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There are multiple ways to get textbooks at no cost. Some are older versions, some written with licences such as Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation. It is simply knowing where to look.

Included are both Free Online, and Free Downloadable texts in various formats e.g. ebooks, PDF, Word, … . Listed books are at Tertiary or senior secondary level unless otherwise indicated.

They are listed under Major Learning Areas, then Specific Areas in these. The Other Subjects section includes the remainder. Areas such as Mathematics, Sciences and Computing have larger offerings.

This page looks at major sources for free textbook and textbooks for Education, Mathematics and Technology & Computing.

The Second Page looks at Language, Science, Social Sciences, Other Subjects and Preprints.

No Outright Recommendation is given for any textbook. Individuals must make their own decision.

Major Sources

  • 170 Free Textbooks [Open Culture]
    ‘Free textbooks written by knowledgeable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a list of 170 free Textbooks’.
  • 2020ok
    Covers areas from Art & Photography through to Travel and includes most academic areas.
  • Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts
    ‘Public domain and open access documents with a focus on American and English literature as well as Western philosophy’.
  • Bibliomania
    Reference books, classic fiction/drama/… , literature book notes, study guides, articles, interviews.
  • Bookboon
    ‘Download free online textbooks. All our books are available in PDF and you can download them directly without registration’.
  • Bookshelf
    ‘Free access to over 700 texts in life science and healthcare. Bookshelf enables users to easily browse, retrieve and read content, and spurs discovery of related information’.
  • CK-12 Foundation
    ‘CK-12 provides open-source content and technology tools to help teachers provide learning opportunities for students globally’.
  • College Open Textbooks
    ‘COT is not a repository of open textbooks; our listings point to textbooks on many repositories. About half of the textbooks we list are on the copyright holder’s own website’.
  • Digital Book Index
    ‘Links to more than 160 000 title records from more than 1 800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. More than 140 000 of these are free’.
  • Free Business eBooks
    ‘Sites that legally offer free books relating to business, for reading and listening [audio]’.
  • Free Mathematics ebooks
    ‘Ebooks and guides on Mathematics, which can be viewed online or downloadable in PDF, CHM, RAR or ZIP’ formats.
    ‘ provides more than 2 000 free scientific books’. Also theses, student notes, other links.
  • Gradesaver
    Free Online Study Guides. Extensive listing grouped alphabetically. Download as PDF documents.
  • Jekkle
    ‘Uni Text Books Online. Rent, Buy and Sell Australian Uni Textbooks’. Not free, but the next cheapest method for gaining textbooks [while also being able to sell them here].
  • Major Online Text Collections by Language
    ‘Links to a number of these sites, organised according to language and/or subject are provided. Also references to specific texts, in particular for unusual languages and unusual texts’.
  • OER Commons
    Search by subject area, level, material type, more. News, information, recommended resources, … .
  • Online Textbooks & eBooks
    ‘Free sources for academic textbooks, reference literature and education eBooks’. Annotated listing in subject areas.
  • Open Book Project
    ‘Seeks to encourage and coordinate collaboration among students and teachers for the development of high quality, freely distributable textbooks and educational materials on a wide range of topics’.
  • OpenStax College
    ‘OpenStax College offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. Free online and low-cost in print’.
  • Oxford Scholarship Online
    ‘Access to online monographs in the core areas of : Biology, Business & Management, Classics, Economics and Finance, History, Law, Linguistics, Literature, Maths, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Religion and Social Work’. Access through a subscribing institution.

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  • Perseus Digital Library,
    ‘An evolving digital library, … . Our primary goal is to bring a wide range of source materials to as large an audience as possible’.
  • Pink Monkey
    Study Guides, Booknotes, Online Textbooks for 15 subjects, Literature summary, more.
  • Project Gutenberg
    ‘20 000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalogue. Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet’. Also try the Australian version, which has options unavailable at the US site.
  • Samizdat Press
    Textbooks, lecture notes and software available for free download. Most in the sciences.
  • Science Books Online
    ‘Free science ebooks, textbooks, lecture notes, monographs and other science related documents. All texts available for free reading online, or downloading in various formats’.

