OMG Free Textbooks!

Stack of print textbooks from openstaxOpenstax offers free, peer reviewed, high quality college level textbooks. This project is still relatively new, so they’re tackling the highest priority subjects first, as in the largest attended courses with the highest priced textbooks. For free, you can access all the books via web, ePub or printable PDF. For a bargain, you can buy the $4.99 eBook for iPad, or purchase a print copy, as seen here for anywhere between $25-$55 depending on the size of the book. Of course this is only helpful if you can find books relevant for your course, so here’s what you can do…


  • Browse through Openstax and see if one or more of the books available will work for your course. If not yours, maybe a colleague’s course?
  • You can assign certain sections as reading for your students or take pages to insert into your existing readings; it’s completely free and legal as long as you include attribution.
  • You can use the simple editor to make your very own revision to share; delete chapters, and even add your own content. The material is under a CC Attribution license, so you can do whatever you want with the content as long as you give proper credit.
  • Openstax is looking for reviewers right now, so if you’d like to be part of this awesome new initiative, contact the team!


  • Taking upper level Physics and losing your grasp on calculus? Use Openstax books to refresh your basic knowledge. Sell your used general electives textbooks before they lose value. As you take your upper level major courses, you can always come back to Openstax to refresh yourself on the fundamentals.
  • Studying to test out of a course? Find the book on Openstax!
  • Hoping your instructors next semester would use an Openstax textbook so you don’t have to buy one? Email your instructor to share this resource. It might not happen, but certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • If you’ve already bought your textbook for this semester, but you want to help the cause, meet with your instructor during office hours and show him or her this resource for future reference. To ensure relevance, flip through the Openstax textbook and point out sections that offer the same information as that being covered in your course. Offer to create a revision based on the course. This is a great opportunity for you to get your face in front of your instructor and be helpful. Helloooo amazing reference letter!

Screenshot of Openstax books available on website, including physics, sociology, biology, statistics, pre-calculus, economics, chemistry, history, psychology, and more.

Back in my day (in grandma-voice), Openstax didn’t exist. Now it does, and I’m hoping my little blog article will spread the word, get this resource some traction here at OSU, and start saving students money! So let’s make a deal. Instructors, if your Ratemyprof score goes up due to your new found ability to provide a free required textbook to your students…and Students, if you successfully save $100 because you convinced your instructor to switch to a free textbook…you all totally owe me lunch for telling you about this. I mean hey, I have to make up for the thousands of dollars I spent on textbooks when I was in college.

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