Where To Find Cheap or Free Textbooks Online

Posted by Jamie on August 16, 2017

Education may be available to all but get to a certain level and things become very expensive very quickly. Even a simple textbook can run you $50 or more. Get to college and into technical subjects like medicine and law and you could spend several hundred on a single textbook. That’s what prompted this post about where to find cheap or free textbooks online.

I love a bargain and finding free or cheaper versions of something that offers the same features, quality and function than the main brands or products. That’s what this post is all about. Finding textbooks without resorting to piracy or bit torrent. Not all textbooks appear here but if even one or two of your required reads appear here, that is a little money saved.

The upside to finding cheap or free textbooks online is that you could save some serious money. The downside is that they will be eBook and not a physical book. While the information is still present and correct, some people still prefer paper. If you are one of these, this page might not be for you. For everyone else, get your cheap textbooks here!

Download cheap or free textbooks online

I have avoided pirate sites as neither I nor TechJunkie condones piracy. I do not know the exact legal position of the websites listed here but they are not overtly illegal. You may want to check yourself before downloading though.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a huge repository of books that are out of copyright. This site is an amazing resource for all uses but can help your studies too. It won’t help all subjects but anything that requires access to old books, classics and non-copyright material will likely find it here. From the complete works of Shakespeare to the State of the Union Address, it is all on this site.


Bookboon.com is a textbook specialist that offers free books for download. They make their money from charging for business textbooks and from advertising so schoolbooks are free and as far as I can tell and legal too. They specialize in engineering, management, IT and technical subjects but there are hundreds of them on here so you may find what you are looking for.



Boundless delivers cheaper textbooks rather than free ones. At only $29.95 per course, you gain access to a wide range of content that is categorized per course. It is an interesting one because it also creates course content from other sources such as other websites, Wikipedia and other educational sources. You can use this to help your studies alongside any textbooks you might find.

College Open Textbooks

College Open Textbooks is a collaboration between colleges to provide free or cheap textbooks to students. It is run by a non-profit and delivers community and two-year college course books. There is a real mix of courses and books on offer here but a more useful resource is the ‘Adoption Resource’ where a teacher will tell you which books they recommend for different courses.


Manybooks is another textbook specialist worth checking out. They say they have over 33,000 textbooks on the site as well as other fiction and non-fiction books too. It is easy to get distracted on here but if you remain focused you should be able to find at least one book you’re interested in. There is a little of everything here but you do have to look hard to find textbooks among novels and others.

The Global Text Project

The Global Text Project is a collaboration among educational institutions around the world to make textbooks available for free. It covers business, computing, education, health, science and social science. It also includes English, Spanish and Chinese languages too. The range is fairly limited but there is enough here to make it a worthy entry into this list.


OpenStax is a slick website that offers books on a range of subjects including math, science, psychology, statistics and history. The range is wide and the books are often those used by teachers in different institutions. Teachers also add specific resources to textbooks for extra reading which is very useful.

MIT Open Courseware

MIT Open Courseware is part of a much wider project by leading universities to make education free and accessible to all. As part of that, some textbooks are made available online. As are videos, lectures, course notes and other resources. I use MIT Open Courseware a lot for general interest and the courses on here are of a very high quality.

There are several sources for cheap or free textbooks. Not all subjects and not all textbooks will be available online but if this list saves you even a few dollars, my work here is done.

Got any other places to get cheap or free textbooks online? Tell us about them below if you do!

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