As if college wasn’t expensive enough, getting new textbooks for class every semester can cost hundreds of dollars. While students can find ways to cut costs on food and shopping, it can sometimes feel impossible to avoid book costs. Free textbooks would be amazing, but they’re hard to find.
The university book store is a sure fire way to find what you need, but you’re likely to overpay for the convenience. That’s why there are resources for students to find free or discounted books and save hundreds. If you’re a college student on a budget, here’s where to look.
ManyBooks gives you access to more than 50,000 ebooks without spending a cent. They have books in nearly every genre, including classics like Hamlet.
Even if you can’t find the book you need for class, ManyBooks is a great resource to find good ebooks to read in your free time too.
2. Project Gutenberg
After price, the second biggest issue with textbooks is weight. Lugging a loaded backpack to class every day can wear you down, which is why Project Gutenberg has nearly 60,000 ebooks available for download.
You can put any eBook onto your phone, Kindle, iPad or other ebook readers in minutes and ditch the clunky textbooks for good. Project Gutenberg is free to use in the U.S.
Bibliomania gives any user access to thousands of ebooks, research articles, and biographies. Even if you can’t find the book you need in Bibliomania’s extensive collection, it can still be an invaluable resource to students, especially for research and sources.
The site has a “Study Section” filled with study guides written by graduates of Oxford and Cambridge. Not only can you find the book you need, but Bibliomania can also help you find an in-depth summary of the text.
Whether you’re looking for a science textbook or an Econ book, Bookboon can help you find what you need. Every book is free to access and was written by a university professor in the field.
For business students, Bookboon Premium offers more than 800 business textbooks for just $3 per month.
5. Textbook Revolution
Created and run by students, Textbook Revolution is a great resource to find thousands of textbooks in PDF form.
The site lets you search for books by subject, so you can filter and find exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’ve ever taken a history course, you know it comes with lots of expensive books to buy. To cut costs, head to USHistory.org and take advantage of their free selection of history textbooks. The site’s goal is to encourage learning American history, so they make textbooks available for that purpose.
Merlot is run by a team of educators and researchers and provides access to a wide database of learning materials.
The site offers more than 83,000 resources for free, including nearly 7,000 textbooks.
Often you’ll only use a textbook for one semester and never open it again, meaning that buying books, in general, could be a waste. That’s why Chegg lets you rent textbooks instead.
Chegg has great savings, free shipping on orders over $35, and some of the most helpful resources for any college student.
To get discounts on millions of textbooks, head to Textbooks.com. There are no freebies here, but you’ll find big savings plus get free shipping on any order over $25.
Not only does eCampus offer up to 90% savings on textbooks you’ll also get rewarded the more you use it.
You’ll earn points with every purchase that you can redeem for cash back, so you get added discounts to your already cheap books.
Although this site is a resource for all kinds of books, Thriftbooks has a wide selection of discounted textbooks.
Books will be gently used, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a textbook in decent condition at a low price.
AbeBooks is an online marketplace where people can buy or sell used books, meaning you’ll usually find massive discounts.
There’s a section on the site dedicated to textbooks, and some books are being sold for 90% off face value.
The name of this site actually undersells how much it could help you save on textbooks. HalfPriceBooks features thousands of new and used textbooks for every grade from elementary school onward.
They also offer international editions of books that are very similar to U.S. versions but significantly cheaper.
BookOutlet offers 50% to 90% savings on textbooks and has nearly 100,000 books you can choose from. Not only can you save on textbooks, but you can also find anything from novels to cookbooks at discounted prices too.
15. OER Commons
OER stands for “open educational resources,” and that’s exactly what OER Commons offers. Here you can get access to openly licensed books in a variety of fields for free.
16. PDF Search Engine
You might not know it, but free PDF versions of textbooks you need could be available online right now. To find out, all you need to do is search the title of the book on PDF Search Engine. After a few seconds, you could be reading for free.
Just because you’re done with a book doesn’t mean someone else couldn’t use it. On BooksFreeSwap, you can connect with other users who are willing to swap textbooks with you for free. All you’ll need to do is pay for postage.
If you’re a thrifty student looking for more ways to save, here are some apps that can help!