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
OpenStax offers textbooks online for students of colleges and high schools. Deeply loved by many students, this non-profit digital learning platform and publisher of free textbooks was founded in 2011 by Rice University. It offers a range of peer-reviewed texts from the top universities in the U.S.How to get all college textbooks for free? ›
- Internet Archive. Internet Archive is a not-for-profit library that contains millions of e-books, software, music, and so much more — all for free. ...
- Bookboon. ...
- Project Gutenberg. ...
- Library Genesis. ...
- Mobilism. ...
- OpenStax. ...
- OpenEd. ...
- Open Textbook Library.
- Digital Book Index.
- Library Genesis.
- Internet Archive.
- PDF Grab.
OpenStax offers textbooks online for students of colleges and high schools. Deeply loved by many students, this non-profit digital learning platform and publisher of free textbooks was founded in 2011 by Rice University. It offers a range of peer-reviewed texts from the top universities in the U.S.Where to pirate textbooks? ›
Zooqle – https://zooqle.com/browse/books-texts/ Zooqle is a torrent file depository that includes all kinds of files, including textbooks. The website includes over 4 million authentic torrents, with thousands of new ones being added each day.Is downloading free college textbooks illegal? ›
Downloading textbooks infringes on their copyright
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.
The site was first launched in 2009 and saw a surge in popularity last year thanks to social media sites such as TikTok. However, Z-Library was taken down last November after its domain names were seized by US authorities.Is it safe to download PDF textbooks for free? ›
Is PDF Drive Safe? PDF Drive is generally safe in the sense that most users don't run into any problems on the site. However, it's better to err on the side of caution. PDF Drive is a publicly curated database – that means that most of the titles are sourced from users themselves.Is Library Genesis safe to use? ›
Libgen is safer than your typical torrent sites because it has a direct download option instead of just torrenting (but if you do accidentally use the torrenting option, you're open to viruses and malware that may be included with the file). However, that doesn't mean that it's without risks.What is the website with free PDF textbooks? ›
Here are several sites that provide legal access to download free textbooks in PDF format: Free-Ebooks. Net, OpenStax, Open Textbook Library, LibreTexts, and Saylor Academy.
StudySmarter provides expert verified solutions and high-quality explanations for thousands of textbooks completely for free.Where can I find free textbook solutions? ›
- Solution manuals.
- Chegg Study.
- Course Hero.
- Crazy For Study.
- The 6 best places to find free books online:
- Project Gutenberg.
- Open Library.
- Digital Public Library.
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.How many college students pirate textbooks? ›
In 2010, around 20 percent of students surveyed by the Book Industry Study Group reported illegally downloading course content. Today that number has risen to 34 percent. Over the same period of time, the amount of students who admitted to photocopying or scanning textbooks rose from 21 percent to 31 percent.Is it illegal to pirate a book? ›
The illegal distribution of copyrighted material is a crime of theft. In the United States and many other countries, copyright law provides for severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted material.Is the Z-Library illegal? ›
The organization describes itself as "the world's largest e-book library", as well as "the world's largest scientific articles store", and operates as a non-profit organization sustained by donations. The Z-Library project and its activities are considered illegal in many jurisdictions.Can you get sued for downloading books? ›
A great deal of copyrighted material is placed on the Internet with the permission of the author so that it can be viewed and downloaded for free. Some copyrighted material on the Internet may be pirated or made available for download without the author's consent, and this can lead to legal liability.Is it safe to download textbooks from Z-Library? ›
Shadow libraries are intrinsically prohibited by copyright law. Z-Library is an illegal website as a result. Despite having noble intentions, they distribute works that are not permitted by law.Why did the FBI take down Z-Library? ›
Z-Library was one of the internet's largest sources of pirated e-books. It was recently seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following a series of legal complaints made by The Author's Guild, an organization of more than 12,000 members committed to supporting working writers.
