Man sat on floor in library reading red book

How To Get Cheap Books For Your English Course

Jasmyne Jeffery September 22, 2022

Starting an English course means having to buy a lot of books. However, it doesn’t have to break the bank and use all your student loan. It’s easy to get cheap books instead, and here’s how.

As someone who did an English course at uni, I know that the reading list can be as long as your arm. It always seemed a little unfair that, along with the £9,000 per year fees, you also had to fork out a load of books. It can cost a lot if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Don’t fret, there is a way to keep those extra costs down.

Library

There are cheap books, and then there are books for free. Your university fee includes the use of the library. My university library had thousands of books, and usually more than one copy of the books we studied. It’s definitely worth checking out before you buy any books that you might not read again anyway.

There are a couple of downsides in the ways of loans and temporality. Most libraries loan out books for a week or possibly two, but you might be studying them for longer than that. Often enough, it’s easy to renew your loan – some even have an electronic system to make it super easy. It’s still important to keep track of it so that you don’t get an accidental fine.

Also, obviously, the books from the library aren’t yours forever. I was someone who liked to make notes in my books as we studied them, to make revision easier. However, you can’t do that in a library book. If you write lightly enough in pencil then you might be able to rub it out, but the notes won’t be there for when you need them. If this isn’t a technique that you use, then it won’t be a problem.

Charity shops

As someone who loves perusing a charity shop, they can be your best friend when looking for books. Although there’s no guarantee they’ll have the books you need, there’s almost always a couple of Austens and Brontes at more than half the price you’d pay on Amazon.

They probably won’t have all the books that you need, but it’s definitely a start. Plus, you might find a few things you weren’t planning on buying too.

eBay

Just like Amazon, but undoubtedly cheaper. You’re more likely to find what you need compared to a charity shop, but the downside is that you can’t see the quality in person. Sites that sell on eBay, such as World of Books, offer secondhand books and free delivery. Plus, if the quality isn’t what you need, you can return it and get your money back.

Once you’re done with your books, you can sell them on eBay too! That’s if you haven’t littered them with notes as I did. The thought of buying them is a lot easier if you know that you can at least get a bit of money back once you’re done. While you might want to keep all your books, bookcases can quickly become filled with novels you know you won’t read again. A good end-of-year clear-out is a great way to add to summer funds.

Book Swap

Maybe not with the people on your course (as they’ll need the same books), but maybe with other people in your uni or even your roommates. A lot of the time, people use Facebook to sell textbooks, but that doesn’t exactly help when you need literature.

Ask around or put up a flyer. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest there will be. Even if you don’t get the books you need, it’s another great opportunity to rid the books gathering dust for ones you haven’t read before.

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Hello! My name is Jasmyne and I’m a soon-to-be graduate of English and Creative Writing at the University of South Wales. Originally from North Devon, I now love living in Cardiff. I’m really into my movement; an advocate for joyful movement. I spend my free time either reading, at the Wales Millennium Centre, or running around the city.