Second-Hand Books



    ‘Booksellers on AbeBooks offer a vast selection of new and used textbooks’. USA but with free shipping.
  • BooksIntoCash
    ‘Buying textbooks on the internet since 2000’. USA. No free shipping to/from Australia as far as we can see.
  • Sparknotes
    Study guides [in booklet form] covering many areas, predominantly Language based.
    ‘Find free etextbooks available for immediate download, by entering title, author, or key words for the textbook’.
  • Textbook Revolution
    ‘The web’s source for free educational materials. TBR’s mission is to drive the adoption of Free textbooks by teachers and professors. We want to get these books into classrooms’.
  • The Assayer
    ‘The web’s largest catalogue of books whose authors have made them available for free. The site is a particularly good place to find free books about maths, science, and computers’.
  • The Global Text Project
    ‘Open content electronic textbooks that will be Freely available from a website. Distribution also possible via paper, CD, or DVD’.
  • The National Academies Press
    ‘We offer more than 4 000 titles in PDF format. All can be downloaded for free by the chapter or the entire book’. Accounting to Transportation & Infrastructure.
  • The Online Books Page
    University of Pennsylvania. Browse by subject term, call number [often Library of Congress] or an alphabetical listing of all subject terms.
  • Wikibooks
    ‘With [a] mission to create a free collection of open-content textbooks anyone can edit. Volunteers have written about 25 000 modules in a multitude of textbooks.

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  • Advanced Calculus
    Lynn Loomis and Schlomo Sternberg. Harvard University.
  • Calculus
    Online text by Gilbert Strang, 2005. MIT Open Courseware. Instructor’s manual and student Study Guide.
  • Calculus on the Web
    Done by Temple University. 7 books in this group from Precalculus to Number Theory and Abstract Algebra.
  • Precalculus [Collingwood, Prince, Conroy]
    2011. ‘The basic theme of this book is to study precalculus within the context of problem solving’.

General Mathematics

  • An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers [Leo Moser]
    ‘An expanded version of a series of lectures for graduate students on elementary number theory’.
  • Basic Concepts of Mathematics [Elias Zakon]
    ‘Helps the student complete the transition from purely manipulative to rigorous mathematics. The many exercises and optional topics allow the instructor to adapt this book to many environments and levels of students’.
  • Chaos Hypertextbook
    Mathematics in the Age of the Computer. ‘For anyone with an interest in chaos, fractals, non-linear dynamics, or mathematics in general’.
  • Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra v2 [Victor Shoup]
    ‘Basic concepts from computational number theory and algebra, including all the necessary mathematical background. PDF format under a Creative Commons license’.
  • Dave’s Short Trig Course
    18 chapters from Who Should Take This Course ? via Applications of Trigonometry to Summary of Trigonometric Identities.
  • Differential Equations [Paul Dawkins]
    2011. ‘Basic Concepts; First Order Differential Equations; Second Order Differential Equations; Laplace Transforms; Systems of Differential Equations; Series Solutions; Higher Order Differential Equations; Boundary Value Problems and Fourier Series; Partial Differential Equations’.
  • New ! Introduction to Probability, Statistics and Random Processes
    ‘For undergraduate as well as first-year graduate level courses on the subject. It can be used by both students and practitioners in engineering, mathematics, finance, and other related fields. The entire textbook, Short video lectures, Online calculators for important functions and distributions, a solutions manual for instructors’.
  • The Golden E-Book of Graphs of Mathematical Functions
    ‘An introduction to the transcomplex surfaces’. Very small cost. Use the Math link at the top for other books.

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Technology & Computing

    ‘Free computer science and engineering books + lecture notes’.
  • Tech Books for Free
    Well annotated listing covering multiple pages. Some individual titles included below.


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