Open Thread

by epi on August 18, 2011

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like.  We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin August 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have just found out that I will not have any money to purchase my twenty textbooks for my graduate class, starting this fall. While I was able to find seven of twenty textbooks at the school library, I still need thirteen more textbooks for which I have no funds. I do have access to a scanner, though. Would it be rude, or unethical, to ask to borrow classmates textbooks so that I may scan them? Since they have paid for their textbooks, I am not sure how it will look if I am scanning their textbooks, thereby, utilizing their resource for free.


Just Laura August 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

Grad school can be very expensive. I suggest offering to toss a couple of dollars their way.
Have you tried other resources? Google Books (free when available), Amazon (free shipping for students last I checked),, eBay, Craigslist


Winifred Rosenburg August 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

Copyright law actually has an exception for education purposes so no, it would not be unethical. I don’t think it would be rude to ask to borrow their books so long as you show gratitude. You may also want to try requesting that the library acquire the remaining books. All libraries have forms you can ask for to suggest what books they obtain. (I was a library assistant for several years so I know a little bit about the subject.)


Alicia August 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

Have you considered interlibrary loan?


Pam August 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I am a public librarian…ask both your school library and your public library about interlibrary loan. It may take a week or 2 to hear back about their ability to obtain those titles for you to check out. Also, there may be copies at other nearby colleges or placed on reserve at your current college. You may not be able to check them out if they are on reserve, but you could at least get your readings done in the library.


Alicia August 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Also ask your profs. Often profs have duplicate copies of the books they use or one that is just as good that is a year old. In college I worked in my majors department and found out I could borrow from the teachers copies of the books when needed often.


R. August 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

While copyright law does have exceptions for educational purposes, you need to check if the books you want to copy are on that list and typically, there’s a limit as to how much of it you can copy.

To add to Just Laura’s suggestions, there are many sites out there who sell used textbooks so you may try googling the title and edition that you need with a keyword like “buy used.” I also like the suggestions of asking if the library will acquire the other titles.

Are you able to get a student loan? Take money out of your RRSP (not sure what they’re called in the US) for educational purposes? Is postponing graduate school an option if finances are too stretched? Hope it works out for you.


E Moore August 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

My husband brother’s family feels the need to have separate grouping of people at different events that they organize. Meaning their immediate family and friends are served / enjoyed (usually stated on the invitation) several hours before the other family members are to arrive. This has happen at the (brother/wife) wedding, baby showers, christmas, other events. What is your take on this? Tired of being treated like 2nd class citizens by this one family’s sibling family.


Winifred Rosenburg August 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

I wouldn’t like it either. The only way to reprimand him would be to stop accepting his invitations, which may or may not be an option for you.


Laura L August 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

Actually, it IS against copyright law to copy the book. Even educators have to fill out forms to make copies of copyrighted materials for use in class. (Or at least they are legally supposed to). The best option may be to try websites, as someone else mentioned, or actually share a book with a classmate. I did that in law school a couple of times. I had the book for the first half of the week and would do my week’s worth of reading during that time and the other girl had it the second half of the week. That way the book cost us half as much!


Jenny August 18, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I’ve gone the route of getting textbooks from the library too. Just keep in mind that people may put a hold on the texts and watch out that they have the right editions! I would check out how many copies are available or available on interlibrary loan-just in case someone has the book out. You definitely don’t want to be stuck without the book or the wrong edition. Also, I would talk to the instructor, sometimes they are contributors to the book or actually have written the textbook-they might be willing to lend you one. Also, check out Craigslist-maybe you can do a trade of something you used last semester for the texbook you need.


Walker August 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I have been divorced almost a year and a half. My ex is getting remarried next weekend. We have two young daughters who will be flower girls in the wedding. They like their father’s fiance and so do I. My girls are excited about the wedding and their new step-mother. My ex and I have had some contentious moments in our divorce and the aftermath, but we try very hard to be considerate and sensitive to each other. I am doing a fair amount to help out with the kids on the wedding weekend. My question is, should I help the kids get a present for their dad and his bride? We both help the kids get gifts for each other for birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s/Father’s Day.


Winifred Rosenburg August 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Yes, that would be a lovely thing to do.


Alicia August 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Absolutely help the kids get a wedding gift for their Dad and stepmother to be. It is a classy and kind thing that will make your kids feel better.


Kath August 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

My brother recently got engaged. His fiance is sweet and wonderful and I couldn’t be happier for them, but I am dreading being asked to be a bridesmaid. They both are much younger than me, so at the time of their wedding, I will be about 40, while the rest of the wedding party will be in their mid 20s. They haven’t made any decisions about the wedding or attendants yet, but I anticipate that the fiance will feel obligated to ask me to be a bridesmaid and I will feel obligated to say yes. I would be more comfortable with another role, such as doing a reading during the ceremony, but would it be horrible for me to say that?


Just Laura August 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Why couldn’t you say, “Thanks so much, but I’d be more comfortable…. is that okay with you”?
Most brides would rather have a happy reader than an unhappy bridesmaid.


Alicia August 19, 2011 at 7:51 am

Ettiquette wise it is not horrible or even bad to say you would prefer another role. Realistic family dynamics could be different. Think about what your family dynamics are before hand. In theory it is fine but in my family and I know a few other families it would be the biggest insult possible to the bride.


Nina August 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

Kath, I can suggest something a friend of mine said when (I think) she felt herself in a similar situation. I had just told her that I was engaged and she said, “Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet? Are you going to have your university friends or your childhood friends or both?” Thus she clearly, and gently, implied that she didn’t think it appropriate for me to ask her, though she was still very enthusiastic about the whole project. If you can gently deflect in this way *before* you are asked, it might work out very easily–but it would depend upon the dynamic of the relationship.


Stephen August 24, 2011 at 5:03 am

I feel that it would be against the copyright laws to copy the entire books. However, it might be OK to copy excerpts from them. It is probably unlikely that the entire book is used in its entirety with all of those required books. I agree about inter-library loan, as well as there may be other ways to to obtain the books cheaper. Perhaps you could search for a used copy on E-bay or something. Also, renting the book might be a cheaper option through or something. You might also look into seeing if a previous student would donate you their used books for the course. Another option would be to explain to the professor that you don’t have much money and see if there is one or more you can leave out or if some of them you might not need till later in the course and split out the purchases so there is not as many to buy at once. Another option might be to find a study partner and maybe you could share books and study together.


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