Meet the ‘Spotify of Textbooks’: Perlego is building the library of the future

Being a student means a lot of things but one of the most noticeable of those is the startling amount you’ll end up spending on textbooks over the course of your time in education. That is, if you go the traditional route of buying real, physical textbooks which often cost upwards of £40 per book. According to the Student Money Survey, students in the UK spend £362 per year on average. Yes, that’s silly-expensive but fortunately, there is another way.

Founded by students in 2016, Perlego wants to make learning more accessible and affordable for everyone. Billed as the ‘Spotify of textbooks’, Perlego is an online library that gives students unlimited access to over 200,000 eTextbooks, for less than the price of a single book.

On Perlego, you can read any title, whether you’re at home, uni or commuting.  You can highlight, annotate and bookmark just as you would on paper and it takes only a click to quickly cite the book for your essay. You can also save books to your own reading lists as a shortcut.

That’s all lovely, of course, but is it worth it? We took a closer look and tried out the service to figure out just that. Here are some of the things that stood out to us over our time using Perlego.

It’s a lot cheaper than buying textbooks

First off, that subscription fee - as a current student, you’re able to get everything Perlego has to offer for £12 a month. If you decide to sign up for a year, you’ll be paying £8 a month instead - that’ll mean you’re getting 12 months for the price of a regular 8 months and it all works out a whole lot cheaper than paying out for a new £40 textbook each time you need one. In total, a full year of unlimited access costs £96, which is much cheaper than the £362 that students spend on average on textbooks.

If you’re curious, there is a 14-day free trial to let you try it all out before you commit to spending anything.

It’s a lot more convenient than the uni library

Perlego exists entirely on the web, and as such, it’s available any time you need it. You don’t have to worry about opening hours, waiting lists and late-return fees and can access new textbooks or resource material whenever and wherever you need it.

You’re also not restricted to only having access to books that aren’t checked out already - everything in Perlego’s digital library is fully accessible at all times once you’re a member and you’re able to access books as many times as you need.

It’s super simple to use

On top of being able to find the books you need with ease via Perlego’s search engine, each book on the service is able to be annotated, highlighted and bookmarked as much as you like. There’s also a reference generator that aims to make citing your sources as simple as possible, which is impressive given the over 200,000 books available.

Being able to highlight specific parts and make your own annotations is a valuable thing, especially when you’re trying to put together a dissertation and it’s something that you can’t do with books you get from the library (well you can, but you shouldn’t).

It’s still growing

Built by recent graduates that have felt the pain first hand, Perlego is still a young company and growing fast. The service aims to double the number of books available on the service within a year, bringing the total up to almost half a million resources available for a variety of subjects and industries. While they may not have every book out there yet, it seems like they will get there very soon, no matter how niche the subject.

With these points in mind, it’s hard not to recommend Perlego as something to check out, particularly if you’re a university student that’s staring at multiple years of textbook purchases. By signing up for Perlego account, you’ll side-step a series of heavy, expensive books and be able to access a whole range whenever you need.

If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can give the 14-day free trial a shot over at Perlego’s website. If you’re a subscriber and you’d like to let us know your thoughts on the service, feel free to leave a comment via the link below.

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