A fourth year’s guide to Aberdeen’s banging book shops to elevate your studying aesthetic
This one goes out to all the arts students
It's coming up to that time of year again. Semester two is upon us and Blackwells calls for the unprepared, last minute and downright confused students to fall victim to the enticing purchase of course book bundles.
But wait! Slow down there and take a minute to think about what you're doing. Look at your reading lists; can you really afford all these books? No. But fear not, your savvy saving lit student is here to bank you some pennies for those VK's you swore you wouldn't drink again after fresher's week.
I'm proud to say that the 'Little Black Book of Banging Book Shops' has been handcrafted by yours truly over the past four years and promises to help you out.
Books and Beans, 22 Belmont Street
Books and Beans is the place to be. Situated on Belmont Street, this gaff is one of my faves. Not only do I get the selection of both new and used books on sale, but I also get to eat and drink yummy treats from the reasonable cafe downstairs whilst I do my favourite kind of shopping
This shop is open to all with a wide selection of literature across ages and genres. With each book being marked along the spine in accordance to the colour coded price system, sticking to your budget is super easy.
Oxfam, 5 Back Wynd
This Oxfam branch in particular is dedicated solely to books and music. Therefore a great quantity of extremely reasonable books are on sale here. Along with literature the shop sells sheet music, records, CDs and DVDs, so there is always something for someone.
Even more importantly, every penny spent here is going towards a brilliant cause. I managed to find a beautiful leather backed edition of The Picture of Dorian Grey for a mere £2.99. If that doesn't entice you enough to visit I don't know what will.
The Mercat Bookshop, 45 Castle Street
At the tip top of Union Street this shop caught my eye on many occasions, however I didn't actually go inside until third year. And what a pleasant surprise it was. The shop gives major library vibes, it's nice and quiet so it's easy to concentrate your search through the bookcases and identify the best pieces.
I managed to grab a pre-owned H.G.Wells in great condition for £1, which literally made my day – it wasn't even a course book I just really love H.G.Wells. So go take a look, I'm sure the staff would appreciate a higher footfall and a chance to talk to some new customers.
I cannot stress how important it is to get yourself to Bookends asap. This shop is conveniently right on campus, situated in the SU. Bookends is essentially a service for students. You give them a book etc. and set the selling price, once the item is bought you are given 65% of the takings and the rest goes to charity! So not only do I advise Bookends to buy from but also to sell through. If you're needing a little extra cash, consider selling books you no longer need with them.
One thing I will say is get in there fast; Bookends only have a certain amount of copies of each title, so to secure specific books you need to query their stock asap. But if they have it I'm sure it'll be a hell of a lot cheaper than elsewhere.
Old Aberdeen Bookshop, 140 Spital
This place literally has the aesthetic of the perfect bookshop I dreamed of as a child. With leather backed books and stacks piled up beyond your reach this store becomes like a time hole as you search through the immense number of titles they have. Again, like Bookends the Old Aberdeen Bookshop also buys back books, however I do advise comparing the buy back prices as sometimes the offers from one shop are better than the other.
Amazon is the gift that keeps on giving. I swear this site has bailed me out so many times when I have been tracking down cheap books. Their options to taper your selection based on the quality and delivery of books also helps to compare the range of what you will be asked to and what you are willing to pay. Plus you don't have to leave your living room, which I'm sure will help when you're hung-over ordering cheap books having drank your loan instalment, yup I see you, the struggle is real.
Blackwells, 99 High Street
Blackwells and I have had a rocky relationship. First year I definitely panic bought all of my books brand new in course bundles during fresher's week. But with time I started to see older students with clearly pre-owned books and after doing a little investigating I found Bookends, that's where my being book savvy started.
I must admit Blackwells will never leave you short; they always have everything you need, and yes they do sell pre-owned books and therefore buy back too, but their stock is limited. My advice to students is not to be hasty; you don't have to buy brand new books from the university bookshop. However if you do want to buy brand new copies then Blackwells bundles will probably give you the best price as they are willing to price match for you.
Book shopping doesn't have to be a stressful experience; with this guide you may even find it enjoyable. Although do try to save some pennies and don't get too carried away in the Books and Beans cafe. Happy reading!