Where to Buy School Textbooks in Spain 2021
School textbooks are big business. The new academic year comes with a hefty price tag, including a set of brand new books for each child.
Department stores, supermarkets and local bookshops compete for the lucrative textbook market. It’s not surprising if we take into account that nearly one third of publishing companies’ turnover comes from the sale of school textbooks in Spain.
Some prices for textbooks may be fixed by the publisher. Officially discounts are not allowed but promos may be offered, so it makes sense to shop around.
Where should you buy school textbooks?
One of the main problems when you pre-order textbooks in a store is that you won’t know the price beforehand. Buying online has the advantage of knowing the price immediately, but you’ll be responsable for reserving the correct books so check the returns policy.
The major players are El Corte Ingles, Amazon and Carrefour. However in smaller towns your local bookshop might be the best (and only) option.
Order textbooks and get a 10€ voucher for every 90€ spent on primary and secondary education books (excludes Bachillerato). The voucher can be used from 13 Aug to 30 Sep 2021 when buying computers, stationery, school bags and kids’ clothing.
Carrefour offers the opportunity to finance your textbooks purchase in three months interest-free if you have a Carrefour Visa Pass card. Other financing options may come with a fee.
Download a reservation form at Carrefour.es or pick one up in store. If you order online choose between home delivery or collect in store. Many stores allow you to simply fill in your personal details and staple the list of textbooks supplied by the school, rather than having to fill out all the ISBN numbers and book titles. You may also be able to order by WhatsApp (ask for your local store telephone number at the Information Desk) or by email.
El Corte Ingles & Hipercor
Upload a photo or pdf of the list of books supplied by the school here. Once the store has all the books you’ll receive an SMS message. Alternatively you can order online with the ISBN reference numbers.
Order before 31 July and get a voucher worth 10% to use until 30 Sep 2021 on school uniforms and footwear, school bags and stationery. Returns allowed until mid October.
Take a look at the school textbook section at Amazon Spain and filter by region, language and more options. Search by book title or ISBN. Amazon also offers a new service in collaboration with a third party where you can order the books for specific schools (click through from this page here).
Book orders over 19€ sent by Amazon come with free shipping, you won’t need to sign up to Amazon Prime.
Although generally more expensive, the advantages of using your local bookshop include:
- Expertise in spotting mistakes to avoid ordering the wrong book (they have direct contact with local schools)
- Personal service
- Due to competition, both on and offline, they may offer free gifts or other advantages
Check what your local bookshops can offer.
Regional authority grants
Some regions in Spain offer grants for textbooks. Each region has its own rules based on income and number of children. Some stores will accept vouchers issued by local authorities for textbooks.
There may also be grants available for the purchase of school materials. Contact the Education Department at local or regional level to check the criteria and how to apply.
Remember that most stores will accept exchanges when the school year starts. For returns textbooks must be in perfect condition, so don’t let your kids remove the shrink-wrap cover!
If buying online make sure you purchase the latest edition. Double check when buying second hand books as you probably won’t be able to return them.