The other day when I wrote my article on how to properly shop for textbooks, someone wrote in and told me that I should include a form letter as most people are too afraid to contact their professors directly.
Really? Ok. Sure. I already made it, so all I have to do is copy-pasta the result.
Dear Professors of [YOUR SCHOOL],
My name is John Grillo and I will be taking your classes’ next term. Specifically, I am planning on the following courses:
I have already taken the time to look up for the books for next term to see what is available. Not all the classes have books assigned to them yet.
So I would like to respectively ask all of you:
- Have you or the department chosen a book for the class already?
- Will said textbook be on reserve at the library? If so, what locations and where?
- Is this book truly necessary for the class? (I ask because I know professors are pressured to choose books even if they don’t need one. Sometimes the books are purely optional; for example, one seasoned professor preferred their own handouts.)
- Is a previous edition of the book acceptable for the class?
- Does one of your current students have a copy of the book that they would be willing to sell/trade/donate?
- Will there be a copy of the textbook/dvd/materials on reserve at the library or anywhere else?
- Is there anything else you feel I should know? (Examples: “My course will have two books and they are ”XXXXXX” and “YYYYY and you must have both”; “Sure, here are the first 3 assignments so you can knock yourself out and be ahead of the class.”; “Attending my class is optional, but my class has a pizza party every Friday so you should come by. Bring a liter of Mountain Dew with you, ‘aight?”)
Now, I have a couple of questions for you that aren’t textbook related and would appreciate your input.
#include SPECIAL QUESTIONS. Read their profiles if you get a chance.
Thank you very much.
YOUR NAME HERE
And there you have it, the perfect form-letter that you can mail your teachers/professors. Of course, keep in mind that if the answer to your form-letter is “No,” or silence, then send them links and resources for free and open source textbooks. Have a great open source textbook ideas/resources? Let me know.