Study Consultant at Gradehacker
Updated November, 2022
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When you register and start new classes or semesters, it’s a fact that you will get a long list of required textbooks you’ll need to get through your courses. That’s why free college textbooks can sound like a dream come true when you don’t want to spend $300 on a book that you will end up using just for a few chapters if any at all.
Free PDF textbooks are now easily found because students search for alternatives not to go broke and still get good grades. Whether you need medical, business, psychology, or literature-focused books, it is possible to find everything with just some internet magic.
According to EducationData.org, 86% of people attending college receive some type of financial aid to help with the mounting costs of college. The problem is that tuition does not explicitly cover the expenses of educational resources needed for classes most of the time.
Imagine how tragic it would be if you failed a class because you could not afford a book! If you cannot access the class material, you won’t know what the professor is even speaking about. There is even a chance of failing something you would’ve passed if you had the right resources.
That’s why you have to change your strategy and seriously consider digital materials as a wise choice to save both your pocket and your grade. The good news is that other students and non-profit organizations are creating networks of shared online books that will help you get through your academic journey.
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student’s most trusted resource. We know that you are a student who sees your degree as a chance to thrive and advance in life, so we made this list for you.
Our goal is not to promote copyright but to bring more awareness about resources you can find on the Internet. If you feel you are already spending too much, we want you to learn these alternative options that will help you with the additional costs of college.
Here are the 6 Top Websites to Find Free College Textbooks in 2022.
Websites to Find Free College Textbooks in 2022
1) Library Genesis: Free Books For Any Kind Of College Student
This is one of Gradehacker’s favorite sites for college textbooks in a wide variety of subjects.
Library Genesis is a file-sharing website for scholarly articles, academic books, peer-reviewed journals, novels, comics, and magazines.
The catalog is enormous. It’s organized in a format similar to a standard college digital library with searches according to the author, ISBN, year, etc. The download options are easy, and you can either look for a specific title or look at what’s new.
Library Genesis Pros
- More academically oriented and perfect for undergrad and graduate textbooks. While you can find all types of content, Library Genesis mainly focuses on academic material
- The search engine. It's more specific, and the filters are similar to the ones you can find on an online library
Library Genesis Cons
- The layout is not the most user-friendly. Its simplicity can mislead new users into thinking the site is not periodically updated (which is not true at all)
If you want a step-by-step guide on how you can use Library Genesis to download free college textbooks, check out our YouTube video!
2) Mobilism: An Entire Textbook Library In a Tiny Forum
Mobilism is a forum where users can share the media they already own with others. There are many categories, but this website truly shines in the ebook section. You can find novels, academic textbooks, comics; you name it.
Also, there is the option of requesting a title if it is not already available.
- Mobilism is a fan favorite of Gradehacker's consultants. The chances of not finding what you're looking for are slim. Their catalog is impressive
- Most of the download links are periodically updated. If one is broken, you can contact the post's author to put it back
- You have to create an account to use the search function and make requests
You can also watch our quick tutorial on how to use Mobilism:
3) Project Gutenburg: Free Ebooks For Everyone
This website is a volunteer effort to create and distribute ebooks for free. If you need a text in the public domain, you will find it here for sure, formatted and ready to download at your convenience.
Project Gutenberg primarily offers fiction works from western culture, but it also has an extensive collection of fiction books.
Project Gutenberg Pros
- Easy to download and search
- Humanities students will love the variety of novels and research books available on this subject
Project Gutenberg Cons
- While there are reference books in many areas, the catalog is more limited in STEM field topics such as science and mathematics
You can see how easy it is to use Project Gutenberg and what other tricks you can use in our video:
4) VK.com: College Textbooks Meet Social Media
VK.com is a Russian social media platform similar to Facebook; however, there is something different about it. While Facebook focuses on social interaction, VK has a vast community of people sharing different media types.
- You don't need to make a VK account to download any books
- Students share books they have used themselves. You will find many common titles and also more unusual ones
- There is not a centralized search engine on the website. You have to find the communities and their catalog and look from there. Another option is to search on Google the title of the book you want and add 'VK,' so you get an exact result
5) Archive.org: Sharing Your College Readings With The Internet
As its name suggests, Archive.org is an archive for all internet things. You can find deleted Youtube videos, lost documents, and any other media you cannot find anywhere else.
However, many students use this platform to back up their digital textbooks. One thing that makes this website unique is that it offers many different formats for the documents you want to download; that way, you won’t have to convert it yourself.
- The option of downloading in many different formats is refreshing. You will start to wish all websites on this list had the same feature
- Uncommon textbooks can be found here
- We cannot tell for sure how extensive the catalog is since this website works as an archive and not a specialized site
6) Bookboon: Science Ebooks For Overwhelmed Students
Bookboon is an online publishing company that also offers free PDF textbooks for college students. It focuses primarily on all engineering subjects, so it might not be for everyone. If you’re getting a degree in this field, this website will be perfect for you.
