After I published the books for Environment and Ecology, some readers asked should they buy the latest version of the books or will previous versions suffice? I think many IAS aspirants who have been preparing for over a year must have this question in mind: should they make do with the older version or grab the latest version that comes in the market. My answer is it depends. Some books are like old is gold where you can continue reading them for years while some require that you always have the latest version. While some should be replaced only when significant changes have been made in the new versions. So which books should be replaced with the latest versions and which ones you can continue reading, let’s find out.
Note: All the recommended books for Prelims are listed here.
Current Affairs Books Require Frequent Replacement
Yes, this is true. Since current affairs books contain information on events that have occurred in the recent past, these should be replaced with the latest versions whenever possible. Books that fall in this category include Manorama Year Book, India Year Book and Magazines like Pratyogita Darpan. Other books like the Economic Survey should also be the latest edition since it contains the economic data of the previous and current financial year and you should always keep have knowledge of the current economic indicators.
Reference Manuals Can Be Replaced After 2 or 3 Years
Reference manuals like the TMH GS Manual and TMH CSAT Manual contain information that is not updated every year, at least not majorly. Although it contains current events section as well, not many aspirants refer it for current events so you should not replace your copy with the latest one only for current affairs. But these manuals do get updated after some years so if you have bought the 2011 or 2012 edition, you can consider getting the 2014 edition.
Also you should get the latest edition if the syllabus changes and a new edition of the manual is released based on the changed syllabus. Otherwise stick to it for a few years.
Other books that should be replaced after some time include PM Bakshi’s Indian Constitution since it contains the latest constitutional amendments that you need to keep track of.
Some Books are Timeless
Standard textbooks for various subjects like Pub Ad, Sociology, History etc are not updated very frequently and as such can be read for the entire duration of your civil services preparation and can then even be handed down to your siblings and friends. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra readily comes to mind. Even the Atlas does not need to be frequently replaced since geographical information remains static for a long time. Goh Cheng Leong wrote Certificate Course in Physical Geography during the 1980′s and it is still a timeless classic for Prelims as well as Geography optional subject.
Similarly, NCERT text books for certain subjects can be continued with for years to come. In fact, there is greater demand for old edition History NCERT books compared to the latest edition!
In short, books that deal with current events and data related topics should be replaced with the latest editions while others can be read again and again till some new drastic syllabus changes occur or the author introduces entirely new information in the latest edition of the book.
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