Free College Books: Where To Find Them Online - Best Universities (2023)

The idea of finding free college books is something that every college and university student dreams about.

Considering the soaring prices of post-secondary schooling, having to spend thousands of complementary texts is challenging.

Fortunately, there aredozens of resourcesthat you can use to find the best college books for free or at a low cost.

How Much Do College Books Cost?

The total cost of your college books depends primarily on the major you’re studying.

Some subjects require access to more expensive books, especially if you’re working on a specialty.

Another factor that can influence the amount you spend on books is the course you’re taking.

More advanced courses require more advanced readings, and thus, a higher price tag.

On the other hand, entry-level subjects are more likely to have inexpensive, if not free, resources for you to use.

Approximate Cost of College Books by Subject

To give you a general idea of the costs of college books, let’s take a look at the average prices per major.

  • Architecture:$1200
  • Design:$900
  • Business:$850
  • Chemistry:$800
  • Neuroscience:$700
  • Music:$600
  • Linguistics:$590
  • Journalism:$500

Of course, there are bound to be fluctuating prices if you study a specialty within an encompassing major.

For example, business administration textbooks are likely to be less than economics textbooks.

However, the price per book is still astounding when it comes to calculating the total cost of texts over your entire program.

Where To Find Free College Books

Instead of spending most of your savings on college textbooks, there could be free resources to help.

Let’s delve into some of the most popular options to find reliable, high-quality, and most importantly, free textbooks.

University of the People

University of the Peopleis a unique resource as they offer free textbooks and free college courses.

Students don’t have to worry about course materials, annual enrollment charges, or costs per course.

The administration fees are meager, so post-secondary education is accessible by anyone accepted into the program.

Currently, the institution serves students in over 200 territories and countries, with over 49,901 taken per term.

It’s an accredited online university in the United States, and its leadership is built with the help of worldwide scholars.

(Video) How to get textbooks FREE!! #money #college #student #school #university #books #free #textbook

Suppose you need an affordable and accessible way to get an education.

In that case, the University of the People is a fabulous alternative.

Project Gutenberg

eBooks are booming in popularity for several reasons, especially when it comes to college and university.

WithProject Gutenberg, students have access to over 60,000 free eBooks that you can download or read online.

You’ll find an assortment of subjects since all of their offerings include books that have expired copyrights.

What makes this site unique is that thousands of volunteers independently vet each uploaded text.

This process helps ensure you’re accessing authentic and quality texts to help you progress through your courses.

The entire program operates with the help of donations, which also helps them digitize more books to add to their collection.


Another popular resource for free online textbooks isBookboon.

They have an extensive collection of over 1000 free university textbooks as well as work-related eBooks.

You’ll find popular areas of study, including economics, finance, digitalization, IT, and engineering.

If you’re interested in personal development and furthering your career, there are multiple subject areas.

That said, the work-related texts are available for $5.99 per month after your free 30-day trial.

To access their catalog of free eBooks for students, all you have to do is make an account.

If you’re someone who prefers to minimize the number of books you have on hand, Bookboon is ideal.

You can either read the texts directly on the platform or download them to a device of your choosing.

It’s one of the most straightforward and user-friendly online resources for post-secondary texts.

Free College Books: Where To Find Them Online - Best Universities (1)

School Library

One of the best places to find free textbooks is at your school library.

(Video) How to get Free books for college and university

You would be surprised at the sheer number of books your library has revolving around every imaginable subject.

The primary concern with finding free textbooks at your school library is that it’s often very competitive.

There are likely a specific number of textbooks available to be taken out and often assigned to students in advance.

You must consider getting onto the reservation list, especially if you’re taking a popular course.

You should also check the availability of textbooks regularly to see if students have returned their copies earlier than expected.

If you’re lucky, your school’s library could have an online catalog for you to browse through.

Instead of checking in person, you can see how many copies of a specific textbook have been taken out in advance.

Alternatively, you might find your school offers digital copies of a specific text, which could also be beneficial.

