To buy, or not to buy

Multi-buy Bundle

“As if! Two-hundred pounds for a couple of text books?” was, as I recall, my initial reaction as I read the email from the School of Psychology. The email detailed a package deal on textbooks that was being offered to first year students; £199.99 for 5 psychology text books, saving me around £38 in total. The list of books included: An Introduction to Brain and Behaviour; An Introduction to Social Psychology; How to Design and Report Experiments; Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics; and, How Children Develop.

I looked the books up on Amazon and to my surprise I found that a few of them were actually being sold for more money second hand than new, meaning it would be cheaper to buy the package deal offered by the university. Nonetheless, two hundred pounds isn’t an amount of money that I could easily justify spending – even on textbooks – and while I’m not one to turn down a decent saving, I eventually decided it would be best to wait until I got to Uni and find out how necessary the books were to the course, before I decided whether or not to buy them.

It is only recently, however, that I revisited the dilemma of whether or not to buy the text books. We’re eight weeks into the term, and I have been managing to get by without them fairly well. There’s the library for one, which has copies of a lot of the text books. But, aside from that, there are around 380 people doing psychology this term so most people are bound to know someone who does have a copy of the textbooks; more often than not, I have found people are willing to let me borrow theirs for a short while, or at least to send me pictures of the pages we need to read.


My copy of the textbook

Even if that wasn’t the case, a lot of the material we are required to read are articles which are provided online, and it’s only in the last few weeks that we’ve been asked to read passages from one of the text books – ‘An Introduction to Social Psychology’ by Miles Hewstone, Wolfgang Stroebe and Klaus Jonas – hence why I have been forced to revisit the to-buy-or-not-to-buy situation. Despite having access to the textbooks when I desperately need to, there are downsides to not having your own. For starters, I don’t have instant access to them, meaning that if I need to do some emergency ‘12 am the night before a seminar’ reading, I don’t have the means of doing so. It is also a lot harder to make notes and get a clear understanding of the text when you are reading from a picture off of your phone.

After a lot of deliberation, I eventually decided that implementing an ‘as and when’ policy was probably my best bet – the thought of spending £200 in one go was too much for my tightfisted brain to handle, even if it wasn’t necessarily the most inexpensive option. I decided to start with buying ‘An Introduction to Social Psychology’ from Amazon and then purchase any other books I may need further down the line. I thought I’d treat myself and buy a new copy as it was only a few pounds more than the 2nd hand one (ah – small luxuries), and having recently signed up to Amazon Prime Student for a 6-month free trial, the postage and packaging was free and the book arrived the next day! Even if you take nothing else away from this post, I would say that whether or not you decided to buy your books on amazon (if you decided to buy them at all),  I definitely recommend that you try out Amazon Prime Student, even if it’s only for the free trial*. As well as free delivery and discounts, you can also stream music and videos for free – what more do you need?

*Side note: if you do decide to try out Amazon Prime Student, and don’t want to pay after the 6-months, then make sure that you cancel your subscription before the trial ends!!!

4 thoughts on “To buy, or not to buy

  1. Hi Jade, this is a great post; very enlightening. I was particularly interested in your strategy of getting class-mates to send you photos of the pages you need. I had a couple of questions about how this works: do you just ask friends or is there some sort of Facebook/Whats-app group? Also, do you use an app like Camtasia to create PDFs or just get the pages sent to you as images? Thanks!

  2. Hi Antony!
    I’m glad you found the post interesting! In response your questions, I would often just ask individuals if they wouldn’t mind lending me their reading material or sending me copies of them. I haven’t come across any specific Facebook group for this, however I am part of a Psychology ‘group chat’ on Facebook that we use to communicate with others on our course. Also, whenever someone was kind enough to send me a copy of the reading material, it would just be a picture taken on their phone of the page and sent to me as an image (also usually though a message on Facebook); nothing quite as sophisticated as you have suggested although that would certainly be a much better idea if higher quality images were needed- definitely something to bear in mind!
    I hope this helped!

  3. Thanks Jade! Was the group chat something that students in your class decided to set up or was it something that already existed and was suggested you use?

  4. No problem Ant! The group chat I’m in was set up by students in my class. When we first found out we’d been accepted to come to Sussex Uni, we were invited to join pre-existing Facebook Group Pages that I think were set up by the University; There were general pages for all Sussex Uni members, and more specific pages for each housing group. People started talking to each other on the group pages and finding out which course everyone was in, and eventually decided they needed a better method of communication; thus the group chat was born! 🙂

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