How to save money on academic books

How to save money on academic books
How to save money on academic books

Textbooks are a prerequisite to any university course but you don’t need to buy them anymore because there are ways in which to get them for free or more cheaply by going digital.

Review of academic e-book providers




VitalSource claims to have 90% of all core textbooks in use today as e-textbooks as well as the largest collection of course materials

Cannot highlight the text or create flashcards
24/7 access to e-textbooks and e-course materialsCannot collaborate online with other students
Can access via laptops, many tablets and smartphones with or without an internet connectionCannot review book and course materials before purchase
Save up to 80% compared to the price of print textbooks 
Can search for books by ISBN, Author or Title 

UK Survival Service for international students

Kindle e-textbooks 



Rent or buy academic textbooks and have them on multiple devices, including the Kindle eBook reader


You have to buy a Kindle
Get access to 1,000’s  of e-textbooks for FREE if you subscribe to Student Prime Textbooks may not come with the same supporting learning aids as the printed version of the textbook
The app allows you to highlight words and sentences in different colours which you can then categorise and save. These highlights can also be converted into flashcardsCannot review book and course materials before purchase
Can carry all your textbooks all the time on your preferred deviceTextbooks are only available in English
Search for book by ISBN, Author or Title 
Can download books 24/7 

ibooks textbooks on ipad



Top education publishers are creating textbooks for iPad

You have to have or buy an ipad as well as buy the books

Download a sample before making purchase

Cannot share study notes with others

Interactive diagrams, image galleries and videos. No longer limited to static pictures to illustrate the text

Not all academic books are available

Highlight text, take notes within ipad and get chapter reviews to make learning easier


Search and glossary function


Alerts when publishers update content with free download of new material


Cheaper than buying the hard copy of the books


Free Learning Resources


A fun way to learn philosophy, biology, chemistry, economics, health, math, history, physics, and sociology via quizzes, videos and study guides. Sparknotes also summarise pieces of literature and poetry


If you rather listen to a book than read it, then check out LibriVox. The website has 100s of free books for you to download that have been read by volunteers. Plus, you can volunteer to read a book too!


Want to access all the great resources from your local library from the comfort of your laptop, then check out Overdrive, which has the resources of 30,000 libraries across the world. It allows you to access e-books, audiobooks, and e-magazines at a library near you. All you need is a valid library card number.

Open Library

Open Library lists every book – whether in-print or out-of-print, in the world. You can access the whole book for free if it is in the public domain and without copyright or find out where you can buy it.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has digitalized 1000’s of books that you can access completely free of charge

Google books

Read and download academic textbooks from around the world from the collection of 25 million books that have been digitalised by Google books