Textbooks – we all need them, but they are sometimes so expensive. Whether you’re doing your A-levels or just starting university, the problem with having to pay hundreds of pounds for the textbooks you need still persists. I spent so much on my A-level textbooks, but for medical school, I’ve done a whole year and not bought a single textbook! And…I don’t intend to buy any at all.
Here are my top 3 suggestions to help get you around the awful problem of textbooks and money…
1. Share & borrow
The annoying things about textbooks are that you only need them for a short amount of time. If you’re doing your A-levels you’ll be done with the textbooks after 2 years (if not 1) Those of you starting med school will soon realise that you don’t ever need a whole textbook, you often just want to refer to a certain chapter, or look up a certain topic in many different textbooks.
So…use the library, borrow those that you need and after you’ve finished reading what you needed you won’t need to feel guilty for spending £100 on just a chapter you needed.
Sometimes it’s helpful if a few friends chip in and get a few textbooks together. You’re not likely to need a textbook absolutely ALL the time and this really will lift the burden of the cost from you!
2. Use online versions
This is the sole reason why I haven’t had to spend a single penny on a textbook this entire first year of university. Many textbooks are available for free online and quite often those that your course recommends, the university is able to provide you with online versions. We were recommended Moore’s Clinical Anatomy textbook for the first year and provided with the latest edition of the complete textbooks as a PDF for free! Definitely worth checking out which textbooks your institution is able to provide you with!
Also…the thing I absolutely LOVE about using online textbooks is that like I mentioned earlier, at medical school you quite often need a specific chapter or page and it saves so much time just being able to search for a word or the topic title rather than leafing through the contents and the index page of a hardcopy!
3. Used textbooks
If for some reason you’re quite adamant that you need a hard copy (even though online versions have now become my chosen preference) try contacting older year students and taking their old textbooks off their hands. You’ll save so much over getting a brand new one and really, a used textbook is no big deal!
About editions, if you can get a used 9th edition, rather than a brand new 10th edition, go for the 9th! There’s not going to be much difference from one edition to the next, so don’t worry if you can’t get the latest of the latest!
4. Textbook subscription services
This saves you having to buy a tonne of books at the start of term, spreading the cost, and gives you access to way more than the few you might have bought otherwise. You can highlight, annotate and cite the texts online and carry around 200,000+ without feeling any weight on your back