A frequently asked question is “Should I buy the latest edition of XYZ book for IAS?”, especially from those who have recently bought the previous edition of a book and the latest edition has been just released. There’s always this doubt in the mind, “Am I missing some important information that might be covered in the latest edition?”. To clear these doubts and find out which books you need to update often and which ones will be you long-term companions, read on.
Table of Contents
First, Which Books You Should Refer for IAS Exam
Before we know which books should be bought every year and which ones can be skipped over two or three editions, first you need to know which books you should refer for Prelims and GS Mains papers.
First go through these Suggested Books for Prelims and Mains Exam
Now you know which books are important for Prelims and GS Mains exam.
Which Books Are Updated Frequently
Usually, reference books are frequently updated. Which are the reference books for IAS Prelims?
Reference books tend to contain the latest information and need to be frequently updated. However not all reference books need to be bought every year.
Having said that, the two books you will need to buy every year are India Year Book and Manorama Year Book since each year, important information is added to these books that you cannot afford to skip. Also you absolutely need to purchase Economic Survey every year. This book is the official publication of Govt of India and contains the latest data and analysis of the economic year gone by. It is a must-read book for Prelims as well as Mains exam. Since the information in the Economic Survey changes every year, you should always have the latest edition of this book.
If you have the previous edition of Prelims Solved Papers, you need not buy the latest edition since you can easily download and print the latest Prelims papers from online sources. But if your copy is two or three years old it is better to get the latest edition to find all solved papers at one place. More so, since you get topic-wise questions in this solved papers book.
GS and CSAT Manuals are also updated every year but you can safely skip two or three editions before buying the latest edition of these books. The section that is updated every year in GS Manual is, usually, current affairs. However, most aspirants do not refer GS Manual for current affairs. Also since the latest editions of these books are released in December these do not contain current affairs from November to June of nest year, which is crucial from Prelims perspective. So if you have previous years Manuals with you, you can skip this year’s edition. And maybe next year’s as well.
Books That Are Occasionally Updated
There are IAS books that may be updated every year but you can skip the latest editions safely if you have already purchased the previous edition of these books. These books are
- Indian Economy
- Indian Constitution
- Our Constitution
- Oxford Atlas
- Ecology and Environment
Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh is an important book for Economy basics and usually a new edition is released every year. But you can skip the latest edition since this book does not contain the latest economic data which the Economic Survey contains. It is a very good book for economic fundamentals and these do not change every year.
Indian Constitution by PM Bakshi contains all the Articles of Indian Constitution as well as the latest amendments. The rule of thumb to update this book is this: if there have been any substantial amendments to the Constitution or changes in the Schedules, buy the latest edition otherwise you can skip a few editions. Same holds true for Our Constitution by Subhash Kashyap. This is THE book to read for understanding Indian polity. The language is the easiest to understand among all polity books. The book is updated every few years so you can get the latest edition as and when it is available.
Oxford Atlas also is occasionally updated and unless there are substantial changes in Indian or World Political boundaries like creation or alteration of states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) or formation of new countries you can happily continue referring your previous edition of the Atlas.
Books That Are Like Old Wine
Wine tastes better with time. Some books are more loved the older they get. We term them classics. Which are the classics for IAS exam?
- India’s Struggle for Independence
- Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong
- NCERT Text Books
India’s Struggle for Independence is the classic book for reading modern Indian history, for Prelims as well as Mains exam. Written by a group of renowned historians, the foremost of them the late Bipin Chandra, the book is no longer updated. Of course, since it is about history that till the Independence period, it will no longer be updated, it is safely assumed. Of course, newer prints will always be released. So if you have a 2001 edition of the book, it will suffice and do not rush to buy the latest reprint of the book.
Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong is another classic book for Geography Prelims and Mains. First published in 1974, this book is still widely recommended and read by IAS aspirants. The information in the book is very reliable and reader-friendly. Although newer prints are released every so often a older one will still do nicely.
NCERT books, although keep changing with new CBSE syllabus, the older ones are still preferred for History topic. Of course its almost impossible to get the old syllabus NCERT books, but fortunately, some good alternatives are available.
I hope this post cleared your doubts regarding new editions of books for IAS. But if you still have, I’ll be glad to answer them in the comments below 🙂