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.Why did the FBI close the Z-Library? ›
“The defendants profited illegally off work they stole, often uploading works within mere hours of publication, and in the process victimized authors, publishers and booksellers,” said Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in the first official statement released since the Nov.Is free books online safe? ›
Unless it's from a trusted retailer, some ebooks may contain malicious software that can install malware, spyware, and viruses in your computer. Do not distribute ebooks unless the company or author allows it. Distributing copyrighted material is piracy, a punishable offense.What app can I use to download textbooks for free? ›
Google Play Books
Google Play Books is your one-stop store for textbooks, books, and audiobooks.
- Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a digital library that provides free access to over 60,000 ebooks, primarily literature, that are in the public domain. ...
- Open Library. ...
- Google Books. ...
- ManyBooks. ...
- Free-eBooks.net. ...
- Bookboon. ...
- Smashwords. ...
libgen.is's top 5 competitors in April 2023 are: researchgate.net, sci-hub.se, archive.org, semanticscholar.org, and more.Did Library Genesis get shut down? ›
In late October 2015, the District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered Libgen to shut down and to suspend use of the domain name (libgen.org), but the site is accessible through alternate domains.What is the alternative to B OK? ›
The other five competitors in the top 10 list are sci-hub.se (13.7M visits in April 2023), semanticscholar.org (8.9M visits in April 2023), z-lib.org (1.5M visits in April 2023), perlego.com (4.2M visits in April 2023), and quillbot.com (68.8M visits in April 2023).Which wiki website provides free textbooks and manuals? ›
Wikibooks (previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks) is a wiki-based Wikimedia project hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation for the creation of free content digital textbooks and annotated texts that anyone can edit.Which app is used for reading PDF books for free? ›
- Adobe Acrobat Reader. One of the preferred choices to read PDF ebooks on Android. ...
- Foxit. This app is ideal for educational institutions and corporate training. ...
- CamScanner. While CamScanner is primarily a document scanner app, it also offers powerful PDF readability features. ...
- WPS Office.
- Library Genesis. ...
- Z-Library. ...
- Project Gutenberg. ...
- Sci-Hub. ...
- The Wayback Machine. ...
- The Assayer. ...
- PDF Drive. ...
- Open Library.
Socratic can help! This learning app, powered by Google AI, helps you understand your school work at a high school and university level. Ask Socratic a question and the app will find the best online resources for you to learn the concepts.Is there a free online book? ›
Project Gutenberg is a library of over 70,000 free eBooks
Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
- Project Gutenberg.
- Open Library.
To get full access to all the tools, you'll need a Premium Chegg study subscription for $19.95 per month. You can also subscribe for Homework Help by itself for $14.95 per month. Chegg Writing service costs $9.95 per month (individually).What is textbook solutions only on chegg? ›
Textbook Solutions is a place to check your homework: search the book by an ISBN, browse by a chapter, and see if you got your answers right. Students can also use the Expert Q&A section to ask a question not covered in the textbooks. Experts take an average of 46 minutes to answer.Are quizlet textbook answers free? ›
Quizlet offers a selection of free textbook solutions so that you can sample the product quality and capabilities before signing up for full access with Quizlet Plus.What is the largest free online library? ›
Featuring over 36 million ebooks, the Internet Archive is possibly the largest digital library ever created. In addition to free ebooks, its catalog includes over 778 billion web pages and millions of videos, concerts, audio files, and software programs.How can I get free books online legally? ›
- Authorama Review. ...
- BookRix Review. ...
- eBooks.com Review. ...
- Free Computer Books Review. ...
- Free-Ebooks.net Review. ...
- Google Play Books Review. ...
- HathiTrust Digital Library Review. ...
- Internet Archive eBooks and Texts Review.
Cons of free college textbooks
Meeting certain rigorous standards means higher costs. Textbook publishers could go out of business. Concerns of an even smaller market could result in higher prices and even less competition if free textbooks drive publishers out of business.
