Do you need to buy books at university?

Do you need to buy books at university?

When you first join university you will find yourself faced with many additional costs and believe us they can soon mount up. One of those costs could potentially be course text books if you choose to buy them. Many of you might like the idea of having your own copy however here at Discuss we’re going to explore whether it is necessary and whether you could in fact save a few pennies.

First thing you need to consider is the cost text books as many university level text books come with a hefty price tag. The average price for a university textbook is around £50 but can obviously vary depending on the course. That is pretty pricey, especially if you are considering buying all the recommended reading books and remember they will be likely to change for each module!

You will also need to work out whether you can actually afford it from your student loan budget. This is where prioritising becomes important. You might find yourself sacrificing a night out or two to afford them but at the end of the day you are at university to achieve the best possible grade for yourself – don’t forget that!

Buying Second Hand
On the other hand (pun intended), we understand sacrificing nights out is not something you want to do so we have come up with an alternative you may like the sound of. Buying books second hand from Ebay/Amazon and even used book shops could save you a considerable amount of money if you are willing to sacrifice the quality of the book, aka it might be a little rough around the edges but at the end of the day the content is still the same.

If you speak to university lecturers most would probably recommend you that you need to buy different books for each module, to tailor your assignments however we don’t feel that is 100% necessary. Don’t get us wrong you could definitely benefit from having your own copy of the recommended reading books, but if you focus on buying just the core books of your subject area then you will be able to use them across multiple modules.

Most universities will have an extensive library that should be able to provide you with all the books you need and more, including your recommended reading list. This is the resource that most students choose to take advantage of, so that they don’t have to purchase the books. A downside to relying on the library can be that the book that you need might not be available for loan as other students are using it. Also if you prefer to work from home this could mean trekking across the other side of town to go and get that book and when motivation is low anyway this isn’t always the best.

Online resources
This is where your motivation gets revved straight back up again! Most university libraries now have an online platform where you can view books online, so as long as you have Wi-Fi there really is no excuse. This is great if you don’t want to be carrying around heavy books or want to find something fairly quickly.

There is also Google books, a resource provided by Google which allows you to view books that can be particularly useful as chances are it will have a different offering to your university. However only certain parts of a book can be viewed which can be an absolute pain in the bum when you’re just getting into the flow of things.

Latest editions
Most books have several editions so that the text and content of the book stays relevant and up to date.  If you’ve just forked out hundreds of pounds on books and then another addition becomes available you may feel the text you have is out of date. That isn’t always the case, as older additions can still be an extremely useful resource however if you prefer to use the later additions of books then we would recommend using the library and the online resources to ensure you always have access to the latest addition.

All in all it really is your choice whether you choose to buy books at university. They definitely are a worthwhile investment if you have the funds to afford to do it, especially if you can’t get to the library and have no access to wifi! But realistically how often is that the case? We recommend that you, if possible, invest your money in the core text books that you will be using throughout your degree and simply use the services the library has on offer for your modules.

If you are a current student why not pop to CU Coventry’s Library and Learning Services and stock up on all those essential books!