How to Find Free Textbooks Online

How To Get Free Textbooks Online

You will immediately lose $300 if you enroll in two online courses, each of which has one textbook requirement. Take 30 online courses to get your associate’s degree while seeing $4,500 disappear from your bank account. Additionally, plan on paying considerably more if you’re enrolling in courses in specializations like accounting.

You may literally save thousands of dollars on the cost of your online education by taking efforts to reduce the cost of your college textbooks. Today’s students, as opposed to those of ten years ago, have a variety of alternatives for obtaining college textbooks online, including the choice of downloading certain free textbooks online or frequenting low-cost online buying sites.

Best Ways to Reduce Book Costs

Which textbook approach offers the best pay-off (figuratively speaking) for the majority of online students?

Your Choices:

  • purchase a fresh book on paper
  • Buy a second-hand printed book.
  • For the semester, rent a printed textbook.
  • Rent an electronic book or digital textbook for the semester.
  • Let’s take a closer look at these choices.

Printed Textbooks — Rent & Return

Renting rather than purchasing outright old-fashioned printed textbooks will help you lower your tuition costs and save thousands. Here are some startling findings from an online search for textbook rentals:

Tips for Using Textbook Rental Sites

  • Read the Fine Print

Examine the rental agreement for your textbooks carefully to maximize your savings. Check to see if there are any additional fees or late charges (other than longer rental durations) to avoid paying more than you intended to. Make sure you comprehend the dates, conditions, and promises you are making in the rental agreement by reading it thoroughly. It’s wonderful to have a 30-day money-back guarantee in there because what if you decide to stop taking the course?

  • Verify the ISBN number.

Make sure you have the most recent version of the materials you need for your lesson by carefully checking. Always double-check the information against the assignments your teacher has given you.

  • Compare various rental websites

Don’t only rush to Amazon to rent your textbooks; there are many more possibilities as well. Other websites could be more user-friendly, cheaper, or provide better rental conditions.

  • Select the Appropriate Rental Term

What first appears to be a good price might not be as good after all. For instance, some online textbook rental organizations will rent books for shorter durations than a semester. Verify that the rental term includes enough time to get you through your test period and the entire time you will require the textbook. Rent extensions or late returns might raise your overall expense.

  • Be Wary of That Coffee Cup

When you return the textbook to the majority of textbook rental providers, they usually accept some minor signs of wear and tear, such as a spot on the cover or a few scuffs on the pages. Some publishers even don’t charge you to highlight pages in their books. But why not study before breakfast? late-night studying? Avoid dropping an egg or spilling coffee to avoid having to pay for a replacement copy.

  • Investigate shipping discounts

As the market for renting out textbooks online grows more competitive, special offers are being made. Some online retailers currently provide free or reduced delivery. Profit from shipping discounts to cut the cost of each rental textbook by an additional $10 to $20. When comparing rates, consider your total cost of rental including delivery as many websites offer free shipping and returns.

Digital Textbooks: Are They Worth It?

An average digital textbook costs $50, which is between 50% and 70% less than a brand-new printed textbook. A good deal, yes? Well, perhaps not. The majority of digital textbooks (also known as e-books) are less expensive than their printed counterparts, but only on the surface, claims the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign. If you look closer, traditional printed textbooks can still be your best investment.

The majority of digital textbooks have unappealing qualities that raise doubts about their claim to be “more inexpensive options” for online students. First off, most eTexts are made to delete themselves from your hard drive 180 days after being downloaded. Make sure you have the required 180 days to grasp the necessary knowledge. Otherwise, your books can disappear right before you need them for a last-minute study session. You could have to pay extra fees to protect your textbooks from disappearing.

More significantly, be aware that used e-books cannot be sold again. The book is a POOF after 180 days on your computer’s hard disk! Gone! No more reading!

“Used” books

Many online students may discover that renting old printed textbooks outright or purchasing a printed textbook that they can resale at the end of the semester is more economical.

You may always sell a book you already possess online as a “used” book. The demand for old textbooks is still strong. Typically, a printed text purchased for $150 may be resold for around 50% of the original cost.

While renting a printed textbook is roughly equivalent to renting a digital one, printed volumes don’t disappear.

