Free textbooks - Summer Hub

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Free textbooks

There are lots of ways to find your textbooks for free, from libraries to e-books.

Free textbooks


  • Book4Cause
    • Book4Cause is Chicago’s first free book store! They have over 25,000 books that arrange from fiction, mystery, romance novels, and many more! Click Here to visit their website and learn more about what they have to offer and their mission statement.
  • University Library Circulation
    • Always check to see if your school library has copies of your textbook as circulation or reference material. Even if you cannot check it out, at least you can read it for free if you cannot purchase a copy.
  • University Reserves
    • Professors often reserve the required textbooks/texts at the library so students may read them for free, but cannot take the book home.
    • The “reserve” system means that a book is reserved for use at the library only, but students may check it out for a designated period of time (usually an hour or two).
  • Inter-library exchange
    • Many universities have a sharing program with other educational institutions
    • The exchange means students in the network can borrow books from other libraries but would have to wait for the books to be physically transferred first
  • Public Library
    • Check a local public library for your books. Even if you are not from the area you go to school, ask about opening a library card account with your university address and ID.

Not all required course books are textbooks. Some may be literature, articles, course packs, etc. Be mindful of that for budgeting purposes. Many non-textbooks are available at local libraries and are not as expensive as textbooks.

Digital Books

  • Google books:
    • Sometimes 80% of the book is available online or even whole chapters for free. If you are in a bind and waiting for a shipped book to arrive, check to see if you can get a part of the book.
    • Usually, the newer the edition, the less free online access is available. Always check the table of contents and spot check a few pages to see the differences between editions.
    • Project Gutenberg: Digital library of 60,000 free e-books that features books where the U.S. copyright has expired. So if you are in a class that requires reading of primary texts and older classics, you can probably find it free on this site.
    • Offers 1.7 million free ebooks online to readers, including over 1,000 textbooks.
    • Internet Sacred Texts Archive: This site is a freely available archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics. Texts are presented in English translation and, where possible, in the original language.
  • Library Genesis: – This website has millions of free articles and PDF textbooks!
  • OpenStax: – Nonprofit based at Rice University that offers free PDF books on biology, social sciences, mathematics, Humanities, Business, and more!
  • Open Textbook Library: Open textbooks are licensed by authors and publishers to be freely used and adapted. Download, edit and distribute them at no cost. Offering 1025 open textbooks, the Open Textbook Library is supported by the Open Education Network.
  • – free scholarly publications by authors from Grand Valley State University
  • – Free High School textbooks

Free Audio books can be found at

Student swaps

  • Upperclassmen are often getting rid of their old books, especially if they know they may not recover a lot of money from them. Instead of selling for low prices, some may exchange/swap/barter for other items you may have (e.g., silverware, video games, etc.)
Recommended Resources


Freebies & Discounts

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

– Malcolm X, human rights activist
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