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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

  • 160 Free Textbooks [Open Culture]
    ‘Free textbooks written by knowledgeable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a list of 160 Free Textbooks,. Check back often for new additions’.
  • 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’.
  • CaféScribe
    ‘CaféOur digital textbooks and Free MyScribe reader take you where traditional printed media can’t. Think of us as textbooks 2.0’. Purchase the textbooks, but not the reader.
  • 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’.
  • eBrary
    ‘Discover over 20 000 full-text books in multiple academic and general interest subject areas, sheet music titles and reports’. Unless your library has an agreement with eBrary, this is Fee-based but fees appear to be very reasonable.
  • Flatworld Knowledge
    Open College Textbooks are Free Online. Economics areas from Accounting to Marketing. Some books listed but still to come online, though predicted dates are provided.
  • 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.
  • Free Non-business Textbooks
    These Free books cover areas from Anthropology to Software and Sociology. Links lead to other sources.
    ‘ 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.
  • Humanities Text Initiative
    University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service.
  • 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. There are 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
    ‘A directory of 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’.
  • BooksIntoCash
    US company ‘buying textbooks on the internet since 2000’.
  • 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’.
    Not free but certainly cheaper than complete purchase. ‘We offer semester- and year-long rentals of hundreds of the most popular texts assigned at Australian universities’.
  • 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 has been around since 2000, and is a particularly good place to find Free books about maths, science, and computers’.
  • The Free Textbook Project
    ‘Dedicated to creating and sharing educational materials that are Free’.
    Undergoing migration. Check back soon.
  • 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
    ‘Read more than 3 000 books online Free ! More than 900 PDFs now available for sale’. 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.
    Recommended !
  • Wikibooks
    ‘A Wikimedia project started with the mission to create a Free collection of open-content textbooks anyone can edit. Volunteers have written about 24 986 modules in a multitude of textbooks.
  • World Wide School® Library
    Collection of books under directories, e.g. Literature, Social Sciences, Non-English, … .

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  • Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra
    ‘Foundational textbook on abstract algebra with emphasis on linear algebra. Download in parts or whole. PDF, DVI, postscript, and gzipped postscript’.
  • Linear Algebra
    ‘This text covers an undergraduate first course, with a prerequisite of Calculus I. A separate file with all answers, fully worked, is also Freely downloadable’.
  • Understanding Algebra
    ‘Suitable for high-school Algebra, or for anyone who wants to learn introductory algebra’.


  • Advanced Calculus
    By Lynn Loomis and Schlomo Sternberg. Harvard University.
  • Calculus
    Online text by Gilbert Strang. 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.

General Mathematics

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Technology & Computing

  • 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.
    ‘Free computer science and engineering books + lecture notes’.
  • O’Reilly Open Books
    Books, some now out of print, on areas of computing. Most under Creative Commons.
  • Science Ebooks
    ‘ has developed four Free interactive, online methods of teaching system troubleshooting’. Links to circuit animations and an ezine.
  • 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. Now revised and only online.
  • 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 Build a Successful Website
    Contents range from Choosing a Site Model to areas such as an Affiliate Program Primer. 2003.
  • How To Design Programs
    An Introduction To Programming and Computing. ‘This introduction to programming places computer science in the core of a liberal arts education. Unlike other introductory books, it focuses on the program design process. The Web site 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 online via chapters, or a full PDF download.
  • Python Bibliotheca
    ‘This site aims to be a library of educational materials using Python to teach computer programming’. Includes textbooks for beginners as well as tutorials, multimedia and 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’.
  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
    Complete book available in HTML. Downloadable assignments, code, Instructor’s Manual, plus other general information.
  • Web-Teaching, 2nd Edition
    20 chapters, glossary, references. Chapters range from Research on Teaching : Web Issues to Multimedia Classrooms : Lecturing and beyond.

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