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.
- 170 Free Textbooks [Open Culture]
‘Free textbooks written by knowledgeable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a list of 170 free Textbooks’.
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’.
Reference books, classic fiction/drama/… , literature book notes, study guides, articles, interviews.
‘Download free online textbooks. All our books are available in PDF and you can download them directly without registration’.
‘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’.
‘House[s] one of the largest repositories of open educational resources in the world. All materials are housed free of charge in a variety of formats. Content is accessible not only online, but in PDF and EPUB formats, as well as being available through a print-on-demand option’.
- 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’.
- Directory of Open Access Books
‘Generally speaking, all books listed in DOAB are free to read and share for non-commercial use. Please check the license if you want to re-use the contents of a book. use the Search pages if you have a specific question. Use the Browse pages to look at several books that are related in some way’. “Free Access” link provides downloads. Thousands of books.
‘These free ebooks are divided into different categories. Categories range from business, art, computing to education’.
- 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.
‘FreeScience.info provides more than 2 000 free scientific books’. Also theses, student notes, other links.
Free Online Study Guides. Extensive listing grouped alphabetically. Download as PDF documents.
‘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
‘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, … .
- 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
‘View and share free educational material in small modules that can be organised as courses, books, reports or other academic assignments’.
- Open Textbook Library
‘Reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost’.
- 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.
‘A student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. Some of the books are PDF files, others are viewable online as ebooks, or some are simply web sites containing course or multimedia content’.
- 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.
- 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’.
- DUSA Bookshop - 2nd Hand Books
‘At specific times of the year DUSA Bookshop accepts any second-hand textbooks that appear on the Deakin booklist at each particular campus. Off-campus textbooks are accepted at all DUSA Bookshop outlets’.
- Second-hand Textbooks Online - Macquarie Uni Book
Buying and selling. You need to Create an account but it appears to be free.
- StudentVIP Textbooks
‘Australia’s largest second hand textbook site is a 100% Free service for StudentVIP members’.
- UNSW Second-Hand Bookshop
Information about when, where and and how is provided.
- UQU Secondhand
‘UQU’s Secondhand Text & Stationery Shop at St Lucia’.
‘Booksellers on AbeBooks offer a vast selection of new and used textbooks’. USA but with free shipping.
‘Buying textbooks on the internet since 2000’. USA. No free shipping to/from Australia as far as we can see.
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.
‘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.
- A Framework
for K-12 Science Education : Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
‘Proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students’ interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field’. Free in PDF format.
- Blended Learning in K-12
‘Overview of the concept of blended learning and how it relates to the integration of technologies in the K-12 environment’.
- Education for an Information Age
‘The primary goal of the text is to help you incorporate the computer into your K-12 curriculum’.
- Knowing What
The Science and Design of Educational Assessment 2001. Free in PDF format.
- Taking Science to School
2007. ‘By looking at a broad range of questions, this book provides a basic foundation for guiding science teaching and supporting students in their learning’. Free in PDF format.
- Teaching Assistant’s Handbook
2005. ‘Janet Kay’s best-selling Teaching Assistant’s Handbook has been revised and updated especially for Teaching Assistants working in the primary school’.
- Teaching with Style
2002. A Practical Guide to Enhancing Learning by Understanding Teaching and Learning Styles, Tony Grasha.
- 2020ok Mathematics
Select sub-categories from Applied Maths to Trigonometry.
- Free Mathematics Books
‘Alphabetical list of online mathematics books, textbooks, monographs, lecture notes and other documents freely available on the web’. A Categorised Directory is found here.
- Free Maths eBooks Online
Gizmo’s Freeware. ‘A listing of 116 sites that legally offer free ebooks relating to Maths. There is a separate listing of sites offering free audio or video relating to Maths’.
- Helping Children Learn Mathematics
52 page text covering reasons why some children are not learning mathematics as well as they should and how this can be overcome. Free in PDF format.
- Mathematics : Online Texts
About 60 texts compiled by the Open Directory Project. Basic, introductory works, more esoteric examples.
- Online Mathematics Textbooks
Nearly 70 links to online texts Free to use. Mathematics from Calculus to an Introduction to Vectors.
- Linear Algebra [J Hefferon]
‘Covers an undergraduate first course, with a prerequisite of Calculus I. A separate file with all answers, fully worked, is also freely downloadable’.
- Linear Algebra [Peter Petersen]
‘Covers the aspects of linear algebra that are included in most advanced undergraduate texts’.
- Understanding Algebra [James Brennan]
‘Suitable for high-school Algebra, or for anyone who wants to learn introductory algebra’.
- Advanced Calculus
Lynn Loomis and Schlomo Sternberg. Harvard University.
Online text by Gilbert Strang, 2005. MIT Open Courseware. Instructor’s manual and student Study Guide. Includes a series of videos.
- 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’.
- 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’.
- 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
‘An introduction to the transcomplex surfaces’. Very small cost. Use the Maths link at the top for other books.
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.
- A Practical Theory of Programming
‘Download the book in four parts, in PDF format. Download the lecture visuals, in PDF format’. Also in Chinese.
- Building Accessible Websites [Joe Clark]
Revised in 2008 and only online.
- Free ebooks from Microsoft Press
‘From technical overviews to drilldowns on special topics, these free ebooks are available in PDF, EPUB, and/or Mobi for Kindle formats, ready for you to download’.
- Foundations of Computation [Critchlow, Eck]
2011. From logic, sets and functions to theoretical computer science.
- Free Computer Books
4 pages of links to sources of books, tutorials and other information sources, with a weighting on textbooks.
- Free Computer Books, Tutorials & Lecture Notes
9 major areas, each with multiple sub-directories, e.g. Languages 34, link to Maths Books, IT References, Other Book Sites, FAQs, more.
- Green Tea Press
‘Publisher of How to Think Like a Computer Scientist : Learning with Python. Readers are Free to copy and distribute the text’.
- How To Design Programs
An Introduction To Programming and Computing. ‘Places computer science in the core of a liberal arts education. Unlike other introductory books, it focuses on the program design process. Includes the environment, teacher guides, exercises for all levels, solutions, and additional projects’. MIT, 2003 version.
- Introduction to Machine Learning [Nils Nilsson]
Stanford University. Available as a full PDF download.
- O’Reilly Open Books
Books, some now out of print, on areas of computing. Most under Creative Commons.
- Python Bibliotheca
‘Aims to be a library of educational materials using Python to teach computer programming’. Includes textbooks for beginners, tutorials, multimedia, more.
- Software Engineering for Internet Applications
MIT Press 2006. ‘The textbook for the MIT course Software Engineering for Internet Applications for juniors and seniors in Computer Science’.