It is estimated that the average student will spend around £300 on textbooks and stationary for 2014-15, however, you can make the prices you pay out of pocket plummet if you know a few insider tricks. Get better value for your money by knowing where to shop – save that extra cash for shots at the Union!


Barnardo’s Books:

This little shop on Bell Street (near Bella Italia) has saved my friends and I possibly hundreds of pounds. Particularly good for English Literature and other Humanities subjects, they provide second hand books at minimal prices. The staff is great too – tell them your subjects and modules and they’ll direct you to the necessary shelves. Make sure to bring a copy of your module’s reading list and stock up for the semester. This would be my first resort, but be organised because they run out of key books a few weeks into the semester due to demand.


Amazon + Online:

Amazon, again, has been a huge money saver in the past. If your courses don’t require edition-specific textbooks (a devious way to make students buy full-price), definitely try to source them using the used/second hand options available. I’ve bought required novels for about £1! Even if you do need a specific edition or version, check online anyway.

Moreover, check online for other textbooks retailers who sell new and used textbooks cheaper than in the shops. AbeBooks is particularly good; it has a very specific search function and low prices.


Other Students

If you’re on the ball, then your fellow students can be a good way to find well priced, edition-specific books – perhaps with some handy annotations written in! You can often find these books through student advertising on the noticeboards of some of the student halls or online in many different Facebook groups.


The Library

I know, I know, this sounds like an obvious one, but, for some subjects, a few editions of your textbooks may be available. This is a particularly good option if you only need the book for a few weeks of your course, and – with the near month lending times of the library – you can check it out for free for the time you require it instead of needlessly spending money buying your own copy. However, to avoid being caught out, check that the library stocks the textbook before you need it!



Blackwell’s should be sought after if you’re truly at the end of your quest for well-priced books. I would really recommend Blackwell’s only you have to get edition-specific books that you can’t find anywhere else, especially if the reading list has is new and there are no current editions available anywhere else in town. Due to its affiliation with the University, the allure of Blackwell’s is more the ease and peace of mind that you’ll get all the correct resources.


It may require some extra effort and shopping around, but doing your research can save you lots of money – all the better for less financially guilty purchases at Dervish and the Vic!


Ellen Ridsdale