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It’s the start of the new academic year. University students around the country will be settling in and many will spend the first few weeks partying. But soon the hard work will start in earnest, with the release of coursework, timetables and lectures. This is also a time when students get their book lists. Book lists are recommended reading, ensuring that students are working from the same sources and covering the same learning objectives.

It can be expensive to buy everything from your book list so if you’re a student, find out how you could save on course books.

Borrow them

Course books can be very expensive, often costing £40 or more each. That’s why it’s important to find ways to get the ones you need without spending a small fortune.

The first place to start finding books is the university library. Universities are very well equipped, with extensive libraries and state of the art research facilities. However, they are very busy places, with many students needing the same information at the same time. That’s why some books can be difficult to get hold of. You may find that if you don’t reserve certain books early, you can be left waiting weeks to read what you really need.

Don’t just search one library – try to access it through several sources at the time as backup.

Rent your books

Rather than having to buy a book that you will use for a few weeks or months, why not use rental services? Blackwell’s specialise in academic books for students with a fantastic service that enables you to rent textbooks for 30, 60, or 90 days.

It’s a simple process of ordering and paying online. Pick up and drop off your order in store or via post. Make sure to return books on time to avoid fines. Allow enough time for the books to get back in time if you’re posting them. This service could save you up to 66% of the cost of studying, so it’s worth having a look.

Buy used books

Second hand books are one of the best and simplest ways to save money. Savvy readers get the use out of their books and sell them on. It’s a good way of getting some money back and saving on storage space too. It means readers pick up a great bargain especially if they don’t mind the odd tatty cover or a few notes in them.

Shop online from Amazon, eBay or Adebooks, and search other independent sellers, and local second hand stores too. Many universities hold their own book sales and fairs, so grab a bargain when you can.

Sign up to Amazon Student UK

Tempted by Amazon Student? If you sign up, you can take advantage of their 10% off selected textbooks until 16 October. Buy them in bulk – especially while your bank balance is healthy – and sell them on at the end of the year to get some money back.

Make use of discount and reward cards

Dig out your student card and NUS Extra card to get 10% off high street retailers such as Waterstones, Foyles and WH Smith. Also, make use of any reward schemes offered for students. 


eBooks can be another great way of saving, with publications being a fraction of the cost of their print version. It’s a practical and flexible way to read if you own a Kindle. It allows you to search through sections of a novel or textbook digitally, saves on storage and carrying heavy books around.

Son or daughter just started university? Make sure you share our blog with them so they can get the best value on their university course books. 

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