UPSC Books


The UPSC civil services exam is considered one of the toughest exams in India. One key factor in finding success in this exam is to study from the correct and prescribed books for IAS exam. An aspirant would find hundreds of books in the market which claim to be the best book for the IAS exam. However, preparing from the right material is of utmost importance if a candidate wishes to clear the IAS exam. In this page, you will find information on choosing the right books for the IAS exam as well as a list of UPSC books you must follow.

Why must you study from only the right UPSC books?

  • The UPSC syllabus is vast and it takes at least one year to comprehensively cover it. Therefore, you cannot waste precious time by reading books that are below standard or worse, contain incorrect and unauthenticated information. In this case, you would have to unlearn what you had previously read and this can prove difficult.
  • Learning from the recommended sources would mean you can directly make notes out of it if necessary.
  • There are many books that give information tailor-made for the IAS exam. For instance, Laxmikanth for Polity is a book that you must read if you are taking the UPSC exam. Many questions have been asked that seem to come directly from this book.
  • In addition, many books including the one discussed above, contain information in a ‘notes’ format. So, they are readymade for IAS preparation. You don’t have to waste time trying to make notes.
  • There are many books that are excellently written and contain a whole lot of valuable information. But you have to decide whether they are valuable for the UPSC exam or not. They might make a good read for academics and research scholars. But not necessarily for the UPSC exam. So, you need UPSC books that will help in your preparation and fetch you marks in the IAS exam.

UPSC Books List PDF :-Download PDF Here

A brief list of IAS books for the most important subjects are given below:

Important Books for IAS prelims

Subject Books
  • India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
  • Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
  • NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
  • NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
  • Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
  • NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
  • NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
Indian Polity
  • Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
  • Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
International Relations
  • NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politic)
  • World Atlas
  • Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
  • CSAT II – Arihant
  • Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

Important Books for IAS mains

Subject Books
History, Indian Heritage & Culture
  • An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1 : Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
  • History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  • Ancient India by R.S Sharma
  • Geography of India by Majid Husain
  • World Geography by Majid Husain
  • World Atlas
  • Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations
  • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
  • Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
  • India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
Economy Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Ethics Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination V by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

UPSC books for important optional subjects

In the UPSC mains exam, a candidate has to choose an optional subject also. The optional papers count for 500 marks in total and therefore, it is imperative that the right books are read for the optional subjects also. The following table gives the link to the list of IAS books for a few important optional subjects.

People also ask:

Q1. Which books are the best for Hindi Medium Aspirants in UPSC Exam?

Ans. Hindi Medium Aspirants should read UPSC Hindi Medium Books from NCERT as well as Hindi translations of popular IAS Books.

Q2. Where can I find NCERT books for IAS Exam?

Ans. NCERT books are widely available in bookstores across the country as well as major e-commerce sites. If you cannot find the book you require in a bookstore, please find them at NCERT Books: UPSC Books PDF Free Download.

Q2. Which are the best books for a detailed preparation of General Studies for the UPSC Exam?

Ans. A detailed preparation of UPSC requires a focussed approach and selecting the right books is important. The book on Indian Polity by Laxmikanth is considered to be one of the must haves for the UPSC General studies, along with Geography by Majid Hussain. For detailed information, you can check out Best Books for IAS Exam.