There are multiple avenues to access textbooks at no cost. Some are older versions, some have been written specifically using licences allowing free access such as Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation. It is simply a matter of knowing where to look.
Included in these listings are both Free Online, and Free Downloadable texts in various formats e.g. ebooks, PDF, Word, … . In most cases, textbooks available for purchase at major bookstores Are Not Included. Listed books are at Tertiary level unless otherwise indicated.
They are listed under Major Learning Areas, then Specific Areas within these. The Other Subjects section includes all not within listed major learning areas. Some areas such as Mathematics, Sciences and Computing have significantly larger offerings.
There are multiple pages that can be accessed using either the page number boxes above or the other links.
This page looks at major sources for free textbook collections and textbooks for Education, Mathematics and Technology & Computing.
The Second Page looks at Language, Science, Social Sciences, Other Subjects and Preprints.
We have tried to ensure those included are of a high standard.
No Outright Recommendation is given for any textbook. Individuals must make their own decision.
Links to multiple texts. These may also include other documentation such as lecture notes and tutorials.
- 160 Free Textbooks : A Meta Collection [Open Culture]
‘Free textbooks [aka open textbooks] written by knowledgeable scholars are a relatively new phenomenon. Below, find a meta list of 160 Free Textbooks, and check back often for new additions’.
Covers a wide range of areas from Art & Photography through to Travel and includes most academic areas.
- Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts
‘A collection of public domain and open access documents with a focus on American and English literature as well as Western philosophy’.
Provides access to reference books, classic fiction/drama/… , literature book notes, study guides, articles, interviews.
‘On Bookboon you can download Free online textbooks. All our books are available in PDF and you can download them directly without registration’. Also has Business Books and Travel Guides.
‘Bookshelf provides free access to over 700 texts in life science and healthcare. A vital node in the data-rich resource network at NCBI, Bookshelf enables users to easily browse, retrieve and read content, and spurs discovery of related information’.
‘CaféScribe is all about helping students save money and get better grades. Our digital textbooks and Free MyScribe reader take you where traditional printed media can’t. Think of us as textbooks 2.0’. You have to purchase the textbooks, but not the reader.
‘Chegg not only sells cheap textbooks but we also rent them too, which saves students a significant amount of money each year. We even launched a new eReader to promote an interactive eTextbook experience for students, while at the same time lessening our dependence on paper books. With a brand new eReader app and an extensive eTextbook catalogue, Chegg has become a significant contributor to the eTextbook revolution’. US based company.
- CK-12 Foundation
‘A non-profit organisation with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational STEM content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning through the FlexBook Platform®’.
- College Open Textbooks
‘Our activities include listing open textbooks by subject, peer reviews and accessibility reviews of open textbooks, encouraging communities of practice, and much more. 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
‘Provides links to more than 130 000 title records from more than 1 800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. About 90 000 of these are available Free’.
More than 3 000 ebook texts in many categories. Links to suppliers of the actual data.
‘Discover over 20 000 full-text books in multiple academic and general interest subject areas, sheet music titles and reports. Use our advanced research technology, highlights, bookmarks, annotations and more’. Unless your library has an agreement with eBrary, this is Fee-based but fees appear to be very reasonable.
- Flatworld Knowledge
Open College Textbooks. Books are Free Online. Covers Economics areas from Accounting to Marketing. Some books listed but still to come online, though predicted dates are provided. Adopt or Adapt books for use with class groups.
- Free Business Books
‘This is a listing of sites that legally offer Free books relating to business, for reading and listening [audio]’. A review listing from Gizmo’s Freeware.
- Free eTextbooks Online
‘Find Free etextbooks available for immediate download, by entering the title, author, or key words for the textbook’.
- Free Mathematics
‘Ebooks and guides on Mathematics, which can be viewed online or downloadable in PDF, CHM, RAR or ZIP’ formats.
- Free Non-business Textbooks
Better known for their business books, but these Free books cover areas from Anthropology to Software and Sociology. Links lead to other sources, over a wide field.
