Where to Get Cheap or Free College Text Books
I wanted to pass along some info that I found very helpful while my son was in college. When we went for his “open house” we were told all about getting their textbooks from the campus bookstore and warned to not get them anywhere else because we might get the wrong book and end up paying more in the long run.
Well even buying used at the campus bookstore, you’re going to pay through your nose for their books, some close to $400 or even more.
The school will give them a list of all the books they will need, including the ISBN numbers.**Not to worry, as long as you have that ISBN #, you will have the correct book** Get those numbers and then go to Amazon.com and look up the numbers and get the books there.
New, Used or Rented
There are several options, you can purchase the books new, used or even rent them for the semester if they aren’t ones you’ll need to use later on.
You will save yourselves hundreds if not thousands of dollars this way. There are a few other online bookstores as well that you can find college textbooks at, even Barnes and Noble, for much cheaper than what the college campus is asking for them.
The schools will also tell you that they will buy the books back from your students but most times it will be for pennies on the dollar. We got our son’s books back from him after each term was over and just relisted them on the same site we got them Amazon.com and most times got the same price for what we paid, so we got the books for free in the end!
You can get the priority mailer from the post office for free to mail it out to the buyer so you don’t even have to pay to ship it out to the next person.
12 Places to Textbooks for Free
Here are 12 tried and true places we’ve managed to find free college textbooks. If you happen to know of any others, please share them in the comments below!
1 Z-lib.org– This is by far the most extensive free resource that we’ve encountered on the web, they currently offer more than eight million books, completely free.
2 Open Textbook Library– Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at a low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.
3 College Open Textbooks– College Open Textbooks promotes the creation and adoption of open-licensed textbooks as a means of increasing the accessibility and affordability of higher education for all students. Their comprehensive listings include nearly 800 textbooks, many peer-reviewed by leading academics.
4 Bartleby.com offers free books that can be read right in your browser window, so you can bookmark them for use in class.
5 OERcommons.org– OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve the curriculum.
6 IntechOpen– Read, share and download more than 3350 peer-reviewed Open Access books
7 Bookboon.com – All textbooks for students (over a thousand) – are completely free and can easily be downloaded in PDF format.
8 OpenStax-– If you’re a student, simply access the web view, download a PDF, or purchase a hard copy via Amazon or your campus. Even students whose professors have not adopted OpenStax are welcome to use OpenStax textbooks.
9 Lyryx Learning– Lyryx open texts are free and can be downloaded by anyone, at any time.
10 BCcampus Open Textbooks– An open textbook is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public. They are available for free as online versions and in a variety of file formats (e.g., for eReaders, editable files like XML and HTML), and as low-cost printed versions, should students or faculty opt for these.
12 Book Guru– search books by title or by ISBN – while it’s not a flashy site, it offers quite a few textbooks!
13 Amazon Kindle Lending Library– some required reading books are available through Amazon’s lending library, but you’ll need a prime membership to obtain them at no additional cost. You don’t need a kindle to read the books, you can download their free app.
14 2020ok.com- This site offers a limited number of textbooks, but still worth searching.
While free college text books are preferred, we’ve also had good luck with saving money by purchasing discounted textbooks. Here are a few decent places to find them:
1 Freetextbooks.com– this has become an app that is a peer-driven platform to buy/sell textbooks cheaply.
2 EBay.com– You can buy (and sell) used (or new) textbooks on Ebay as well. Oftentimes the price is up 85% of the cover price of the book, just be sure to double check the ISBN prior to ordering!
3 Finally, if you’re unable to find the latest versions of a certain textbook, nearly all textbooks can be found here on Amazon ,where they can be rented, purchased new or used or where you can sell them back to recover your money at the end of the semester.
I hope this helps some of you out. College is expensive enough without having to shell out thousands more just for books!