Trading Forums

The resourcefulness of college students can never be understated, especially when it comes to free books.

Trading forums are fabulous to network with other learners and find textbooks at little to no cost.

It’s more likely you’ll find the texts you need at a discounted price rather than free, but you could consider trades.

For example, if you have a textbook another student needs, you could trade one for the other.

This process is also a great way to make friends in the same major to diversify your network.

Once you’re finished with your course, you can continue the tradition by giving others unrestricted access to your old texts.

Where To Find Almost-Free Textbooks

Sometimes, especially when studying a specialty, finding free textbooks can be more challenging than expected.

In these instances, it can be more beneficial to consider almost-free, or discounted, textbooks instead.

There are several essential resources that you can use to find inexpensive texts to accompany your classes.

Amazon’s eTextbooks

Amazon is one of the world’s leaders in an assortment of products, including textbooks.

WitheTextbooks, you can find hundreds of thousands of Kindle digital products in an assortment of areas.

(Video) How to get free college books

When you visit the platform, you’ll be able to sort through textbooks by subject, as well as their release date.

What makes this version of textbooks unique is you can also find versions with Audible Narration.

Instead of reading the text, you’ll have them read aloud to you, which is significantly beneficial for those with disabilities.

The majority of texts on this site are available at a full price. Still, they are also likely to reduce throughout the year.

If you’re able to get your hands on discounted eBooks, you can create a collection to review throughout the years.

Some of the most common subjects you’ll be able to find on Amazon’s eTextbooks include:

  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Business and Finance
  • Communication and Journalism
  • Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Social Sciences
  • Education
  • Humanities
  • Law

Textbook Nova

Unlike the other resources we’ve explored this far, you won’t purchase books fromTextbook Novaitself.

Instead, this innovative platform was designed for students to help them find the lowest available prices.

Textbook Nova allows you to input the keyword, author, title, or ISBN of a specific book and scours Amazon for the best price.

Instead of being forced to overpay for college and high school texts, this platform is intuitively designed to help.

When you’re stuck finding all of your texts for an entire year, it can be beneficial to have a textbook search engine.


Every student has heard ofAbeBooksat one point or another, thanks to their discounted textbook prices.

It’s designed to be an online bookstore intended to meet a ton of readers’ needs.

You’ll be able to find college-approved texts, rare books, collectibles, and art.

All you have to do is type in the author, title, keyword, or ISBN of the book you’re looking for at the moment.

AbeBooks then presents you with a list of related texts to browse through to find the correct one.

You’ll also find there are multiple versions of the book for you to choose from.

Students can opt to buy the texts new or used and in hardcover or softcover.

You’ll also have transparent pricing and an idea of where the textbook is shipping from before placing your order.

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It’s a very convenient alternative to visiting your campus bookstore.

Online Marketplaces

If you’ve found it’s too challenging to find free books on online marketplaces, discounted books are abundant.

With sites like Student2Student and FreeTextbooks, you’ll find several titles relating to your major to consider.

The most exciting thing about online marketplaces is that you can often choose between buying books in-person or shipped.

These resources are bound to have the most copies, especially since they typically offer incentives to sellers.

When you’re finished with your textbook, you can list it on the site and sell it to get some of your money back.

With this added benefit, it’s guaranteed more students are listing their books to be bought by others.

Textbook Renting

Renting textbooks is a sure-fire way to get discounted prices well below purchasing costs.

However, it’s important to note that when renting, you don’t own the text.

You won’t highlight or make notes throughout the pages, as they need to stay pristine for future readers.

Also, many rental companies charge fees or penalties if textbooks aren’t returned in their original condition.

If you can guarantee that you’ll be able to keep your rented items in near-new condition, renting is ideal.

Typically, you’ll be able to rent the texts for the duration of your course with the option to purchase at the end.

Some businesses also allow you to extend your rental period if you need them longer than the initial agreement.

Two of our recommendations for textbook rentals areCampusBookRentalsandWiley.

