Open Textbooks

Open textbooks to some extent solve the problem of rising textbook costs. The price of textbooks has risen more than the cost of most things in the last 30 years driving up the overall cost of higher education. Free, or lower cost, textbooks can make a significant difference in students’ ability to afford, and therefore finish, a college education. Open textbooks also offer opportunities for collaborative and interactive resources that have the potential of being more effective than traditional textbooks.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is create your own collection of readings to provide to students instead of a textbook. “Coursepacks” as they are often called, however, require extensive work getting copyright clearance and ensuring that copyright holders are paid royalities when necessary. The following companies can help you curate and manage rights for a coursepack.


What’s in it for you to adopt open textbooks?

Your students will likely appreciate not having to spend as much for textbooks (especially if you point out that you specifically made the decision to choose an open textbook!). You might also find that some open textbooks that you can remix to your own liking are more effective than traditional, printed textbooks that you have to take as they are.

Finding Open Textbooks

General Open Textbook Resources

USG Affordable Learning Georgia: Resources and tools for finding OER. USG OER for Top 50 Courses: Recommendations for OER based on the University System’s most popular courses Free eTextbooks: Search for alternatives to your existing textbooks by ISBN number (California State University) Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER): A collection of open textbooks arranged by subject type. Open Textbook Library: A digital library of open textbooks. OER Commons: A repository of resources, including textbooks, and tools for creating your own open resources Openstax CNX: A collection of open textbooks (Rice University) Boundless: Open textbooks and course materials. Global Text Project: A collection of open textbooks. Bookboon: Free collection of eBooks and textbooks. Project Gutenberg: Free ebooks available in the public domain. Internet Archive: Includes open library and curated collections of eBooks.

Discipline Specific

Allied Health/Nursing

FreeBooks4Doctors: Repository of medical textbooks.

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

OAPEN Library: Open access books in the area of humanities and social sciences. Noba Project: Open textbooks and resources for psychology.


Writing Spaces: An open textbook project for college-level writing studies courses.


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