How the inexpensive readings market of DU becomes a student’s saviour, from course textbooks to previous years’ papers. 

After watching hundreds of videos on “a day in the Life of a Delhi University Student”, when the freshers finally enter the campus, realizing the necessity to survive such an academically rigorous structure takes its most miniature form – the study material. Kamala Nagar, Delhi School of Economics, Patel Chest, Satya Niketan, or Tilak Nagar – something that they all share in common apart from their bustling food corners and hundreds of students crowding in lines is that all of these places and many more, provide the much-needed gear up for every student panic-stricken with approaching exams. We are talking about the readings! 

Notes, readings and study materials form the crux of studying in an institution like DU, where the curriculum prescribes textbooks and references of numerous national and international writers. This is where such complexes step in and act as the “friend indeed” to thousands of students, providing all reading material at heavily slashed prices. Some of these work factorially and produce appropriate study material, handpicking readings from various authors and bringing statistics, factual information, research papers, archives, essays, and even photocopied versions of expensive branded textbooks – all into a thick bound spiral. 

Opting for History as a Generic Elective means reading essays from about ten historians in a single unit. Instead of looking for them all over the internet, it is extremely comfortable to purchase the readings from DSE (Delhi School of Economics) at a price much more affordable than what costs for actually buying the prescribed textbooks.

said Janhavi, a second-year student from Ramjas College.  

Delhi School of Economics has transformed into a hub catering to all the students completely dependent on notes and reading material because of their low attendance in classes due to ECA or internships. From Commerce to Economics and from History to Political Science, you can get neatly catalogued readings for every course at the cheapest possible rate. The photocopy lane at Patel Chest consists of dedicated stores providing readings specific to colleges like SRCC or St. Stephen’s, as well as course-specific bindings. 

Another such place that has garnered a monopoly over students’ textbooks, reference books, as well as competitive manuals, is Bookland – now a major textbooks brand in the Kamala Nagar market. The bookshop has a partnership with Shivdas and Worldview, two leading publishing companies dominating the market of textbooks prescribed under the University of Delhi’s curriculum as well as the previous years’ question papers for the majority of the courses the varsity offers, supporting a large DU-centric audience. Worldview publishers have entirely monopolized the varsity’s English literature syllabi and keep publishing texts with supportive critical essays authored by academic scholars and professors proficient in the area, along with detailed background information about each of them. Be it William Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, they have got you covered. With hawk eyes on any changes in the curriculum, the company makes sure to provide the amended material from the subsequent academic session. Shivdas’ previous years’ question papers cater to nearly all the courses and are bought by students preparing for their exams looking for glimpses of expected questions along with their solutions. 

While the offline readings market makes everything affordable and readily available, the Undergraduate study material of the varsity’s School of Open Learning is a priced possession not just for the students enrolled at the SOL, but also those pursuing the offered courses from other regular colleges. Prepared by qualified academicians of the SOL, online notes have proved to be a boon for students of Commerce, Political Science, BA Programme, Economics and English, spanning and serving everything the students need to study in just one PDF file. Clearly, it is a thesaurus since it is available to access free of cost and has become so reliable amongst the students that a day when the SOL website went dysfunctional sent chills down the spines of the stakeholders.

Thus, a discussion of DU’s reading market leads us to a common ground of similarity to its quarters – the affordability that it dispenses which makes it easier for students to manage their academic expenses along with their usual budget. While we get readings and question papers at a cheaper price, it is evident and rather important to interrogate the ethical immorality that much of this market substrates upon. Neglecting copyright regulations and editing out research credits from the material highlights that quality education gained from the readings of renowned authors is sold at the stake of honesty and ethical obligations. This leads us to juggle with the idea of how much plagiarism and research denouncement are negotiable for the sake of affordable learning. What becomes important for university education – is it the benefit of the student body for cheaper resources or crediting the work of academics, critics, and scholars who have prepared it after years of assessment? 


Image credits: So City

Read also: Five Tips to Sneak in Extra Time for Reading 

Aryan Vats

[email protected] 

Awaiting the joy of holding, leafing through, sniffing and probably even dog-earing a new book? Look no further! Here is a list of few bookstores for ever student to check out.

  1. The Bookshop, Jorbagh

One of the old favorites of Delhi, opened in 1970, The Bookshop is an Insta-famous and widely loved book store that is frequented by the likes of Wlliam Dalrymple, Arundhati Roy and Khushwant Singh. It houses a vast collection of books from all genres, a separate section for children’s books and offers gift coupons as well! Visit for a quiet afternoon amongst old classics.

Nearest Metro Station: JorBagh on Yellow Line

Credits: The Bookshop, Jorbagh
Image Credits: Official Website, The Bookshop
  1. Cafe Turtle and Full Circle Bookshop, Khan Market

Tucked in the middle alley of Khan Market, the Full Circle Bookstore located a floor below Cafe Turtle is a childhood favorite (I got my first encyclopedia at age eight from here). It has become an icon in the market. Go here on a weekend evening, grab a book and relish it with a sumptuous meal at the Cafe.

Nearest Metro Station: Khan Market on Violet Line

Credits: Full Circle Bookshop
Image Credits: Official Website, Full Circle Bookshop
  1. Bahrisons Booksellers, Khan Market

A Khan Market classic since 1953, Bahrisons is also one of Delhi’s better-known bookstores. They have a packed magazine section at the back of the store with all the latest national and international editions. Bahrisons also opened up a special section for children near the main store in the market and also happen to always have every Man Booker Prize nominee titles.

Nearest Metro Station: Khan Market on Violet Line

Image Credits: Aarohi Mehra for LBB
Image Credits: Aarohi Mehra for LBB
  1. Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place

Arguably one of the largest bookstores in Delhi, the Oxford Bookstore has an extremely vast collection of books and you can also hope to find many great academic titles here. It also has a Cha Bar, a small eatery and chai-place inside, so it can provide for a great hang out spot for readers. Complement your favorite book with the perfect cup of chai here.

Nearest Metro Station: Rajiv Chowk on Yellow and Blue Lines

Credits: Official Website, Oxford Bookstore
Image Credits: Official Website, Oxford Bookstore
  1. May Day Bookstore, West Patel Nagar

According to the Little Black Book’s (LBB) Delhi chapter, this is one of the ‘few Indie bookstores in the city’. The store aims of creating an active community of readers. May Day Bookstore stocks a generous range of genres but also is popular for its collection of rare second-hand books.

Nearest Metro Station: Shadipur on Blue Line

Image Credits: Official Website, May Day Bookstore
Image Credits: Official Website, May Day Bookstore

Feature Image Credits: Book Lovers in India

Bhavya Pandey

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