Used Book Stores

If all else fails, visiting used book stores can be a valuable resource for finding useful textbooks.

Our recommendation is to visit a thrift store or used book store in a college town to find the highest number of titles.

It’s far too often that people give their textbooks away for free in donation bins, making them readily available for students.

If you have a few hours available on the weekend, making a trip to a used book store can be pretty beneficial.


Finding the Free or Low-Cost Books

Finding free college books can be a treasure, especially with the increasing costs of post-secondary education.

There are tons of great resources from used book stores to your campus library for you to use to your advantage.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work to find significant discounts, it can pay off.


What are the best sites for free online textbooks? ›

So let's get started.
  1. Saylor Academy. Website: Saylor Academy. ...
  2. Bookboon. Website: Bookboon. ...
  3. OpenStax. Website: OpenStax. ...
  4. Project Gutenberg. Website: Project Gutenberg. ...
  5. Open Textbook Library. Website: Open Textbook Library. ...
  6. Library Genesis. Website: Library Genesis. ...
  7. FreeBookSpot. Website: FreeBookSpot. ...
  8. IntechOpen. Website: IntechOpen.
2 Dec 2021

How can I get free books for university? ›

Here are listed some impressive websites for Free Textbooks Online:
  1. Open Textbook Library.
  2. Libre Texts.
  5. Project Gutenberg.
  6. Free
  7. Internet Archive Books.
25 Oct 2022

What is the best online free library? ›

Here is a list of free online libraries that college students, children and adults who love to read that use for school, college or enjoyment!
  • Book Depository.
  • Smithsonian Library.
  • Librivox.
  • Bartleby.
  • Bibliomania.
  • International Children's Digital Library.
  • Google Books.
  • Amazon Books.

Are free PDF textbooks illegal? ›

“Understand that, first and foremost, it's unequivocally illegal to download a textbook from the internet,” Oppenheim said. The EPEG, which includes common textbook publishers such as Pearson and Cengage, works collectively to address intellectual property issues and piracy.

Where can I get free college books PDF? ›

  • Library Genesis. Library Genesis is a file-sharing site that provides academic journal articles, general interest books, images, comics, textbooks, and magazines. ...
  • OpenStax. ...
  • Open Textbook Library. ...
  • ScholarWorks. ...
  • PDF Search Engine. ...
  • Bookboon. ...
  • Textbooksfree. ...
  • Free Kids books.
9 Apr 2020

What website gives free books? ›

  • Goodreads' Free Shelves. ...
  • International Children's Digital Library. ...
  • Internet Sacred Text ARchive. ...
  • ManyBooks. ...
  • Open Culture. ...
  • Open Library. ...
  • Overdrive. ...
  • Project Gutenberg.
28 Jul 2020

Where is the best place to get free books? ›

  • The 6 best places to find free books online:
  • Libby.
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • Overdrive.
  • Open Library.
  • LibriVox.
  • Digital Public Library.
2 Sept 2021

Is it illegal to download free college textbooks? ›

A textbook is just like a copyrighted song or movie that is illegally downloaded online. That's to say, downloading a textbook infringes on its copyright protection by duplicating and distributing it online without the creator's permission.

How do I find college ebooks? ›

​11 ways to get free or discount books for college
  1. The first place to look for free text books is your university's library. ...
  2. has free books that can be read in your browser, so make sure to bookmark the books you need for class.
  3. Project Gutenberg has over 43,000 free ebooks.
10 Jan 2018

What is the best college search website? ›

11 Best College Search Tools
  • College Board. ...
  • College Insight. ...
  • Cappex. ...
  • Peterson's. ...
  • Unigo. ...
  • Chegg. ...
  • College Confidential. ...
  • College Raptor. While this site has an excellent search feature, the best part about College Raptor is the ability to compare not only colleges, but financial aid offers.
10 Jun 2022

Can you find college textbooks online? ›

As a college student, you have a few different options when it comes to acquiring textbooks. You can buy them, of course, either new or used from the campus bookstore, online retailers, or local bookstores. You could also rent them, though this option is often more expensive than buying in the long run.

