A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

How to Buy Uni Books Cheaply

Soon enough the incoming students of September will receive the list of reading materials they will need for the courses. This may not be true for other faculties, however, in law faculty at least things still go old school, which means that we still are required to read a lot for each course and makes these lists go quite long. Thus, you might face a big expense you didn’t expect, as the book prices are ridiculous.

Although you can probably find every book you look for on, they are brand new, thus expensive. Fear not, here are a couple of suggestions to find what you need without paying the full price. (Note: check whether you need a specific edition of the book. Still, most of the time changes are minor so you can still use previous editions.)


  1. Amazon

There are many options for the second-hand versions of the books on Amazon. You can also see the condition of the book, categorized as very good, good and used. I preferred to stick with very good ones and each one I bought was almost new without a single scratch. Options of Dutch amazon is limited; however, you can check and order from Germany.



  1. Marktplaats

Ebay of the Netherlands is at your service! You might find pretty cheap options and contact the seller directly.


  1. Facebook

There are Facebook groups exclusively for this purpose. People who completed their degrees sometimes even sell the books you will need for the entire year as a set. So, you might find everything you need at once. Don’t limit yourself with Leiden or the Hague but look for a larger area as many universities have similar programmes and often use the same books: the perfect excuse for a day trip. Tip: just searching the name of the book on Facebook will show you any public post with those words, regardless of being on a group or not.


  1. PDFs & E-books

I personally don’t like reading through the screen but always need to feel the paper, underline, take notes on the pages and mark the parts I find important. However, I know this is not the case for everyone, it is probably more preferable not having to carry heavy books with you all the time but have everything you need on your laptop. If you are able to do so, you might opt for just buying the e-book versions which are often cheaper than hard copies. Sometimes, there are PDF versions online with free access. You can also ask a friend who is good with the computer and the internet to look for you. (No copyright violation intended, exceptions of personal use and education purposes apply :D)


Do you have any suggestions on where to buy books? Share in comments!

2 comments on “How to Buy Uni Books Cheaply

  1. rotterdamdemo
    June 22, 2019

    I can strongly recommend alibris and abebooks (de or uk). Particularly for books that have been released a few years ago, it’s usually the cheapest option.

    • Esra@theleidener
      June 22, 2019

      Thanks a lot for the suggestion! I never used it myself but heard from a friend 😉 Will definitely try it next time I need a book.

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