18 Free Textbooks Online Websites [College & Highschool]
College textbooks are one of the most expensive things required for college. Start of every college course you will get a massive list of “required” textbooks list other than the course content outline every semester. And students have to spend more than 1200$ per semester on textbooks just because of that.
There are a few ways you could buy cheap textbooks and digital textbooks (e-textbooks) for much lower prices, which will help you save about 500$ per semester. That’s pretty good, right?
But what if there was a way to get free college textbooks for free?
How to Get Free Textbooks (College & High School Textbooks)?
There are a few ways that you could get college and high school textbooks for free. But there is a small catch though. The textbooks you are going to get are digital textbooks instead of physical textbooks. And you may have to buy an ebook reader or you could use an ebook reading app to read them.
You can use them for your studies without noticing much difference, and maybe finding free textbooks online for free can help you save more than 1200$ per semester.
So without further ado, let’s dive right into the list of websites you can get free textbooks online.
18 Safe To Use Free College Textbooks Websites (Digital Textbooks)
Would you like to access over 1000 free PDF textbooks written by professors of top universities across the world, all on one platform? Well, then Bookboon is the website you are looking for. They offer free college textbooks mainly focused on accounting, engineering, economics, I.T., management, marketing, and personal development.
Bookboon has an easily accessible free eReader app that students can use to access textbooks anywhere using a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. Their eReader also gives students access to various study tools such as bookmarks, and memo tools. They allow advertisers to promote their service ads inside those free books and that’s how they continue to add more free textbooks to their library.
Bookboon also has a monthly subscription that provides access to over 1700+ business e-books written by industry-leading experts for 5.99$/month. But with the free plan students can access more than enough textbooks for their studies.
2. Open Textbook Library
Open Textbook Library is well aware that students have to spend a lot of money on textbooks, so they offer textbooks with an open license. You can download and use open-licensed textbooks for free without getting permission or spending time filling out unnecessary paperwork.
They offer free college textbooks on various topics such as accounting & finance, Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Education, Law, Medicine, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and even Student Success. Most publishers on Open Textbook Library offers PDF textbooks so that you can get them printed if you need a printed copy.
Open Textbook Library has a rating system for every book so that users can provide feedback, and it might help you search and find the best textbooks you need to read.
A few years ago, Bill and Melinda Gates donated textbooks via OpenStax so you might already know about this platform. OpenStax was founded in 2011 by Rice University, and there are a lot of organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supporting it.
This website has a lot of open-licensed textbooks for students in topics such as mathematics, science, social sciences, humanities, business, college success, and textbooks for high school students. Expert authors and peer-reviewed write all of these books so you can choose the best free PDF textbooks you want for your studies.
4. MIT Open Courseware
Open Courseware is an open-licensed textbook program by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where you could access electronic textbooks for free. It has open-licensed textbooks as well as self-published books which you could use without any charge.
This website contains a reasonable amount of textbooks in various topics such as Aeronautics, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Computer science, and additional supplemental resources.
5. Textbook Revolution
Like any other website to find free textbooks online, Textbook Revolution has a lot of textbooks available for the students to download as pdf files. But some are only viewable online as e-books, and some links will lead you to websites containing course content.
On Textbook Revolution, you may find links to download the textbooks you want and reviews of the textbooks. Like Project Gutenberg, this website’s layout may be out of date, but they have a lot of valuable content. Other than browsing through Textbook Revolution and finding the textbooks you want, you can always contribute to improving the website and helping other people.
6. Saylor Academy
Saylor Academy is another good place to look for free open-licensed textbooks online. They have a collection of free pdf textbooks in subjects such as accounting, management, business law & ethics, general business, social sciences, science & mathematics, personal development, and writing & communication. Some books are also available to download in ePub and word document formats.
Saylor Academy not only has open-licensed textbooks, but they also have hundreds of free courses available on its website. They encourage users to provide feedback and share the online textbook collection with their friends.