You can find references for the most specific topics.
- The range of textbooks related to engineering goes from the most basic to the most specific ones. No topic is left uncovered
- It is easy to use, and the search experience is clean and straightforward
- To access more books, you have to pay a monthly subscription of $5.99. Still, the free catalog is decent enough, and you can access it by making an account
Free PDF textbooks: a few things to consider
No matter the age, college students like you will always try to spend their money efficiently. Here at Gradehacker, we have previously discussed other tips to improve your finances.
Still, textbooks for classes are often overlooked as an aspect of additional college costs. Before spending one more dollar on them, remember this:
- College books are necessary for completing your coursework. That is a fact. However, you can look for alternative textbook resources to spend little to no money on them by joining online sharing communities or archives.
- Websites like Project Gutenberg, Bookboon, and VK communities are perfect to look for a range of college textbooks specializing in humanities, engineering, or medical topics.
- Archive.org, and Mobilism grow thanks to the cooperation between students who want to share their textbooks that will be useful for you. You can also post what you have to give back to the community.
- Library Genesis is a powerful ebook catalog. It works like a digital college library in a way, but you don’t need to have an institutional email.
Hopefully, you can now find new ways to access your reading for free without needing to dip into your budget. Search, download, and, when you can, share so others can also have a hand when they are in the same position.
And well, if this is not enough for you, remember that Gradehacker has extensive internal resources with thousands of books we have used to help other students like you.
If you still don’t feel like writing, find out how we can help you with that essay that is driving you crazy. And if you want longer-term help, check out how we can assist you with your classes and accelerate your degree experience.
College is difficult, but together we can make it easier!
If you are looking for more tips to save money and improve your college experience, visit our related blog posts:
- Best iPads For College Students
- Best Sites For Scholarly Sources | Websites To Find The Best Academic Sources
- Chrome Extensions For Students | Essential Add-Ons You Need
- Best Scholarships for Non-Traditional Students | Find Yours!
Javiera Vega is a Study Consultant and Content Creator for Gradehacker. She has a degree in Education and Literature and is currently working on getting a master’s degree in Linguistics. Even though words, languages, and books are her thing, science and psychology were her hidden passion for many years. Luckily, Gradehacker has allowed her to use all that knowledge by helping many clients with everything they need. Javiera considers herself a proud nerd who likes to learn and read about everything she can find. From movies and comics to microbiology and genetics, every topic is interesting for her. Her curiosity has no limits. Find her on LinkedIn
Many universities and colleges have programs set up where students can get used textbooks from other students for free. Boundless provides a marketplace for students to buy, sell and rent textbooks. Amazon and Barnes & Noble both offer textbooks for rent.How can I get free textbooks for free? ›
- Five resources for students to download free textbooks online.
- Project Gutenberg.
- The Assayer.
- Open Textbook Library.
- Saylor Academy.
- Project Gutenberg. ...
- The Online Books Page. ...
- Kindle Store. ...
- Smashwords. ...
- BookBub. ...
- Robin Reads. ...
- eReader News Today. ...
Google Play Books is your one-stop store for textbooks, books, and audiobooks.Are free pdfs of textbooks illegal? ›
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.Is there an app to read textbooks for free? ›
Scribd. Access millions of books, audiobooks, magazines, articles, and even sheet music with Scribd's free app to read books. You can download it for iOS or Android, and enjoy your favorite titles.What website pays the most for used textbooks? ›
- TextbookRush. ...
- Empire Text. ...
- BookScouter. ...
- BooksRun. ...
- Student2Student. ...
- Ziffit. ...
- CampusBooks. ...
- Craigslist. Craigslist is a great place to sell your books if you want to skip the middleman and try to get your books directly into the hands of another student.
- Go to Google Books.
- Search for the title, author, ISBN, or keywords.
- Click a title.
- Under the title, click Search inside.
- In the window, at the top, click Search in this book type your search click Search .
Comprehension, they found, was better overall when people read print rather than digital texts. The researchers shared the results in Educational Research Review.Does financial aid give money for books? ›
Schools that participate in federal student aid programs must provide a way for you to obtain your books and supplies by the seventh day of the term if you are eligible for disbursement 10 days before the term begins and if you will have a credit balance after your financial aid is disbursed and applied to tuition, ...
But according to Matthew Oppenheim, lead counsel for the Educational Publishers Enforcement Group, acquiring textbooks from the internet is legally under the same category as downloading copyrighted movies or music for free—piracy.What is the best website for free books? ›
- Project Gutenberg.
- Open Library.
