A desk copy is a gratis copy of a book that is required for a course taught by a professor, lecturer, graduate student instructor, and/or teaching assistants.

Desk copies are not available through the university bookstore. A desk copy can be ordered from the publisher for the use of the teacher of the course, as well as for the teaching assistants.

In almost all cases, desk copies can be ordered online, by email, or by fax. While each publishing company is slightly different in the way they request information, most of them request the same standard information. (Note: Some publishing companies require that you order your desk copy on department letterhead. Electronic copies of department letterhead can be requested from the department office.)

Locating the “Desk Copy” Link on the Publisher’s Website

In most cases, you can find the web page that describes the publisher’s directions for ordering desk copies by googling “[publisher’s name] desk copies.” Often the section on the publisher’s website that tells you how to order desk copies is in a section called “academic services,” “academic resources,” or “desk and exam copies.”

Information Required by Publishing Companies

  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
  • Desk copy quantity
  • Course name and course number
  • Semester that book is being used
  • Expected enrollment of course
  • Name of bookstore and bookstore phone number: Barnes and Noble Johns Hopkins, 410-662-5850
  • Is this a required text?
  • Has this book been ordered for the class through your school bookstore?
  • First and last name of recipient of desk copy
  • Email address of recipient
  • School and department
  • Street address, city, state, zip

Note About Publishing Companies

Many original standalone publishing companies have been purchased by larger publishing houses. One example is Random House, which now oversees titles from Doubleday, Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, Anchor, Everyman Library, etc. If you are having trouble finding online directions for ordering desk copies from certain publishing companies, do some searching to see if they are now part of a larger publishing conglomerate.

Other information

Other Macmillan companies: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Hill & Wang; North Point Press; Faber & Faber; Henry Holt; Metropolitan Books; Times Books; Picador; St. Martin’s Press Trade; St. Martin’s Griffin; Tor/Forge; and Golden Guides from St. Martin’s Press.

Other Random House companies: Doubleday, Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, Anchor, Everyman Library