Wikibooks is a sister website of Wikipedia filled with useful content for students. However, just like in Wikipedia, anyone can edit the text so you cannot entirely depend on the material on their website. Although this is an excellent place to find valuable information just to be on the safe side, read some other sources on the topic before you cite any content from Wikibooks.
They have a lot of content available on topics on computing, humanities, sciences, mathematics, social sciences, engineering, and languages, and their layout looks just like Wikipedia but easy to choose the topic you want.
arXiv is a free service that distributes free scholarly materials such as textbooks and articles. This website was founded in 1991 and is currently operated by Cornell University and funded by the Simons Foundation. The website’s simple HTML interface is easy to use for anyone since the subjects they have open-licensed textbooks are right there on the home page.
arXiv has more than one thousand open-licensed publications available to download as pdf as well as other file formats (gzipped Tex, DVI, PostScript, HTML) in topics such as physics, mathematics, computer science, statistics, economics, quantitative biology, quantitative finance. To download your preferred textbook, all you have to do is choose the book and click on the file type you want to download; you do not have to register on the website.
9. Open SUNY Textbooks
Open SUNY Textbooks Is a platform launched in 2012 and managed by Milne Library Publishing at SUNY Geneseo. This is a trusted and great source to download open-licensed textbooks that are peer-reviewed by the staff. Open SUNY textbooks have a simple interface so that users can find textbooks easily and download pdf textbooks from this website. You don’t have to register on it to download them.
SUNY community textbooks have a lot of textbooks available in subjects such as mathematics, medicine, microbiology, education, and computer science. Some of their textbooks are available in print, but you do have to pay for printing and distribution, you can find the book list available to print on their adopt a book page.
10. Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
The non-profit organization DOAB foundation runs the directory of Open Access Books. This website contains over 2500 open-access textbooks on various topics such as Agriculture and Food Sciences, Arts, Architecture, Business, Biology, Health Science, History, Earth Science, Language and Literature, Law, Mathematics, Physics, Technology, and Engineering.
You can browse textbooks on DOAB by title, subject, and author. Also, this website has a great search feature that you could use to find the textbook you are looking for. You can download the digital textbooks in pdf by clicking the “Free Access” link under every book; the site owners also have included links to buy the book if you are interested in buying college textbooks for cheap prices.
IntechOpen is another website you can download peer-reviewed open-licensed textbooks. They have claimed that they have over half a million monthly visitors using their service. With a reddish simple user interface, they have designed their website for the user to easily access and download open access books.
IntechOpen provides you access to over 4900 open-access textbooks in topics such as Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences, Health sciences, and Social Sciences. This is another trusted source to download free textbooks like Open SUNY textbooks.
12. Teaching Commons
Simple looking OER website that provides access to k-12 materials, course materials, lesson plans, and more scholarly materials other than open-access textbooks. This website provides you the open-licensed pdf textbooks in subjects such as Arts and Humanities, Business, Education, Engineering, Law, Life sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Although it has pretty much-limited pdf textbooks available to download on its website, they have included digital open-licensed free college textbook lists you can use from other OER resources.
Open Textbook Initiative is a project started by the American Institute of Mathematics(AIM) that offers open-access mathematics textbooks for college students. It includes over 100 free mathematics textbooks in various topics such as trigonometry, geometry, algebra, calculus, statistics, probability, topology, and discrete mathematics. Most of the textbooks are under creative commons(CC) license however some books have different types of licensing such as the GNU free documentation license which still allows you to use the textbooks for free.
As we mentioned that most of the open-access textbook websites do not peer review the textbooks that are included on their websites. However, Open Textbook Initiative project has criteria that review the textbooks including whether they are suitable for traditional university courses.
Unlike other free textbook download websites here, Lyryx is an educational software founded by two mathematics professors at the University of Calgary in 1996 that also provides access to a limited collection of open textbooks in three topics which are business, mathematics & statistics, and Economics.