- Google eBookstore.
- Internet Archive.
The law of copyrights is inherently opposed to shadow libraries. As a result, Z-Library is an illegal website. Though their intentions are good, they make works available that are not legally authorized.Where can I get free PDF books? ›
- Open Library.
- PDF Books World.
- Project Gutenberg.
Kindle is the most widely used application for free eBooks around the world. There are a huge variety and collection of free books on this app. There are almost all paid books available and you can export books from your device as well. Kindle is an all in one app.Can you go to jail for using Libgen? ›
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.Is it OK to pirate college textbooks? ›
One very popular — albeit unlawful — avenue amongst students is downloading PDF copies of textbooks from illegal sites online — also known as textbook piracy. Copyright infringement, which textbook piracy falls under, is illegal and can result in fines ranging from $750 to $30,000, according to 17 U.S. Code 504.Are online pdfs illegal? ›
It is in fact illegal to upload pdfs, scanned copies or photographs of books that have a copyright on them. And almost all books have a copyright on them. This means that all books that have a copyright are the intellectual property of the author and no one else.Is Speechify free? ›
Can you use Speechify without the premium? Yes, absolutely! However, the free version only offers limited features, such as a fixed reading speed and very few voice options.Which app is best for downloading textbooks? ›
Google Play Books is the one app you need to buy and enjoy ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and manga. Choose from millions of best selling ebooks, comics, manga, textbooks, and audiobooks.
TextbookRush.com is the largest independent online bookstore and has been online since 2002. We buy over 2 million different titles. Our quick, easy, no-hassle textbook buyback program makes it easy to get paid top dollar for your books. TextbookRush.com offers 3 payment methods - Cash, PayPal, or store credit.Where can I find my textbook online for free Reddit? ›
- Library Genesis. ...
- Openstax. ...
- Project Gutenberg. ...
- Bookboon. ...
- Open Textbook Library. ...
- free-ebooks.net. ...
- Which Reddit subreddits can help me get textbooks? ...
- Does Amazon offer free textbooks?
Amazon.com is one of the best places to begin your book search. You can find out of print books, rare books, used textbooks, and much, much more.Where can I find textbooks online PDF? ›
- Library Genesis. This website has millions of articles and PDF textbooks in its inventory where a user just has to type the name and it appears. ...
- Bookboon.com. ...
- Free computer books. ...
- ManyBooks. ...
- Free eBooks. ...
- Open Textbook Library. ...
- Google eBook store.
In general, e-textbooks are more affordable than regular college textbooks. In some cases, digital textbooks may cost 40-50% less than physical copies, although savings are not always this high. Most texts can be viewed with a standard laptop, phone, or e-reader.Is it better to read or listen to a textbook? ›
Indeed, research shows that adults get nearly identical scores on a reading test if they listen to the passages instead of reading them.Why e-textbooks are better? ›
e-textbooks are less expensive, better portable, and easier to search and highlight. Some e-textbooks even allow readers to access additional resources or make notes that can be shared with other readers.What do I do if I can't afford my textbooks? ›
Textbooks can be very expensive. You can pay for the books you need using grants, scholarships, or student loan funds. You can also buy used textbooks, opt for e-books, or share books with a classmate.What is the most financial aid will pay? ›
|Type of Aid||Average Amount||Maximum Amount|
|Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant||$670||$4,000|
|Total Federal Student Aid||$13,120 (dependent) $14,950 (independent)||$19,845 to $21,845 (dependent) $23,845 to $32,345 (independent)|
|Total Federal Grants||$4,980||$10,345|
It is not the financial aid itself. However, the FAFSA enables the student to qualify for many types of financial aid from several sources. Some of this money is free money, some must be earned through work, and some must be repaid.
VitalSource has partnerships with more than 1,000 publishers worldwide and offers over 1M titles for sale in the online store. With 95% positive ratings for over 50,000 reviews, VitalSource is a trusted brand for students and instructors to purchase their digital course materials.Is the Z Library legal? ›
The law of copyrights is inherently opposed to shadow libraries. As a result, Z-Library is an illegal website. Though their intentions are good, they make works available that are not legally authorized.Is fenlita legit? ›
Yes, it appears that this online store is legitimate. due to the low rate of copying of their product collections and contents. The domain's age is 2021-10-15, and the trust score is only 68%. All of these clues suggest that the website in question is legitimate and not a scam.Is VitalSource free for students? ›
Students who need assistance accessing free eTexts can visit https://get.vitalsource.com/vitalsource-helps.Is direct textbook legit? ›
Yes. Since 2002, Direct Textbook has helped more than 20 million students, parents and educators buy, sell, and rent textbooks from the web's most reputable textbook vendors. Read independent third-party reviews of Direct Textbook.