All students know that textbooks are expensive. Your major school expenses are likely tuition, food, transportation, and learning materials (aka textbooks). You might have even tried to sell your books after you've used them to recoup some of the costs.
Thankfully, there are many online resources nowadays that can help you get textbooks for free! Reddit is one such resource. Here are some of the best Reddit-free textbooks communities and resources that could help you save money in school. Ready to dive into some homework without breaking the bank? Let's get right into it.
Reddit Free Textbooks: Best Subreddit Resources
From communities where you can post a textbook request to places that offer constantly updated links to free textbook websites, here are some of the best subreddit resources that you should check out if you're looking to save on textbooks.
Created in 2009, r/Textbooks is a subreddit dedicated to all things textbooks-related. You'll be able to exchange physical textbooks with other users, get recommendations for certain textbooks for your classes, and (of course) get digital textbooks.
The great thing is that if you happen to need a textbook that they don't have, you can make a post requesting the textbook with details, and the community will do everything they can to help you out!
With over 83k members, r/Scholar is about as legit as a subreddit can get. This subreddit is dedicated to requesting and sharing specific academic articles (as well as e-books) from various databases.
What you'll notice when you go onto r/Scholar is that there are mostly two types of posts: posts that have the tag “requesting” and posts that have the tag “found.” As you might guess, when you want to find a textbook, you'll make a post “requesting” it, and then later, if somebody happens to find an online copy, they'll make a post with the tag “found.”
One thing to note is that most of the books requested on this subreddit are “scholarly” and high-level (usually research papers and studies performed by graduate or Ph.D. students).
Created in 2017, r/Textbookrequests is exactly what it sounds like. You can go onto this subreddit and request any textbook that you want. Usually, someone will link the file for the textbook directly in the comments or provide you with a website/resource where you'll be able to locate the book.
Because r/Textbookrequests is still quite new, it might take some time for your request to get fulfilled, but this is a good place to request any textbooks you might need for the next semester if you know what they are ahead of time.
Similar to the other subreddits, r/Freetextbooks is a place where you can put in requests for specific college textbooks and users will respond with help in the form of suggested open educational resources, online bookstores that contain your desired textbook, or a free online version of your textbook.
At the end of the day, if you don't buy textbooks the proper way (when you're supposed to) and instead opt to try and find free textbooks online, you're trying to pirate the textbook. This is obviously frowned upon by textbook publishers and booksellers, who are trying to get your money, but if you're going to be pirating, why not learn to do it the right way?
r/Piracy has been around since 2008 and has over 750k members. On the subreddit, you'll find lots of up-to-date information about piracy, some helpful logistical tips, and even some resources where you might be able to find the textbooks that you need.
Best Places To Get Free Textbooks According to Reddit
If you don't want to join one of the subreddits listed above, or you don't have Reddit at all, you can cut right to the chase by checking out some of the best textbook resources, according to Reddit. A cautionary note: because many of these online textbook and online book websites are semi-legal, they need to constantly change their URL and site link to avoid getting caught. Therefore, the links to these websites have not been included below, but they should be findable with a quick Google search.
Library Genesis (LibGen) is the largest free library in the history of mankind. With over 80 million scholarly journal articles, 6 million academic and general interest books, 2 million comics, and 380 thousand magazines, chances are, whatever you're looking for, you'll find it on LibGen.
If you're looking at buying textbooks for your courses, check first to see if you can find the same books online at LibGen for free! They have textbooks available on just about every subject including algebra, calculus, sociology, anatomy, physiology, geometry, macroeconomics, microbiology, science, and engineering. If it's popular enough, it's probably on LibGen.
Why head to the bookstore when you can just access over 60,000 e-Books for free in Gutenberg's library? Here you'll find some of the world's greatest literature with books on nearly every topic, and there's a chance that you'll also pick up some online textbooks.
Project Gutenberg is completely free and without cost to readers. On top of that, you also don't need to download any special app or e-reader. You can just visit their website (from your computer or phone), search for the book that you need, and start reading right from your regular browser.
College Students Textbooks
Checked all the open content resources listed above and still haven't found your textbook? Fear not, College Students Textbooks offers just about any textbook you can think of at a fraction of the price. And don't worry, you won't be buying used textbooks in poor condition, you'll be buying digital books that will arrive in your email immediately.
If you have a book that you need by Pearson, Cengage, or McGraw Hill (big textbook publishing companies), especially make sure to check out College Students Textbooks as they almost have all the books written by these authors.
If you really can't find your textbook, there's still one more website you should check out before running to your college bookstore: Textbookly. Textbookly is an open textbook checker you can use to compare the prices of new and used textbooks. No more fretting over whether you're being ripped off in the textbook market anymore.
You can search for your textbook via name, author, or ISBN (ISBNs are International Standard Book Numbers) and make sure that you're getting the best price possible. The great thing is that not only will Textbookly tell you what the lowest textbook prices are, it will also tell you exactly where to get them.
Recap: Reddit Free Textbooks
Regardless of whether you're looking to buy new textbooks for your classes or looking to do a textbook rental, it's important to first see if you can get your textbooks for free. One way to go about it is to use Reddit!
As a quick recap, here are some of the best subreddits to check out if you're looking to find open textbooks resources:
And, if you really don't want to go through the trouble of sifting through these subreddits for answers, here are some Reddit-suggested places where you might be able to find your needed textbooks:
- LibGen – Regardless of whether you need university textbooks or high school textbooks, you'll probably be able to find it on the largest free digital library in the world: LibGen.
- Gutenberg – See a famous book on your syllabus that your professor requires you to buy? Head over to Gutenberg instead and get it for free!
- College Students Textbooks – A fantastic resource to buy cheap online books, especially if it's a book by Pearson, Cengage, or Mcgraw-Hill (some of the leading textbook publishers in the world).
- Textbookly – Before heading to your campus bookstore or campus store to buy your school textbooks, make sure to check Textbookly to see if you're getting the best price. Textbookly will scan all the markets (for used books and new books alike) and give you a price comparison for your textbook.
Some honorable mentions are:
- Flat World Knowledge
- Open SUNY Textbooks
- Open Textbook Library
- PDF Search Engine
If worse comes to worst and you can't find your textbook on any of these resources, consider:
- Renting instead of buying. (How often have you looked at your textbook after the course finished?)
- Buying a used textbook instead of a new one.
- Selling textbooks after you've used them.
- Enroll in book rental programs and rent out your textbooks (you might be able to make a nice passive income stream).
- Going to your university bookstore and seeing if they're willing to do a price match.
- Getting your textbook in paperback instead of hardcover.
- Looking for free archived textbooks that accomplish the same thing as the paid version.
- Participating in textbook buyback programs and getting some of your money back.
- Purchasing textbooks from friends who have already taken the course (and will probably sell to you at a discounted rate).
So there you have it: some of the best places to get free textbooks (according to Reddit) and some of the best subreddit resources. The next time you need to buy books for classes or feel the need to go to your college store for textbooks, check out some of these resources first. Your wallet will thank you for it!
FAQ About Free Reddit Textbooks
Is getting free pdf textbooks online legal?
- Though some schools will recommend you purchase textbooks from their own bookstore (or online library), if you can find college textbooks online that can suffice, nothing is stopping you from doing so. After all, the internet is an open resource, and the onus is on the websites themselves to deal with copyright laws.
Is Reddit a trustworthy source?
- Reddit is a great source of information for many different topics and the site also provides built-in feedback in terms of upvotes. If worse comes to worst and you don't like the free books and cheap textbooks Reddit recommends, you can always find a different resource to rely on.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.