve given thought to donating some of the more marketable ones to some student organization or other, for use in a fundraising auction. I suspect that copies of Klein Ramseyer would move pretty quickly at auction.

  5. Mike says:

    a colleague (who happens to be a casebook author) said that he didn’t sell his extra books b/c each sale deprived a casebook author of a potential royalty.

    So the professor, in order to get help others receive a $10 benefit, is willing to let a student suffer a $100 cost. I’m as much a capitalist as the next guy, but that disregard for students (who, I suspect, need $100 more than than casebook authors need $10) astounds me.