Which website is best for college students? ›

1) Educational Websites for College Students
  • Grammarly. Grammarly is a useful tool for English Writing. ...
  • This site does two work at the same time. ...
  • eFollett. Being a college student, it becomes obvious that you need lots of different course books to study. ...
  • EdX. ...
  • Dragon Dictation. ...
  • Google Drive. ...
  • XMind. ...
  • Quizlet.
9 Mar 2022

What is the biggest free online library? ›

The most extensive free online library is the Internet Archive. Boasting over three million texts and over a million (each) of video and audio recordings, the Internet Archive offers a wealth of free information, including the largest repository of archived web pages, going back to 1996, through its Way Back Machine.

Which online book store is best? ›

Best Sites To Buy Books
  • Amazon.
  • Flipkart.
  • Bookish Santa.
  • Used Books Factory.
  • BookFlow.
  • Pustak Kosh.
  • AbeBooks.
26 Oct 2021

Which app has the most free books? ›

1. Goodreads. The leader in the list of free book apps for book lovers. Available platforms: iOS, Android, browser.

How illegal is Z-Library? ›

Thus shadow libraries are innately opposed to the law of copyrights. This makes Z-Library an Illegal website. Though their intentions might be in place, they make works available that they are not permissible, legally.

Where can I pirate college textbooks? ›

We shall go through each site, carefully analyzing its pros and cons to help you find a textbook torrent site that works for you.
  • FreeBookSpot. FreeBookSpot is one of the most popular e-book torrent websites. ...
  • ...
  • Feedbooks. ...
  • Ebookee. ...
  • EbookShare. ...
  • Project Gutenberg. ...
  • Planet e-book. ...

Is using Library Genesis illegal? ›

Is Libgen Legal? No, Libgen is not legal, and using Libgen may open you up to legal ramifications. While the police aren't likely to show up at your door for pirating material, publishers, authors, schools, or workplaces may take their own actions against you if you're caught with pirated material.

Where can I read full books online for free without signing up? ›

15 Best Sites to Read Free Books Online Without Downloading
  1. Project Gutenberg.
  2. Google Books.
  3. Smashwords.
  4. ManyBooks.
  5. Internet Archive.
  6. Open Library.
  7. HathiTrust Digital Library.
  8. Bookboon.

How do students get free eBooks? ›

Be sure to also check out our list of the best sites to download free eBooks of all genres.
  1. Magic Keys. ...
  2. Project Gutenberg. ...
  3. Gateway to the Classics. ...
  4. Amazon's Free Kids eBooks. ...
  5. ...
  6. OxfordOwl. ...
  7. Children's Books Online. ...
  8. International Children's Digital Library.

How can I download all textbooks for free? ›

Some Other Websites to Check
  1. Library Genesis.
  2. OpenStax.
  3. Open Textbook Library.
  4. ScholarWorks.
  5. PDF Search Engine.
  6. Textbooksfree.
  7. LibreTexts.
18 Feb 2022

How can I download a textbook without paying? ›

Free downloadable Ebook Websites
  1. Free Ebooks.Net. This site has some free ebooks you can download or view on your computer. ...
  2. Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg provides access to over 30,000 free ebooks that you can either view on your computer or download to a device. ...
  3. Obooko. ...
  4. ...
  5. Scribd.
23 Jun 2022

What is the most reliable website for university ranking? ›

The Top 6 College Search Websites for 2023
  • US News and World Report's Best Colleges Report (Methodology)
  • The Princeton Review (Methodology)
  • Washington Monthly's College Guide (Methodology)
  • Forbes Magazine's America's Top Colleges (Methodology)
  • Kiplinger's Best College Values (Methodology)
26 Oct 2022

How do I pick a good college online? ›

8 Tips for Choosing an Online University
  1. Decide on and find your major. ...
  2. Verify the program and classes are offered fully online. ...
  3. Check admission requirements and application fees. ...
  4. Compare tuition, fees, and financial aid. ...
  5. Keep an eye out for fees above tuition costs. ...
  6. Ask about the faculty credentials.