Let go of your old textbooks that you aren't going to use, but before you chunk them, think about how else they can be used. Some people may still need them, and you can get some money from them. If not, then they can go on to live a second life through recycling or upcycling. Old books don't have to be in the way.Is it illegal to copy a textbook? ›
The Copyright Act allows anyone to photocopy copyrighted works without securing permission from the copyright owner when the photocopying amounts to a “fair use” of the material (17 U.S.C. SS107).How much of a textbook can you legally copy? ›
Print copy – The 10% rule applies to the total number of pages. Online – The 10% rule applies to the total number of words.How many students Cannot afford textbooks? ›
65% of College Students Can't Afford Textbooks.Can you get in trouble for downloading free books? ›
There are several possible answers to this question as it depends on the particular case and the laws in place in that jurisdiction. However, it is generally possible to be sued for downloading pirated ebooks, particularly if the copyright holder can identify you as the person who made the download.Will I go to jail for pirating? ›
What Are the Penalties for Piracy? Piracy is punished quite severely under U.S.C. 81. Most overt acts of piracy come with a mandatory minimum of life imprisonment, while most others carry a maximum of 10 years in prison—not to mention hefty fines in many cases.How long can you go to jail for pirating books? ›
A civil lawsuit could hold you responsible for thousands of dollars in damages. Criminal charges may leave you with a felony record, accompanied by up to five years of jail time and fines up to $250,000.Has anyone ever gone to jail for piracy? ›
A 26-year-old California man who pleaded guilty last December to criminal copyright infringement charges was sentenced today to 87 months in federal prison -- the longest U.S. sentence ever for software piracy -- for his role in illegally copying and selling pirated software (download PDF).Is Libgen Legal? ›
Is Libgen Legal? No, Libgen is not legal, and using Libgen may open you up to legal ramifications.What to do if you can't afford college textbooks? ›
You may also be able to find grants for college books or scholarships to help you cover books. Also, paying for books with federal or private loan funds is a legitimate use of your student loan money, so don't worry if some of your student aid needs to go towards helping you cover this big expense.
65% of College Students Can't Afford Textbooks.How can I pay less for college textbooks? ›
- Buy and sell used textbooks. ...
- Rent textbooks. ...
- Use the ISBN to find lower prices. ...
- Check the library. ...
- Look for an electronic version of the book. ...
- Ask the professor for an evaluation copy. ...
- Share textbooks with a roommate. ...
- Only buy required textbooks.
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.What is better than LibGen? ›
libgen.is's top 5 competitors in April 2023 are: researchgate.net, sci-hub.se, archive.org, semanticscholar.org, and more.Can you use leftover financial aid to pay for textbooks? ›
It's also possible to leave the money in your school account so it can be used in a future semester. Once that's done, you can use the leftover money for purchases that aren't usually automatically paid for using your financial aid. They can include textbooks, equipment, lab fees, a laptop and other materials.Are you forced to buy the books in college? ›
The choice of whether or not to buy the textbook for a class is ultimately up to you. The professor will not reprimand you or fail you for not having bought the textbook as long as you keep up with your work and attend class.How much should a college student spend on groceries per month? ›
Average Grocery Budget for a College Student.
|Meal Plan||Monthly Cost|
|Thrifty Meal Plan||$270|
|Low-cost Meal Plan||$276|
|Moderate-cost Meal Plan||$342|
|Liberal Meal Plan||$425|
In 2010, around 20 percent of students surveyed by the Book Industry Study Group reported illegally downloading course content. Today that number has risen to 34 percent. Over the same period of time, the amount of students who admitted to photocopying or scanning textbooks rose from 21 percent to 31 percent.How many students Cannot go to college because of money? ›
38% of College Students Drop Out Because of Finances – How to Lower That Number. The benefits of getting a college degree are sound.Is it cheaper to rent or buy college textbooks? ›
Renting textbooks is much cheaper than purchasing books. There are many places where you can rent books online and some bookstores offer this service to their students. Keep in mind, you need to return rented textbooks by a certain date.
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.What is the average cost of a college textbook? ›
How Much Are College Books and Supplies?
|School Type||Average Cost|