‘FreeScience.info provides more than 2 000 Free scientific books’. Multiple Science areas, also theses, student notes, other links.
Free Online Study Guides. Extensive listing grouped alphabetically. Download as PDF documents. Links to articles, writing help and more.
- Humanities Text Initiative
Run by the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service.
‘Uni Text Books Online. Rent, Buy and Sell Australian Uni Textbooks’. They may not be free, but it could well be the next cheapest method for gaining textbooks [while also being able to sell them here when you have finished your studies].
- Major Online Text Collections by
‘An increasing number of source texts of interest to researchers are becoming available in electronic format at various sites on the internet. Links to a number of these sites, organised according to language and/or subject are provided below. 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. Guaranteed to help you save money and learn something at the same time’. Listed in subject areas with annotations for each. Use the link from the home page for Textbooks & eBooks.
- Open Book Project
‘Aimed at the educational community and 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. The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web are making collaboration among educators on a global scale possible for the first time. We want to harness this exciting technology to promote learning and sharing’.
- OpenStax College
‘OpenStax College offers students Free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers. Adopt a book today for a turnkey classroom solution or modify it to suit your teaching approach. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax College books are built for today’s student budgets’.
- Open Text Book
‘Open Text Book is a registry of textbooks [and related materials] which are open - that is Free for anyone to use, reuse and redistribute. It is run by the Open Knowledge Foundation’.
- Oxford Scholarship Online
‘Scholars and students have unrivalled 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. The complete text of over 1 350 carefully selected Oxford books available online for the first time’. Access through a subscribing institution.
- 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 and more.
- Project Gutenberg
‘There are 20 000 Free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalogue. Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of Free ebooks on the Internet’. Covers fiction & non-fiction. 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. A listing of other sources for Free material.
- Science Books Online
‘Lists Free science ebooks, textbooks, lecture notes, monographs and other science related documents. All texts are available for Free reading online, or for downloading in various formats’.
This includes sources for both purchasing and selling second hand texts.
- 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’. Percentages paid are indicated.
- RMIT Bookshop - Textbook Buybacks
‘Finished your course ? Looking at getting rid of your old books ? Right now, we’re paying cash for selected textbooks’. Check times when this occurs.
- Second-hand Textbooks Online - Macquarie Uni Book
Buying and selling books. You need to create an account but this appears to be Free.
- Textbook Exchange
‘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 Textbooks
‘UQU’s Secondhand Text & Stationery Shop at St Lucia. There’s a huge variety of secondhand textbooks at a fraction of the original RRP saving you loads of money each semester’.
‘Booksellers on AbeBooks offer a vast selection of new and used textbooks’.
US company ‘buying textbooks on the internet since 2000’.
- Slippery Rock University
A compilation of links by the Bailey Library to sources of full-text books as well as several databases [including online versions].
Study guides [in booklet form] covering many areas, predominantly Language based.
- Textbook Media
‘A place where you select the price and the format of your textbook. We have teamed with participating publishers to place advertising inside textbooks and other study materials in order to offset the cost. These sponsored books have lowered the cost so much that some titles are even free. Ad-free and paperback versions also available at a low price’.
- Textbook Media Press
We know they are not free but they are certainly cheaper than complete purchase. ‘We offer semester- and year-long rentals of hundreds of the most popular texts assigned at Australian universities’. Find out how to access these.
- 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’.
‘Welcome to Textbooks4u at the Nile - Australia’s best source for all your uni textbook needs. Browse around or search the site to find your books cheaply and with ease’.
- 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 in cost and Free such that everyone is Free to use, change, and redistribute the materials as long as they give everyone else the freedom to do the same’.
Undergoing migration. Check back soon.
- The Global Text Project
‘Will create open content electronic textbooks that will be Freely available from a website. Distribution also possible via paper, CD, or DVD’. Limited selection but growing.
