Varsity textbooks are known for being ridiculously expensive sometimes. While we can’t tell you why this is the case, we can give you a few more budget-friendly alternatives.

Buy them second hand

Getting your textbooks second hand can save you a lot of cash, and there are a few different ways you can find the ones you need. You can post the titles you’re looking for on social media, community Facebook groups, or even group chats. Another way is to put up a notice on your varsity noticeboard and around campus.

One more way is to visit a re-seller or second-hand textbook shop. Look around for ones in your area and even if they don’t have what you’re looking for, give them your details and tell them to contact you if they get a copy in.

Share books with a classmate

Chances are, if you’re struggling to pay for your books, at least one of your classmates is in the same boat. You can go 50/50 with a friend and share the textbook with them for the year. If you both need the same book section at the same time, then you can just photocopy what you need. This will save both of you some cash, and it’s easier to do than you think - just make sure you pair up with someone reliable!

Get older/different editions

If you can’t afford the latest, most updated version of a textbook, some older versions of it or even different editions, can do. Just note that if you get a different edition to the one that the lecturer is working off of, this may affect your ability to read along in class as the page numbering and text may be a bit different. It’s a good idea to consult with your lecturer prior to purchasing a different or older edition, but it’s an alternative that can save you some cash.

Find downloadable versions online

There are many sites where you can download textbooks for free. You can search your varsity’s online library, or visit sites such as Library Genesis.

If you’re going down the downloading route, it’s good to remember that it can be risky in terms of downloading from unknown and potentially untrustworthy sites. Make sure you have AdBlocker on your browser, and an updated antivirus installed on your computer. Also, remember that not all of these downloads are necessarily legal.

Textbooks for varsity don’t have to be a source of financial stress for you. There are many alternatives to buying them brand new, so look around and you’ll eventually find the best one for your needs. Good luck!

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