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Do I Have to Buy My Required Readings?

There are a lot of expenses involved in being a student, and I’m not just talking about that large double-shot latte you grab every morning on the way to class. Seriously though, on top of uni fees, transport to and from uni each day, and general living expenses, each new course you’re enrolled in means a new required readings list. And those textbook lists can look daunting … and expensive!

First-year chemistry students might be required to purchase Blackman, Bottle, Schmid, Mocerino and Wille’s (2015) Chemistry for $184.95 RRP. Meanwhile, Understanding Real Property Law (retailing for $94.99) is required reading for some first-year business courses. And these texts won’t be the only required reading for their respective courses! Just this week my friend studying commerce at ANU spent over $400 to buy just four textbooks and one of them was second hand!

A student of English literature may have to buy as many as eight required texts for any one course. If you’re studying full time, these costs add up over a year. To learn more about why your textbooks are so costly, read our article ‘Why Are Textbooks So Expensive?

Are They Really Important Books?

It can feel wasteful, especially for the student scrounging for every penny to make ends meet, to purchase expensive textbooks that seemingly have a six-month expiry date: as soon as the course is over, you may not need the books anymore. Like many students who have gone before you, you may be tempted to ask, ‘Do I really need to purchase all these textbooks?’

The answer is, ‘Yes’. Required readings are just that: required. Your lecturer or course coordinator has designated the texts on your required reading list as such because they are essential material to be covered in lecturers or will be used for assignment readings. It’s imperative that you get your hands on a digital or hardcopy of your required readings.

Know the Difference: Required or Suggested Readings?

It’s worth noting here that there is a difference between required and suggested readings. Suggested readings are sometimes given as additional texts of interest to supplement course content. They may be helpful for your completion of the course, but not essential: assignments are often not directly based on these texts.

Finding Affordable Textbooks

The good news is we have some tips on how you can find affordable textbooks. You don’t have to buy them all brand new from your university bookstore! The next article will give you some great tips for acquiring that required text list and keep your expenses down.

Please read our next article ‘How to Find Affordable Textbooks’ to find out how!

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