Buying books on a budget

Buying the textbooks for a university course can rapidly become an expensive pastime.  Here are our top tips for making your money go as far as possible.

Visit libraries and bookshops

There are likely to be only a few texts for any course that you are expected to buy.  Save your money for these.  Between the University Library and sometimes the public library service, you can usually find almost everything else you want to read. If we don't have something in stock, we might well be able to get it.  Please ask!  We try to buy anything recommended for you to read as an ebook.

Be selective

Where a book Reading lists usually list 2-3 different textbooks that are recommended. Check out library copies of each text and decide for yourself which you like best and then buy that one. In the unlikely event that the library does not stock a copy, try to find a Google Books or Amazon Inside the Book preview. You may find that you have a very visceral liking or dislike for different texts. This is normal and healthy - make sure you buy the book you most like so you will actually want to read it afterwards!

Shop around

In addition to local second-hand bookshops, many online booksellers compete for your custom. No one of these will always be the cheapest supplier.  Consider using a price comparison site to make the most of your money.  We have put together a list of just some of the online book retailers and book price comparison sites you might consider to get you started.

Share and share alike

If you have friends on your course, you could all collaborate to save money by sharing textbooks between yourselves, taking turns with each book. If you have each read different books, you could also share your understanding, discuss issues, and exchange hints and tips on what you found useful. You could even form a study group in person or online. You might also benefit from friends in other years via course sites – look out for second-hand texts on sale (remember to check the edition before agreeing a price) and recommendations from students who have completed your units.