- The National Academies Press
‘Read more than 3 000 books online Free ! More than 900 PDFs now available for sale’. Areas from Accounting to Transportation & Infrastructure.
Highly Recommended !
- 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. From general to very specific topics.
Highly Recommended !
‘Wikibooks, a Wikimedia project that was started with the mission to create a Free collection of open-content textbooks that anyone can edit. Since our founding, volunteers have written about 24 986 modules in a multitude of textbooks.- Major learning areas, then sub-directories.
- World Wide School® Library
Collection of books under directories, e.g. Literature, Social Sciences, Non-English, … , then further sub-divided into sub-directories.
- Blended Learning in K-12
‘This book is an overview of the concept of blended learning and how it relates to the integration of technologies in the K-12 environment’.
- Collaborative Teaching
Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms 2000 - 2001. 10 chapters, References & Links. One chapter [legal requirements] may not be relevant to Australian conditions.
- Education for an Information Age
‘The audience for Education for an Information Age is the pre-service/in-service K-12 teacher. The primary goal of the text is to help you incorporate the computer into your K-12 curriculum. A secondary goal is to support your endeavours towards becoming the most effective educator you can be in the context of the K-12 classroom of today and tomorrow’.
- 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. Based on American study.
- How People Learn
Brain, Mind, Experience, and School : Expanded Edition 2000.
- Knowing What Students Know
The Science and Design of Educational Assessment 2001.
- Taking Science to School
Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8. ‘A comprehensive picture of what we know about teaching and learning science from kindergarten through eighth grade. By looking at a broad range of questions, this book provides a basic foundation for guiding science teaching and supporting students in their learning’.
- Teaching Assistant’s Handbook
‘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
A Practical Guide to Enhancing Learning by Understanding Teaching and Learning Styles, Tony Grasha.
Links to multiple texts. These may also include other documentation such as lecture notes and tutorials.
- 2020ok Mathematics
Select from an extensive range of sub-categories from Applied Maths to Trigonometry.
- Free Mathematics Books
‘An alphabetical list of online mathematics books, textbooks, monographs, lecture notes and other mathematics related documents freely available on the web’.
‘For people who want to learn or teach mathematics on the basis of reason …’.
- Free Online Textbooks, …
Plus Lecture Notes, Tutorials, and Videos on Mathematics. Extensive listing, broken into specific Mathematics aspects. Each entry is clearly annotated.
- Mathematics Books Online
Non-Links to portals and individual titles. There is also a link to AMS Books Online.
- Mathematics : Online Texts
About 180 texts, compiled by the Open Directory Project. Basic, introductory works and more esoteric examples.
- Online Mathematics Textbooks
Nearly 70 links to online texts that are Free to use. Mathematics from Calculus to an Introduction to Vectors.
- Online Science and Math Textbooks
Extensive listing, each briefly annotated. Connections to other textbook portals.
- Elementary Algebra with Applications
Online text with similar contents to those in Understanding Algebra&.
- Elements of Abstract and Linear Algebra
‘Foundational textbook on abstract algebra with emphasis on linear algebra. Download parts of the book or the entire textbook. Provided Free online in PDF, DVI, postscript, and gzipped postscript’.
- Linear Algebra
‘This text, Linear Algebra, is Free for downloading. It covers an undergraduate first course, with a prerequisite of Calculus I. You can use it either as a main text, or as a supplement to another text, or for independent study. A separate file with all answers, fully worked, is also Freely downloadable’.
- Linear Algebra [Rice]
‘Introduction to Linear Algebra for Pre-Calculus Students,’
- Understanding Algebra
‘Suitable for high-school Algebra, … a refresher for college students who need help preparing for college-level mathematics, or for anyone who wants to learn introductory algebra’.
- Advanced Calculus
By Lynn Loomis and Schlomo Sternberg. Harvard University.
Online text by Gilbert Strang. MIT Open Courseware. Has an Instructor’s manual and a student Study Guide.
