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Want to Get Your Textbooks Online?

textbook online

Every student has been there. You’ve got an essay due and the textbook you desperately need in the library has been checked out by someone else. You don’t have the money to fork out the full price in the bookshop. What do you do?  Textbooks are an extra expense that many people don’t factor into their student budget. When you need new textbooks each term, the cost can really add up. Luckily, we’ve got some great suggestions for how you can save money on your textbooks and access free textbooks online.

Use Free Online Libraries

There are a number of file-sharing sites, not-for-profit libraries, and academic libraries that have digitized books online that are freely available. These sites have the goal of making knowledge freely available to everyone.

Check out some of our favorites below:

Library Genisis

Library Genisis is a site that gives you free access to all kinds of books, including academic journals and textbooks!

It uses filesharing to provide the millions of books, comics, textbooks, and magazines in its catalog. 

Simply use the search bar and filter to find what you are looking for.


OpenStax has a comprehensive range of college textbooks all available for free download.

It is an educational initiative thought up at Rice University in Texas. 

The website is easy to use and has academic categories broken down so you can browse your specialism easily.


LibreTexts is an open textbook organization initiate by the University of California, Davis.

They have a comprehensive library relevant to a variety of academic disciplines. 

It is targeted at students, faculty, researchers, and scholars.


Scholarworks is maintained by Grand Valley State University.

The articles showcase work by GVSU scholars and there are a number of open textbooks that you can view.

Their library is not as comprehensive as others, however, it’s worth a look as you may just find the textbook you are looking for!

Open Textbook Library

Open Textbook Library brings together textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used. This means they can be downloaded for free.

This is a great resource for students. Textbooks are sorted by category and are arranged in 12 specialisms from Mathematics to Humanities.

Use Price Comparison

Whilst there are plenty of free options, you may find that the book your after is not available on one of the sites above.

Your next stop should be a price comparison site.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to finding where to buy your textbook to get the best deal.

With so many competing companies it’s impossible to find them all and time-consuming to even try!

Price comparison sites search 1000s of sites from small independent retailers to big companies. By filtering the internet for a variety of choices, you have the best chance of getting your textbooks as cheap as possible.

Sell Your Old Textbooks

What better way to counter the cost of your new textbooks than by selling your old ones?

You can do this on a number of websites that will help get you the best price. You can even use a price comparison tool to find out where you can make the most money selling your books.

If you want to avoid the internet. Why not consider doing a yard sale with your friends or pop to a second-hand bookshop to see what they will offer you for your unwanted books. 

Look for Coupons and Vouchers

There are plenty of companies offering discounts and offers to new students on textbooks.

Whether it’s signing up to a mailing list to get free shipping or entering a survey at a chance of winning a voucher, it’s worth doing to cut the costs.

You can find out the most up-to-date offers by using a price comparison site.

Get a Digital Copy

Digital copies are often cheaper as they don’t have to account for printing costs. You can read these textbooks online or print them out yourself.

This is a great option as you can highlight and edit your textbook as you please. 

Consider getting a tablet or kindle to save money in the long run with book costs. These devices also help to protect your eyes as the glare of a computer screen can be damaging.

Buy An Old Edition

Whist the first edition of a classic novel is likely to be very expensive, old edition textbooks are a great way to save some money. 

An older edition may not have the most up-to-date information. This can be a problem for subjects such as law or science where information is constantly changing. If an older edition doesn’t affect you or your subject then it’s a great option to save some cash. 

Rent a Textbook

Renting a textbook is the perfect option if you don’t need the book for very long.

Depending on how long you want to rent the book depends on the price. If you need it for only one semester, then you are likely to be able to save some money. 

You can save up to 70% on the price of a new book when you rent. Find out more about the process here.

Read a Free Review

Sometimes you don’t need the whole textbook. By reading a free online review you can get a feel for what the book is about.

You can also read about the main arguments and points in a textbook or article and find out what is good or bad about the particular book. 

Reading reviews is a good place to start before you commit to purchasing a book you can’t find online.

Ready to Save Money and Get Free Textbooks Online?

We hope that we’ve helped you with your search for cheaper textbooks online!

Remember to use a price comparison tool to cut out the hard work and see what options you have. 

Consider whether you need a hard copy or digital copy and how long you need the textbook for as these factors will affect the price of your textbook.

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.