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Open Educational Resources (OER): OER Textbooks/Books

OER Repositories

Open Textbook Library – Created by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Open Education, this searchable catalog contains hundreds of textbooks on a wide range of subjects. Users may download or read these textbooks online for free whenever they want.  

OpenStax – Created by Rice University, contains a list of textbooks on many subjects that may be read or downloaded online for free. 

BC Campus OpenEd – Created by BC Campus, a Canadian Open Education Organization, a searchable catalog of over 180 textbooks covering many subjects, all of which are free to read online or download.

LibreTexts - Created by the University of California, a non-profit initiative with a catalog of nearly 400 open textbooks covering many different subjects, all of which are free to read online or download.

OER Commons - Collection of OERs of all kinds: textbooks, course content/material, online activities/labs/simulations, assignments, etc., in an easily-searchable format

Pressbooks - Collection of over 2500 public books and interactive textbooks that can be linked directly to Canvas, includes an authoring and editing platform

Mason OER Metafinder - Created by George Mason University, a search engine that searches multiple OER websites for content. Requires a bit more finesse to use than those specific OER sites themselves, but can be a handy way of searching through multiple sources at once. 

Cool 4 Ed Course Showcase - Created by California State University, a step-by-step approach to finding an open textbook relevant to your subject, by choosing the closest discipline and class to your course from a drop-down menu.

Bloomsbury Collections - Created by Bloomsbury Publishing, a collection of over 200 open access books covering a wide range of subjects.

OpenALG - Created by Affordable Learning Georgia. With iterative texts, powerful annotation tools, rich media support, and robust community dialogue, OpenALG transforms static open textbooks into living digital works

FAQs about Open Textbooks

How much does it cost to incorporate Open Educational Resources? 

Nothing! By definition, OER are free and open, meaning anyone with an internet connection can access them at any time. There is no limit to how many people can use a resource at a time, and oftentimes the user may choose how to access the material, whether they prefer to read the book online or to download it to read later.

How are they able to offer textbooks for free? Aren’t textbooks usually expensive?

To offer these textbooks for free, the authors have published them under a Creative Commons license, making them free and available for all to access. Some textbooks are also in the Public Domain. Through these licenses, the creator of the work gives users permission to access their work and use it for educational purposes. To learn more about Creative Commons licenses and/or the Public Domain, feel free to visit the Creative Commons website here

Who is in charge of making sure Open Textbooks are accurate, relevant, and current?

Although Open Textbooks don’t go through the same publishing process as textbooks sold for profit, they are subjected to a peer-review process to be included in major collections like the ones mentioned in this research guide. When in doubt, look in the collections to check their requirements and/or process for including textbooks on their list. 


What is the difference between Open Textbooks and eBooks?

Open Textbooks are free and open, meaning anyone with internet access can utilize them free of charge at any time. eBooks are just electronic versions of books, meaning they may still cost money, and users may only be able to access them for a limited time, or in a limited way, such as through renting, borrowing, or having to create an account.

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