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Press Release: 21.10.2021 - Over A Third Of Students Purchase Secondhand Textbooks As The Cost Of Studying Continues To Rise

Over A Third Of Students Purchase Secondhand Textbooks As The Cost Of Studying Continues To Rise

● World of Books Group have released sales and purchasing data showing how savvy students are turning to secondhand textbooks to ease the rising cost of studying
● Students are saving up to 60% on university-level textbooks by buying used previous editions online; with a potential saving of nearly £1,300 per undergraduate course
● Students are also increasingly selling on their textbooks as a way to earn extra money, with the businesses’ Ziffit service paying out £1.4m on textbooks in 2020

World of Books Group, the UKs largest retailer of used books and media, have released sales and purchasing data that shows how 40% of UK students are turning to secondhand textbooks to save money and help ease the rising cost of studying.

As the fog of Freshers Week dissipates and new undergraduates settle into their studies, many are discovering that the cost of university extends far beyond sky-high tuition fees. With living costs setting students back an estimated £27,000 over a three-year course, savvy students are looking for ways to ease the financial burden. Buying new, an average student could pay over £2,200 for their assigned reading during their course – so it’s no surprise that many student-savers are starting here and opting for pre-owned copies rather than the latest editions.

Data released by the group show that students could save up to 60% on their university textbooks by buying secondhand – and the saving could be even greater for those on courses with particularly costly reading such as Law or Medicine where some students could see a saving over 80% compared to buying new.

Graham Bell, CEO of World of Books Group, said: “As a father of two, with a daughter approaching university age, I’m becoming all too aware of the cost of studying in the UK today! There is no denying that the cost of some course-assigned textbooks is staggering – but we’ve noticed students coming to us in droves to make savings. Around 20% of the books we sell are textbooks – meaning that 1.9 million quality books are back in circulation and helping people achieve their dreams. For many courses, there are minimal changes in the content of revised editions – so buying preowned won’t hold students back. But we’d always advise students check with your tutor or lecturer first just in case.”

As well as discovering the potential savings to be made, some students have realised that their old textbooks can make them some money too. The business also looked at data from their trade-in app, Ziffit and have announced they made £1.4million in payments to students for their unneeded textbooks last year alone.

“We always see a spike in university textbooks being traded at the end of the academic terms. Unsurprisingly, students can’t seem to get rid of them quick enough! But by selling on for extra cash, their previous owners often don’t realise they are also giving another person following the same path access to affordable study-materials.”


Media contact:

Nick Ford,
Brand Communications Manager at World of Books Group,

[email protected]

About World of Books Group

  • In 2002 World of Books was founded with an ethos to do good to help charities and to make a positive impact. Over the last two decades they have grown from a start-up into a leading global seller of quality preloved books and media. Today, they drive the circular economy through three re-commerce brands:
    • World of Books: Through World of books, they sell. They provide affordable, preloved books and media to customers all over the world. A book leaves their collection of over seven million titles and begins a new chapter every two seconds, enabling more goods to be reused.
    • Ziffit: Through Ziffit, they buy. They give people around the world the opportunity to contribute to the circular economy, earn money and protect the planet, by trading their unwanted books and media.
    • Shopiago: Through Shopiago, they help others. By sharing the technology that has grown World of Books Group into the business it is today, they’re helping charities increase revenue and reduce waste through re-commerce.
World of Books Group are an accredited B Corp. Certified B Corporations (B Corps™) are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

1 “The cost of studying at university in the UK”, The Student (part of The Times Educational Supplement), May 2020: