Shop for textbooks form-letter

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:


[#include CLASSES/CRN’s/Sections]


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:

  1. Have you or the department chosen a book for the class already?
  2. Will said textbook be on reserve at the library? If so, what locations and where?
  3. 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.)
  4. Is a previous edition of the book acceptable for the class?
  5. Does one of your current students have a copy of the book that they would be willing to sell/trade/donate?
  6. Will there be a copy of the textbook/dvd/materials on reserve at the library or anywhere else?
  7. 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.







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.

Happy hunting!