Need to cut down school textbook expenses or want to find cheap books? Here are a few tips from on where to find the cheapest books in Spain.
Buying school textbooks in Spain
With an adult literacy rate of 98.25%, Spain has a high-performing and comprehensive education system. But school textbooks in Spain are big business. Buying a brand new set of books for your child each year is an expensive task. With nearly one third of publishing companies’ revenue coming from the sale of school textbooks in Spain, it’s no surprise that department stores, supermarkets and local bookshops compete for the lucrative Spanish textbook market.
Luckily there are alternative options for those wanting to save money without compromising on their child’s education. There are retailers offering discounts and special offers, as well as a number of websites and stores that sell secondhand textbooks in Spain, so it makes sense to shop around. Those struggling with costs may also be eligible for a grant from their regional authority to help with costs.
Maxine Raynor explains how to go about accessing cheap textbooks in Spain and where to find them.
Regional Authority Grants for textbooks in Spain
Many regions in Spain offer grants to cover the cost of educational materials including textbooks, but each region has its own rules based on criteria such as your income and number of children. Grant amounts and availability have reduced over the past few years but it’s worth enquiring to see what’s available. You’ll need to contact the Education Department at your regional level to see the criteria and how to apply.
Where to buy cheap textbooks in Spain
The Carrefour store in Spain is a big retailer of school textbooks in Spain and has run several promotions offering discounts to children and families. Last year, its “Back To School” campaign gave over €2 million of discounts via cashback on purchases. The store also offers free home delivery on online orders.
The Spanish supermarket Alcampo offers low-price textbooks as well as deals on notebooks, stationery and other school equipment. The chain also runs the Rik & Rok Club for children aged 4-10, offering discounts and advantages on products and other activities.
Hypermarket chain Hipercor has run voucher schemes offering money off the cost of textbooks in Spain. The vouchers usually need to be booked in advance so it’s worth enquiring with your local store or online.
Amazon Spain has a wide selection of Spanish textbooks ranging from early years to degree and post-graduate level education. The company offers customers the chance to sell used books through the website as well as returning used textbooks in Spain. Delivery is free on orders over €22.50.
A useful resource if you are searching for specific book titles, BookFinder has access to new and secondhand books from over 100,000 book stores worldwide. The site will find you the cheapest available copy and there are textbook search and buyback options.
If you’re looking for secondhand books online, Ebay is worth checking out. You might not always find what you’re looking for but sometimes you might find a seller looking to offload a collection of textbooks in Spain as a bulk discount price. You can also search for individual items on the site.
Another global online option, textbooks.com has a Spanish section that mostly features books about learning the Spanish language. However, other titles are also offered so it’s worth a look. Free shipping on orders over $25.
Second-hand book stores
If the discount store and online options don’t produce what you’re looking for or are too expensive, you can try looking in local second-hand bookshops for textbooks in Spain. The chances of finding the most up-to-date titles are less likely, but you might pick up some useful finds and at a fraction of the standard price. Check what shops are in your area on a website such as Paginas Amarillas.
Book swap in Spain
Book swapping is an alternative to buying textbooks in Spain, something that is growing in popularity. Many websites offer this service for a small fee and accept books in both English and Spanish as well as other languages.
One website that offers a free shared books service is Education 2.0. The site has a host of interesting resources and offers a platform where members can donate and request books free of charge. You just need to sign up for an account and you can search for books you’re interested in by type or location, including English-language books (just put ‘ingles‘ or ‘English’ in the search box). You’ll just need to pay a small fee for transportation (courier) when you receive the book.
As an alternative to paying for the courier service (if the book is being donated from someone located in the city where you live), once you’ve requested a book you’ll be supplied with the current owner’s e-mail address so you can get in touch directly to meet up and exchange ownership.
Another interesting feature of the site is that you receive a credit for each book that you donate. These credits can themselves be donated to non-profit organisations associated with the project. So if you give away a lot of books and haven’t got time to read, why not put your credits to good use?