5 Best Online Sources for Free College Textbooks

  • It's no news that college textbooks do not come cheap.


    While grappling with tuition fees and living expenses, as a student, you also have to deal with the financial reality of buying textbooks.


    Online sites like Amazon and Chegg have become cheaper alternatives, but even then, the cost of textbooks still add up to a small fortune.


    It is to solve this problem that a lot of free-books-projects were started online, all motivated by one philosophy; Education is the right of all, as such, expensive college textbook only serves as a hindrance.


    The sites offer a free catalog of books on different subjects. Even if you're not lucky enough to find the exact ones you're looking for, you'll still have a lot of options for reference materials.


    Most times, that's all you need to widen your scope and ace your exams.


    These sites are some of your best bet:


    1. Book Boon


    This site offers an extensive collection of reference materials especially in areas of business and career development. You'll find books on accounting, economics, management, marketing, IT and so on.


    There are also books on Internship, writing skills, interview skills and on how to manage your career life.


    The books have pages ranging from 50 to 100, containing straight to the point facts.


    Book Boon makes money by selling relevant and non-intrusive advertisements that appear in the books.


    You only have to fill out a form to download any book you want.


    2. Project Gutenberg


    This site is a volunteer effort offering a collection of over 45,000 books, mostly with expired copyright.


    You'll find books in formats such as ePub with or without images, HTML, Kindle, plain text, and so on.


    All books are free and so no registration fee is required to download them.


    There's also a handy feature on the site that offers suggestions for similar books that other people have downloaded, just like on Amazon.


    3. Openstax


    This is a go-to site for college students just starting out with introductory courses.


    The books are peer-reviewed by educators, so they're generally of high quality.


    You'll find books on Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Pre-calculus, Sociology, History and so on, in different formats.


    Openstax was founded in 2011 and receives supports from different philanthropic foundations and companies, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It also receives donations of money or books from individuals.


    4. Boundless


    This startup gets books from public sites such as Wikipedia and aligns their content with big-selling college textbooks through a human curation and vetting process.


    The resulting product is a digital textbook referred to as The boundless alternative.


    It includes only the key points, terms and examples, and the content can be highlighted and searched.


    The content also comes with flashcards and quizzes for better comprehension.


    You can find Boundless alternatives to popular books in the subjects of accounting, algebra, art history, biology, business, chemistry, communications, economics, finance, United States history, management, marketing, microbiology, physiology, political science, psychology, sociology, and writing.


    The only downside to this site is that there's no option to download. Books can only be read online.


    5. College Open Textbooks


    This website was created through a collaboration of over 20 educational non-profit and for-profit organizations.


    The aim is to promote the adoption of open textbooks by Community Colleges and to provide the books to them for free.


    The books are listed by subjects and you can find textbooks on Law, Health and Nursing, Philosophy, Engineering, Art, and Many more.


    There are also online courses, lessons, and other forms of digital reference materials available.


    As a bonus


    Ebook Search Engine is a nifty tool created by a Reddit user, Manwithoutmodem. It is a custom google search engine that sources for books from a variety of free sites.


  • Samantha Chloe
    Samantha Chloe For every college student, reading is sacrosanct. However, the problem becomes where to get free textbooks. You've shared a very helpful piece, and I'm definitely going to share this article.
    Feb 3
  • Cheska J
    Cheska J I am so glad to come by this post, it's only Project Gutenberg that I'm familiar with -- this whole list is such a huge help for me! I love how you were able to put a short explanation about what each source has to offer. Definitely going to check them...  more
    Apr 30

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