You can either download textbooks in pdf, epub, or HTML versions, although some might only be available in pdf versions. Although this website has a login/register button on the header of the website, you do not have to register to download any of the open textbooks on the Lyryx website.
15. GALILEO – Open Learning Materials
As you know, college textbooks are expensive, even if you buy college textbooks for cheaper prices you still will spend around 500$ per semester on textbooks. To help students cut the cost of expensive textbooks, GALILEO, and the University System of Georgia has made the GALILEO Open Learning Material website which you can use to download open-licensed free college textbooks.
GALILEO has tons of textbooks available to download as text(pdf) and Word documents in a lot of subjects, including engineering, arts, history, computer science, criminal justice, nursing, and health sciences. This website is pretty much easy to use, and you can either choose textbooks by subject, author, institution, material type, or creative commons license type.
16. JSTOR Open Access Books
JSTOR is a good open education resource(OER) and is also a part of a non-profit organization called ITHAKA. Unlike another website that offers free textbooks for college and high school students, JSTOR provides access to over 12 million journal articles and primary sources, which also includes access to free college textbooks.
This website provides access to over 6000 open-access e-textbooks from over 80 publishers, and there are no restrictions on how many books you could download per day, and you do not have to register on JSTOR to download any book.
17. B.C. Campus OpenEd
Another growing OER website that contains well over 1000 open access textbooks in various topics such as arts & design, biology, business, computer science, writing, earth and ocean sciences, education, engineering, hospitality and tourism, humanities, languages, law, maths, social sciences. BCcampus’s OpenEd is easy to use, and you do not have to register on the website to download any textbook.
They also have included some other resources to download open-access textbooks. Unlike most websites that provide pdf textbooks, this website is snowballing by adding more open-access textbooks
This website is not a place that offers download access to open license books but one significant resource page for open-licensed textbooks available on the internet. You can browse open-access textbooks on topics such as arts, engineering, biology, computer science, and more. After you select the book you want to download, there is a download URL available on every page that will lead you to the primary resource to download the book for free.
Are Free College Textbooks Sites Safe To Use?
There are a lot of websites that will let you download textbooks and magazines for free in various file formats on multiple topics. However, most of those websites are illegal to use since they contain pirated copies. If you do download free books from those illegal websites, most likely you are also downloading viruses that may harm your device.
However, the above websites that we have mentioned are always free and legal to use. All of the free college and high school textbooks they offer have open licenses, also known as creative commons licenses. which makes them free to use.
Some Other Ways to Find College Textbooks for Free
Using open-licensed textbooks is an excellent way to save money on college textbooks. However, finding free college textbooks you want for the semester is not always an option. However, there are a few ways that might help you find the textbooks you were looking for for free or at cheaper prices than in the campus store.
- Library – Check the local libraries for the textbooks you are looking for and borrow them and use them for your studies. You may have to register at the library, and you won’t be able to own the book, but you will be able to save a reasonable amount of money.
- Cheap College Textbooks – There are a lot of websites that are available on the internet that provides physical and digital textbooks for lower prices. Also, there are book subscription services like amazon kindle unlimited, and Scribd that might even have the textbook you are looking for, and these subscriptions only cost a little to no money compared to some college textbook prices.
- Buy Used Textbooks – Check used bookstores nearby for the textbooks. Also, there is a website that sells used textbooks. You may have to spend a little bit of money, but it’s worth it since you can get a book for yourself, especially if you have to use the textbook for a couple of years.
Conclusion – Free College Textbooks Websites Online
Free College Textbooks are worth using since they can help you cut unnecessary costs of buying expensive textbooks. Hopefully, the above list of legal free textbooks websites online would’ve helped you find the textbook you were looking for.
Sadie Gordon is an enthusiastic student and educator with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Wilmington University in New Castle. While managing her day job as a tutor – she writes for students and educators through SquaredMile to help them achieve the most in their student life while maintaining a perfectly healthy social life.