How to save money on all your University course books

Heading to university? These tips will help you save money on all your course books for the year ahead

It’s only upon receiving the (long) reading list ahead of the start of university, do most students realise how costly textbooks really are.

But there are some simple and effective ways to ensure you get all the books you need, and have a little extra cash to splurge down the Student Union come Fresher’s Week.

From taking advantage of student promotions to opting for pre-owned copies, we’ve come up with some top tips to tackle the dreaded university textbook shop.

Buy used textbooks

It’s a no brainer. The best and simplest way to save on textbooks is by picking up some secondhand bargains – margin notes, dog-eared corners and all.

These are a few online retailers worth initially checking as they offer a wide selection of books, covering a range of subjects:, eBay, Abebooks, Fatbrain, Biblio and SellStudentStuff. Gumtree is home to less savvy sellers, too.

It’s also worth doing some online research and tracking down some good independent secondhand book sellers in your local area too.

Sign up to Amazon Student – 10% off

The premium Amazon Student subscription service offers a multitude of benefits, including unlimited one-day delivery, access to Amazon video and music streaming services, and early access to flash lightning deals.

But the added bonus is you also get 10% off selected textbooks, which means you can bulk buy all your textbooks and save a small fortune to squander on booze and late night Dominos during Fresher’s Week.

You can sign up for a free six-month trial, after that period subscribers have an opportunity to cancel. Or you have the option to pay £39 for an annual subscription or £3.99 a month.

Abuse your student discount

With discounts of at least 10% from major high street retailer’s like WH Smith , Waterstones and Foyles . It is worth holding out until you get your student card before buying all your reading list and textbooks for the year ahead.

Waterstones also offer a student reward scheme where you can earn points as you spend too. For every £1 you spend they’ll give you 10 points.

Opt for eBooks

With the rise in popularity of Amazon’s Kindle and portable tablet devices, choosing to get books via an e-reader is both a practical and thrifty way to reduce the cost on book.

This is especially true if you’re doing a subject like English Literature, which requires lots of reading of popular fiction and poetry texts.

Many retailers also offer e-books at a fraction of the price of their print counterparts, and it’s a lot easier to search through segments of a novel or textbook digitally. Double win.


Major bookseller Blackwells offers a textbook rental service , where you can either pick up books from store or get them delivered to you.

The rentals can last from 30 to 90 days at a time, and you can renew online, saving you up to 66% off compared to the cost of buying.

VitalSource will loan you an electronic version of textbooks for up to a year, for up to 50% less than buying the text new.

Join all the major libraries in your nearest city

Joining a number of major local libraries will most certainly save you in times of need.

Especially when you can’t get hold of that one book you really need from the on-campus library.

Before you part with your cash

If you are going to purchase your books from any website or business that accepts gift cards, you can save additional money by purchasing gift cards at a discount on the Zeek website.







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