The Ultimate Guide to Textbook Buying

March 02, 2017


Buying textbooks is the bane of many students' existence. They can be expensive, time consuming and it can be difficult to even know if or when you need them. We’ll here’s a guide to cut through the whys and the wherefores of textbook buying

  1.  Prescribed vs recommended texts . There is often a great deal of confusion around prescribed and recommended texts. Do you need to buy both types? The short answer is, it depends. Generally speaking, prescribed texts are a mandatory part of your unit’s curriculum and you will most likely be at a disadvantage if you don’t purchase these ones. Recommended texts are those texts that are recommended you purchase them, in that the knowledge contained therein will add value but they may only provide background or supplementary knowledge, or a small component of the text may be relevant. How important recommended texts are to your learning  depends on your unit and your lecturer, so it’s a good idea to check this with your lecturer once classes commence. You may even find you don’t need them unitl later in the semester which can help with the impact on your wallet. 

  2. Where to Buy All textbooks on recommended or prescribed lists are available through the CDU Bookshop ( unless sold out or delayed by the publisher). We have direct communication with your lecturers and can tell you what you’ll need, plus we offer free shipping until census date of 31 March. We can also tell you which edition you need which is important as the info in the text can change with each new edition. So CDU Bookshop is a really good first stop. If you feel you can get it cheaper elsewhere though, do make sure you are getting the right edition of the text, as it can be confusing.

  3. Buying online. If you do purchase online, make sure you are purchasing the right edition of your text, and also check out the refund and returns policy. Also opt for a provider that offers free postage. CDU Bookshop offers returns on unopened items before census date and free shipping before census, so it pays to shop around. Or just come to us first!

  4. To buy or not to buy. Many students agonise about whether or not to buy the textbooks, and often leave it to late, meaning it might be sold out, or you might have missed valuable learning support as a result of not having your text. Whether you will need your text this semester or whether you can get away with not buying it, will really depend on your unit requirements. If you’re unsure, talk to your lecturer or unit coordinator as they will be the best person to help you decide. Don’t rely on feedback from past students or friends as the unit may have changed or have a different lecturer.
  1. Need to return it? If you do need to return your textbook, make sure you review our returns policy. Also, make sure your textbook is in the same condition you bought it or you might not be able to get your money back.

  2. Free postage. Don’t forget CDU offers free postage for all textbooks up until the census date of 31 March. Just use the code SSAF online when you buy.

  3. E books. Many textbooks offer ebook versions, and they can be a way of reducing the financial burden of buying textbooks. But before you rush out and click on that download button, there’s a few things you need to remember. Many students find that knowledge is retained more effectively when acquired from a hardcopy book. Consider your own learning/ reading style before you click. Some publishers offer limited access to ebooks. Meaning you may only be able to access the information for a limited time frame or you may not be able to copy or carry the information with you via a download. It may only be available via a device which could prove problematic if you are studying remotely and perhaps do not have consistent, reliable access to the internet.

Whatever or however you decide to purchase your textbooks, make sure you make an informed choice, shop around, and be clear about the process if you need to return an item. Happy Textbook shopping!