And if you buy a printed textbook and resell it, you can get some of your money back.

The majority of digital textbooks have page limits, which is another disadvantage. The maximum number of pages before the e-book locks up is usually ten. If you need to print off more than 10 pages for a portable late-night study session, this can be a nuisance.

There is frequently a code that students must “buy” in order to access the assignments and other course materials, even for digital or online textbooks. These access credentials, which are increasingly in demand among professors, can cost $100 or more, which increases the cost to students.

Search For Discounts On Bundled Online Textbooks

Some online institutions have started direct negotiations with publishers on behalf of their students in an effort to lessen the financial burden of textbook fees. Others even incorporate the price of online textbooks in all of their courses, preventing students from being surprised by unforeseen charges.

Before enrolling, inquire with your online institution about any unique production, subsidized rental, or price agreements they may have with any print or digital textbook companies.

Since online book production and distribution have been widely used, textbook publishers are under a lot of pressure to deliver a better product at a reduced price.

Online Textbooks for Cheap

Some universities encourage their online professors to write and publish their own textbooks digitally. Students from all around the world can obtain these independently written instructional materials for free or at a much-reduced cost compared to open-market textbook costs.

A textbook developed by an instructor often costs less than $40, which is around one-third less than a textbook produced by a company. Low-cost, instructor-published materials are still not generally accessible, though. To receive this kind of discount, you would need to enroll in a course that provides this choice.

For professors who wish to provide their students with an economical choice, websites like SolutionInn offer free college textbooks, instructor manuals, and homework help.

Online textbooks that are free to download and collaborate on

The term “Open Source,” often known as free textbooks online, refers to an initiative to make top-notch educational resources freely accessible worldwide online. More teachers are embracing the idea since it is being promoted by a variety of websites and organizations that offer free textbooks online.

Some Free Textbooks Online Sites to Consider

A global initiative called Open Educational Resources (OER) aims to increase everyone’s access to high-quality education.

The website allows you to search for textbooks, classes, interactives, graphics, and other content. This tool allows academics to publish their work for public consumption.


Another website with free textbooks online and convenient access to digital textbooks is Openstax, an initiative backed by Rice University. The website is supported by charitable organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since textbooks are subjected to faculty peer reviews, many courses should be well-aligned with them.

To assist your online education efforts, have a look at HippoCampus, a nonprofit distribution hub for free educational literature, collaborative wikis, learning modules, and study aids.


The Monterey Institute for Technology and Education is behind the project HippoCampus (MITE). HippoCampus wants to give high school and college students free access to excellent multimedia information on general education topics. You may self-study for competence examinations, such as AP exams, with the aid of HippoCampus.

Accessible database with links to PDFs, eBooks, and online course materials.

For all kinds of academic areas, California State University maintains a wide range of free and open textbooks.


BookBoon is an excellent place to get free textbooks online for subjects like accounting, economics, engineering, marketing, management, and IT. You pay for their free textbooks online by having to view a few commercials while using them.


SolutionInn is another platform that allows you to get free college textbooks for free. This is one of its kind free textbook online source that delivers textbooks to the doorstep without any hidden cost or charges.

Free books are listed on Wikibooks, the Wikipedia sister site, and are arranged by subject. If you are looking for free materials on an academic subject, it is worthwhile to have a look. As of now, these are more official and, hopefully, accurate Wikipedia articles for academic subjects. But keep an eye out for new advances in this area of free knowledge.

To End

To assist students in coping with the escalating expense of education, more instructors are using open-access course materials. When many students are having difficulty paying for their basic college fees, they shouldn’t be required to spend any more money on textbooks than is absolutely necessary. Students nowadays are balancing their studies with work—often online—while also trying to sustain themselves and their families. They will succeed if they can save every dollar possible on their schooling. There are fewer reasons for instructors not to transition to these fantastic, free digital materials to make studying more affordable and engaging for students now that there are so many outstanding open-source textbooks accessible.

Utilize the power of the internet to locate the greatest prices on necessary textbooks, whether rentals, digital access, or by purchasing and reselling the print book, until all of your classes use free textbooks online (also known as open source). There are always methods to acquire your textbooks for less, so don’t allow the sticker price of a book to stop you from receiving the materials you need to excel in your classes.