- Calculus on the Web
Done by Temple University. 7 books in this group from Precalculus to Number Theory and Abstract Algebra.
- An Introduction to the Theory of Numbers
‘An expanded version of a series of lectures for graduate students on elementary number theory. Topics include : Compositions and Partitions; Arithmetic Functions; Distribution of Primes; Irrational Numbers; Congruences; Diophantine Equations; Combinatorial Number Theory; and Geometry of Numbers’. Leo Moser.
- Basic Concepts of Mathematics [Elias Zakon]
‘Helps the student complete the transition from purely manipulative to rigorous mathematics. The clear exposition covers many topics that are assumed by later courses but are often not covered with any depth or organisation. 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. ‘I wrote this book for anyone with an interest in chaos, fractals, non-linear dynamics, or mathematics in general. It’s a moderately heavy piece of work, requiring a bit of mathematical knowledge, but it is definitely not aimed at mathematicians’.
- Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra
‘Introducing basic concepts from computational number theory and algebra, including all the necessary mathematical background. The book will continue to be freely available online in PDF format under a Creative Commons license’.
- Dave’s Short Trig Course
16 chapters from Who Should Take This Course ? via Applications of Trigonometry and The Trigonometric Functions and Their Inverses to Summary of Trigonometric Identities.
- The Golden E-Book of Graphs of Mathematical Functions
‘An introduction to the transcomplex surfaces. It begins with simple algebraic and trigonometric tridimensional surfaces. It ends with an application of the equiangular spiral of the transcomplex exponential function to the problem of interplanetary journeys’.
Technology & Computing
Links to multiple texts. These may also include other documentation such as lecture notes and tutorials.
- Free Computer Books
For Programming, Web Development, Networking, Operating Systems, Admin., etc.. 4 pages of links to sources of books, tutorials and other information sources, with a weighting on textbooks.
- Free Computer Books, Tutorials & Lecture Notes
Search 9 major areas, each with multiple sub-directories, e.g. Languages has 34, link to Maths Books, IT References, Other Book Sites, FAQs, even IT jobs.
‘Free computer science and engineering books + lecture notes’.
- O’Reilly Open Books
Books, some now out of print on areas of computing and other technology aspects. Most done under Creative Commons.
- Science Ebooks
‘Science-ebooks.com has developed four Free interactive, online methods of teaching system troubleshooting’. Links to circuit animations and an ezine.
- Tech Books for Free
‘Free books on technology subjects’ 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.
- A Programmer’s Introduction to PHP 4.0
16 chapters from the Introduction through Variables and Data Types, Strings and Regular Expressions, PHP and Dynamic Site Development to a final chapter on Security.
- Building Accessible Websites
Joe Clark. Created in 2003.
- Green Tea Press
‘Publisher of How to Think Like a Computer Scientist : Learning with Python. How to Think… is a Free textbook available under the GNU Free Documentation License. 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. Very extensive and full. 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. This approach fosters a variety of skills - critical reading, analytical thinking, creative synthesis, and attention to detail - that are important for everyone, not just future computer programmers. All the book’s support materials are available for Free on the Web. 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. 2005.
- Python Bibliotheca
‘This site aims to be both a library of educational materials using Python to teach computer programming, and a virtual meeting place for teachers and students engaged in learning and teaching using Python’. Includes textbooks for beginners as well as tutorials, multimedia and more. Part of the Open Book Project noted above.
- Software Engineering for Internet Applications
MIT Press 2006. ‘This is the textbook for the MIT course Software Engineering for Internet Applications for juniors and seniors in Computer Science. We assume they know how to write a computer program and debug it. We do not assume knowledge of any particular programming languages, standards, or protocols’.
- Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Complete book available in HTML. There are downloadable assignments, code, Instructor’s Manual, plus other general information.
- Web-Teaching, 2nd Edition
20 chapters, glossary, references [also URLs]. Chapters range from Research on Teaching : Web Issues to Multimedia Classrooms : Lecturing and beyond. Every aspect of teaching and technology usage.