Sales of Examination Copies of Textbooks
Several members of the faculty and staff have received emails from book buyers offering to purchase their textbooks and instructor’s editions. As you know, a ruling of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission states: “Accepting as personal property free desk copies of textbooks and newspapers valued at $40 or more is a violation of the State of Kansas conflict of interest laws." (See https://www.kansas.gov/ethicsopinion/opinion/view/1005.)
The ruling specifically permits faculty to accept examination copies valued at $40 or more “on behalf of the state and have them become state property.” Thus, when you receive free books from publishers, you may retain them as you normally do. Unless the book is valued at more than $5000, there is no requirement that it be entered into the inventory of state property. You are free to use the book just as you would have done prior to the ruling.
The ruling does make clear, however, that you become a custodian of state property rather than owner of the book. Thus, you are not free to sell or give away the book, as doing so would constitute selling or giving away state property. If you leave the employ of the State of Kansas, you are not free to take examination copies with you. The proper way to dispose of examination copies is to box them and leave them in your office when you are preparing to move. The boxes should be labeled, “Deliver to Content Development, Watson Library.” Library staff will retain the books for the collection or dispose of them through an accepted method.
This information is also available in the KU Policy Library at http://policy.ku.edu/provost/exam-textbook-copies.
Mary Lee Hummert
Vice Provost for Faculty Development
Professor, Communication Studies