Depending on the course you study, you may have a lot of required reading. Once you’ve accounted for each of your modules, you can find yourself with a tall stack at the bookstore. And that doesn’t come cheap! Here are some ways you can get all the books you need without breaking the bank. After all, as we all know, any way that students can save money on books is a good thing.
The Buddy System
If you have a student mentor, they are most likely on the same course as you and have completed your year already. Ask them or other people you know on your course if they still have their copies of the readings: they may be willing to sell them on to you. You can also scope out Facebook groups or groupchats for your course.
You might be able to find the books you need secondhand. If it’s a popular enough book you might find it at a regular secondhand bookstore in your area. Otherwise, check out your university bookstore. Some have a secondhand section exactly for this purpose, where you will find the prices marked down. This is a great way to save money and still be able to have a personal copy that you can annotate.
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If you don’t mind reading the book through a screen, you can most likely find a digital copy which will cost you less than a physical copy. Many textbooks are available as a purchasable pdf from the publisher, or on Kindle. These have the added bonus of being able to search for keyphrases, which can be handy. Be careful of eye strain, though.
If you don’t want or need to own the book permanently, university libraries are a great resource to use. Most of them are required to have a stock of every text that is taught. Copies are limited, however, and can often be snatched up by other people on your course, since they’re on the same schedule. Borrow your copy at least a few days in advance of when you need it, to reduce the risk of waitlists that run past your deadlines.
If your university library doesn’t have a copy available, your local public library might. Check their website or pop by in person and ask the librarian — they’re a friendly bunch! Plus, if you haven’t been already, it’s always great to see what your local library has to offer, and maybe pick up some side reading while you’re at it.
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