With the college year starting again, Aidan O’Sullivan looks at affordable ways for students to purchase their book lists.
Amid university fees, an accommodation crisis and rising prices, buying books for your course can make you feel like your wallet is yet again being unfairly targeted. Despite what these rising costs may have you believe, money is a scarce resource, and saving is essential to living in Dublin. To this end, smart spending on your course booklist can be a simple way to save money.
The most apparent yet underutilised resource is the library. This includes not just the UCD libraries, but also the city and county libraries here in Dublin. Before spending any money, it’s a good idea to exhaust the library system first. One can find and register for their local library by visiting libraries.ie. Like using the Onesearch function to view the UCD catalogue, you can explore these libraries through their online pages. An important thing to consider when borrowing is the number of copies available. For books of short supply, a common problem facing students is that the book will be gone by the time they need it for their exam or essay. A good tip, if you need a specific quote, chapter or short story, is to borrow early and photograph the parts you need for later. Preparation is key to alleviating a lot of stress later on.
One can also apply for a reader’s ticket for the National Library of Ireland (NLI) on Kildare Street. This reference library is responsible for housing and preserving the history of Ireland. The library houses an impressive array of documents, books, manuscripts, music, and photographs and is a valuable resource for research. Items must be viewed in person and strict rules exist on their handling. Digital photography of collections is permitted but the guidelines for the safe handling of materials, as outlined on the NLI website, should be read first. A reader’s ticket allows access to all reading rooms as well as the Family History room. It is valid for three years and can be applied for online.
A reader’s ticket allows access to all reading rooms as well as the Family History room. It is valid for three years and can be applied for online.
In terms of buying physical books, the Campus bookshop does offer package deals for students, but their prices leave much to be desired. Thankfully, there is a great variety of second-hand options in Dublin, including The Last Bookshop on Camden Street Lower, Oxfam Books in Temple Bar and Rathmines, TB Books (Temple Bar), the first floor of Books Upstairs (D’Olier Street) and finally, the back section of Chapters Bookstore (Parnell Street). Unfortunately, none of these collections are available to be searched through online. The largest of these, the second-hand book section in Chapters, is being added to their online catalogue as we speak; however, it is an ongoing process. Your best bet is to visit these stores in person and ask a staff member for help. Also, remember to bring your student card as most of these stores will offer a student discount.
Your best bet is to visit these stores in person and ask a staff member for help. Also, remember to bring your student card as most of these stores will offer a student discount.
Suppose you are still struggling to find what you need. In that case, second-hand books are also available to purchase online from thebookshop.ie, an independent Irish bookseller in Tipperary, as well as from the UK-based book reseller World of Books (WOB). Thebookshop.ie delivers within the Republic from €4.70 and offers free delivery on orders over €20. WOB holds a far larger collection of second-hand books and offers free delivery to the Republic of Ireland. They have an extensive range available and grade their second-hand books from ‘well-read’ to ‘like new.’ Both stores buy books from excess stock from charities and resell them, making them good eco-friendly options. Other options include subscribing to services like Prime Reading and Perlego, which give access to a library of novels and textbooks for a monthly fee. Currently, Prime Reading is offering an initial free six months for students and then half price from then on, which amounts to a little over five euros per month. If you download the free Kindle app on your mobile device, you can highlight and annotate your books with these notes being stored on the app to look over with a click of a button. Perlego’s library is focused majorly on academic and non-fiction books for a monthly fee of €12.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is the pin-up boards in your respective UCD building. Often, former students or later years will be advertising the books they no longer need for your course. Buying and reselling books is a great way to make your money back after purchasing your course list.
Often, former students or later years will be advertising the books they no longer need for your course. Buying and reselling books is a great way to make your money back after purchasing your course list.
Nevertheless, if you are struggling financially, you should talk to your student advisors, who can advise you on applying for financial support and whether you are eligible for additional financial assistance. A list of student advisors and which department or school they belong to can be found under Staff Profiles - Student Advisors on the UCD webpage.
Now more than ever, it is important to make savings where possible. Hopefully, a little extra will be returned to your pocket rather than be taken from it.