Is 3.2 college GPA good? ›

Earning a 3.2 GPA, two-tenths above the national average GPA, is generally considered a good GPA. It shows academic proficiency and consistency, as well as makes you eligible to apply to a high number of colleges.

What is the most popular educational website? ›

Answer: The top 5 most popular Education websites in the world in September 2022 are:

What apps do college students use most? ›

College Apps for Studying and Completing Assignments
  • My Study Life. Easily store and organize your class schedule, study assignments, exam times, and more. ...
  • Brainscape. ...
  • Chegg. ...
  • CliffsNotes Study Guides. ...
  •, Merriam-Webster, or Oxford Dictionary. ...
  • Duolingo. ...
  • EasyBib. ...
  • Evernote.
10 Jan 2022

Which is the No 1 app for study? ›

Best Overall Study App: Evernote

Evernote is using for getting all your notes and schedules streamlined. Special functions include the ability to enhance notetaking with checklists, links, attachments and even audio recordings.

› Education › Best Colleges ›

1. College Navigator. The graphics aren't slick, but this federal website contains more data on the nation's colleges and universities than any place el...
Not sure where to begin your college research? There are tons of online resources to help students match up with the right schools. In this article, I'll ou...
Searching for colleges requires a lot of research, and it can be difficult without the right tools. Here are the top resources to use for your college search!

Where can I get a free PDF textbook? ›

5 Best Sites to Download Free PDF Books in 2022
  • Open Library.
  • Bookboon.
  • PDF Books World.
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • ManyBooks.
13 Jan 2022

Where can I read books for free online legally? ›

5 easy (and totally legal!) ways to read books online for free
  • Open Library. ...
  • Project Gutenberg. ...
  • ...
  • Google Books. ...
  • Hoopla and OverDrive.
8 Jan 2018

Where I can read book online for free? ›

  • Juggernaut Books App.
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • NetGalley.
  • LibriVox.
  • Kindle Reading App.
  • Wattpad.
  • AnyBooks App.
23 May 2020

Is library Genesis legal? ›

Is Libgen Legal? No, Libgen is not legal, and using Libgen may open you up to legal ramifications. While the police aren't likely to show up at your door for pirating material, publishers, authors, schools, or workplaces may take their own actions against you if you're caught with pirated material.

Where is the best place to get free books? ›

  • The 6 best places to find free books online:
  • Libby.
  • Project Gutenberg.
  • Overdrive.
  • Open Library.
  • LibriVox.
  • Digital Public Library.
2 Sept 2021

Is there an online library for free? ›

The most extensive free online library is the Internet Archive. Boasting over three million texts and over a million (each) of video and audio recordings, the Internet Archive offers a wealth of free information, including the largest repository of archived web pages, going back to 1996, through its Way Back Machine.

Is there an app to read full books for free? ›

FullReader. Android-only FullReader(Opens in a new window) allows you to pull in a variety of different ebooks from your device or from the cloud. The app supports many different formats, including ePUB, PDF, mobi, txt, doc, docx, and HTML.

Can I get in trouble for using Z-Library? ›

The short answer is, yes, Z-Library is safe to use. While there are some concerns regarding downloading copyrighted material from this platform, users are not subject to any legal issues. Millions of users visit the site, and it's not easy for the government to take any action against all of them.

What is better than Library Genesis? ›

There are more than 10 alternatives to Library Genesis, not only websites but also apps for a variety of platforms, including Android, Windows, SaaS and Tor. The best alternative is Sci-Hub, which is free. Other great sites and apps similar to Library Genesis are The Pirate Bay, Z-Library, RARBG and

Can I get in trouble for downloading books? ›

If the copyright on the book has expired (for example, if it is in the public domain), you can still download it. Sharing copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder is illegal, but it does not deter students from doing so.


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