5 Fantastic Websites That Offer Free College Textbooks


One of the biggest struggles of being a college student is breaking the bank to get very expensive textbooks deemed as required for many courses, from beginner to advanced classes. Yet you do not have to let those big price tags discourage you from getting textbooks at all, which many have sadly done. There are many other options available to get your hands on alternative textbooks that are free of charge and can be accessed in multiple formats. Many organizations have been developed to provide students with open educational resources (OER). This means their goal is expanding affordable learning materials to as many people as possible throughout the world. Below are five of the best websites to gain good-quality college textbooks at no cost and save hundreds of dollars with. There is no need to create an account with any of the websites to get their textbooks.

1. Bookboon

Bookboon offers a wide selection of textbooks for college students with many different subjects for free. It is a great source for college students pursuing fields that highly incorporate mathematics, technology, science and business. What really sets this organization apart from its counterparts is it offers a lot of textbooks that cover topics relating to career development, including interview skills, internships, writing skills, and even how to manage stress from work. They provide resources tailored for business professionals’ success.

Users only have to fill out a short form to download any textbook. Many people over the years have turned to Bookboon for its useful textbook collection since its official establishment back in 2005. In fact, 40 million students have downloaded textbooks from around the world in 2014 alone.

2. OpenStax College

Bill Gates is offering a number of Free Text Books using the OpenStax College platform which is a go-to place for college students who are just starting out their educational journey with introductory courses. This organization was founded by Rice University during 2011 and receives support through partnerships with numerous companies and philanthropic foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. OpenStax College provides free textbooks that are peer-reviewed by actual educators so they are high-quality and align with general course requirements.

The textbook collection includes subjects like physics, biology, sociology, precalculus, U.S. history, and several others. With multiple formats to access the textbooks in (i.e. PDF, EPUB, etc.), just about anyone can get their hands on them. Also, anyone who is interested in helping this organization is encouraged to join in on getting the word out about them, and there are many ways this can be done. You can donate money, be a contributing author to textbooks, be a student ambassador, or an affiliate partner (e.g. publisher or distributor).



3. College Open Textbooks

If you are or will be attending a community college in the future, then College Open Textbooks can be of significance to you. This website is based on a collaboration of over 20 educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, and is connected with more than 200 colleges. Their goal is to provide free textbooks to community colleges and other two-year educational institutions, which began in 2011. In addition to OpenStax College, College Open Textbooks includes peer-reviewed selections, so you can rest assured that the material can be put to good use.

This includes over 100 open textbooks for community college courses that are retrievable in an abundance of formats, from PDF to ZIP file. You can find textbooks for subjects like law, health and nursing, philosophy, engineering, art, and many more. Opportunities to help them along their journey of spreading awareness about their platform are provided by joining their community.

4. Saylor Academy

Saylor Academy has an awesome repository for free textbooks that are easy to retrieve, and officially began their open education journey in 2008. This company’s mission, like many others, is to open education to all. They cover a large variety of subjects, so you are bound to find something to assist you in your studies. This includes areas such as college success, online marketing, financial accounting, general chemistry, social psychology, public speaking, and the list goes on and on.

All of the textbooks can be accessed in at least one of three formats: HTML, PDF, and DOCx. In other words, you can open textbooks in new browser tabs, download them to your computer or open them as Microsoft Word documents. Saylor Academy encourages users to share their collection of textbooks with others, as all their material is under one of several open licenses (in connection with Creative Commons). If you want to give feedback on their textbooks, you can take a short survey and let them know what you think.

5. InTech

InTech is one of the world’s largest publishers of free textbooks for multiple disciplines with high emphasis on the areas of science, technology, and medicine. This organization has been operating since 2004. They have teamed up with thousands of authors and boast a collection of over 2,000 published textbooks. They even have an assortment of peer-reviewed journals to choose from. More specifically, they provide textbooks and journals for computer science, robotics, neuroscience, pharmacology, economics, and more.

You can read each textbook from the website, or you can download them in PDF format for later use. Also, they show how you can reference all their material and even share it on websites or blogs. InTech has benefited from having more than 61 million of their textbook chapters and journal articles downloaded by people from across the globe.

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You can also find other similar websites by doing easy Google searches for free textbooks (i.e. just type “free textbooks” in your Google search bar). Give it a try, and you will be surprised by what you can come across. Feel free to comment below about your experience with open textbooks or other open educational resources online.