It is no surprise that with the high cost of an college textbooks college students are looking for low-cost alternatives and even free textbooks. So the big question is where can you find free textbooks online and what textbooks are available online in PDF.
Free PDF college textbooks can be broken into a couple different categories. First is textbooks where the copyright has expired and the book is now published free online. Another source is open source textbooks or Creative Commons license where the author has agreed to distribute the text at no charge.
For the first group, books where the copyright has expired there are a number of websites to check out. Sites to try for this free content would be Bartelby.com, Gutenberg.org, and books.google.com. All provide a collection of free or cheap PDF textbooks.
For the second group, open-source content, there is a growing number of sites. Typically these sites gives college faculty access to free online materials compiled by other educators and experts that they can use in their lesson plan. Students can then access this open-source content to use while taking the course. Some of these sites are Connexions at cnx.org, Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources at oerconsortium.org and Flat World Knowledge at flatworldknowledge.com. Flat World Knowledge offers free online textbooks that professors can customize for their own classes.
See our list of free PDF textbook sources at this post
The “catch” for all this free content is that the professor must choose to use this content in the course versus traditional textbooks. It will be interesting to see if educators are truly interested in making education more affordable at the cost of losing lucrative book writing and revising deals. There are many proponents. This summer the state of Washington with a $750,000 matching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, started an ambitious program to develop cheap PDF textbooks with online instructional materials for its community and technical colleges.
A good website with more information than I can put in this article on free online college textbooks in PDF is textbooksfree.org. It is easy for a student to spend $1,000 a year on textbooks. Expensive textbooks deter students from attending class or force them to take the course without the required book. In addition, a lot of scholarship money as well as state and federal financial aid is used for these textbooks. Money that could be used for other areas of education if we can adopt the usage of free PDF college textbooks in our education system.
About Cheap-Textbooks.com, a website devoted to saving students cash buy finding cheap textbooks. The site offers a textbook price comparison service to help students find the cheapest new, used, rental and e Textbooks. The site also has a sell textbooks compare tool to find the highest textbook buyback prices.
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