A former president of Harvard University, Derek Bok, once said that if you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance. Such a lovely quote, isn’t it? It reminds me of another quote: “a textbook does not satisfy a hungry stomach”. Okay, that’s not really a quote, it is merely a statement, a fact of life. We know that education is vital – Tata Madiba taught us that education is the most powerful weapon we can have, and with the current state of global affairs, we should probably start filling our arsenals.

Sadly, unless your family’s name appears on the Oxfam report, getting a proper education will most likely set you back before it pushes you forward. To help soften the blow, Counting Coins will be doing a serious of education-related stories to help you find ways to save, so that you have money left for the more important aspects of student life, like Phuza Thursdays and making #FeesMustFall posters.

Textbooks are one of the biggest unexpected expenses of tertiary education, and if you pass the first time around, you will mostly likely only use a textbook for a couple of months. Thus, save a tree (and your money), and go second hand.

Here is a list of places where you can buy and sell second-hand textbooks:

Book Express

Book Express is an official UNISA, CIMA and ACCA textbook supplier, and also stocks selected titles for UJ, Wits and other private colleges.

You can order via email, phone, or by visiting their store at 8 Park Road, Richmond, Johannesburg.

Contact them here.


Gumtree is not only a great place for finding second-hand textbooks, it is also one of the best platforms for selling the textbooks that you are done with.

Visit Gumtree here.

Unisa Students – 2nd hand textbooks for sale

This is an informal, unofficial group for UNISA students who wish to buy or sell second-hand textbooks. Just like Gumtree, this Facebook page gives UNISA students the opportunity to trade with each other directly.

Visit their Facebook page here.

Pimp My Book

Pimp My Book helps students sell and buy second-hand textbooks. They have branches at UFS, UCT, UJ, Parow and Stellenbosch.

Visit their website here.


Armstrong’s has been specialising as a UNISA bookseller since 1981. They supply both new and second-hand textbooks. They also provide a variety of other resources for students.

Visit their website here.

Know of any other second-hand textbook buyers and sellers? Let us know on Facebook, and we will add them to the list.

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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