Buy early – plan ahead and avoid buying just before classes begin because prices rise when supplies begin to decrease. Textbooks sell fast and furiously over a short period of time, so the best prices can be found early when the numbers of books online is far greater.

Ask professors to supply reading lists as early as possible. Buying early not only allows you to buy the cheapest option available, but also choose a slower, less expensive method of postage.

Buy secondhand – secondhand textbooks offer large savings and it is not hard to find significant savings of £25 or more on list prices. It’s possible to find books at less than £5 if you are prepared to use a book that is several years old.

Consider older editions as they offer massive savings on list prices – if there have been no major updates to your subject (eg biology, chemistry) then an older edition will be fine. Contact course professors and simply ask if an older edition will suffice – some courses change very little over the years.

Consider international edition* textbooks. An international edition is a textbook that has been published outside of the UK and can be drastically cheaper than the UK edition.

* The publishers of International Editions generally do not authorize the sale and distribution of International Editions in the UK and such sale or distribution may violate copyrights and trademarks of the publishers of such works.

Use the ISBN for rapid searching. Every book published since 1970 has an ‘International Standard Book Number’ (it used to be a 10-digit unique number but is now 13-digit) and searches by ISBN locate the exact book and disregard titles with similar names.

Free postage – Look for the growing number of independent booksellers offering free postage on new and secondhand textbooks.

Don’t write on textbooks as it helps keep its value for resale. (It’s also possible to sell textbooks at through its very competitive textbook buyback scheme that includes free postage.)

Compare our prices to bookshop prices. Our stock changes hourly and we often have the cheapest options available.

Double up – most booksellers offer reduced postage on orders of multiple textbooks (check the bookseller’s terms and conditions)

Sell your old textbooks back using AbeBooks buyback scheme once you’re finished with them. It’s easy to use, postage is free, and payment is quick.


Looking for more ways to save? Check out our other Student Lifestyle pages:

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