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What is an Open textbook?
An open textbook is an openly-licensed textbook offered online by its author(s). The open license sets open textbooks apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, or print the book at no additional cost.
For a textbook to be considered open, it must be licensed in a way that grants a baseline set of rights to users that are less restrictive than its standard copyright. A license or list of permissions must be clearly stated by the author.
Generally, the minimum baseline rights allow users at least the following:
- to use the textbook without compensating the author
- to copy the textbook, with appropriate credit to the author
- to distribute the textbook non-commercially
- to shift the textbook into another format (such as digital or print)
Many authors also grant rights such as:
- to add, remove or alter content in the textbook, often on the condition that derivative works must have the same license
- to copy and distribute the textbook without giving credit to the author to use the textbook commercially
Excerpt from Open Access Textbooks.
Open Source Books
Search Open Textbooks:
BC Open Campus Textbook Project
Free open textbooks for courses in arts, sciences, humanities and business.
Community College Consortium for OER (CCCOER)
Find open and free textbooks that may be suitable for use in community college courses from the list of Subjects provided. Most of the textbooks on this list have Creative Commons (CC) open licenses or GNU-Free Document License. Others are U.S. government documents in the public domain (PD).
Library of Congress Student Discovery Sets
Developed for a younger audience, these contain straight-forward and basic information using primary sources on a wide range of topics, including history, science, and literature.
Full teaching resources are available for each set.
OER Commons indexes a wide variety of openly licensed educational materials. Licenses vary by item.
Search instructions: (Under "material type" select "textbook" or for a curated collection go to: https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/open-textbooks )
OpenStax offers free, open-source, peer-reviewed textbooks for college courses. This site also has test banks, assignments, PowerPoint slides and more to go along with textbooks.
Open Textbook Library
Use this catalog to search for textbooks that are "openly licensed, complete, and suitable for adoption outside the author's institution." Textbook subjects include: Accounting & Finance, Business, Computer Science, Economics, General Education, Humanities & Language, Math, Natural & Physical Science, and Social Sciences.
Search Open eBooks:
Directory of Open Access Books
Openly accessible (and many openly licensed) electronic books with a strong focus on humanities and social sciences.
Contains over seven million volumes and over one billion pages of scanned books and other materials, 1200s to present.
JSTOR Open Access eBooks
Freely available for anyone in the world to use. Each ebook carries one of six Creative Commons licenses determined by the publisher. The titles are easy to use, with no DRM restrictions and no limits on chapter PDF downloads or printing. Users will not need to register or log in to JSTOR.
Free public domain audiobooks recorded and made public by volunteers.
This service is an extension of the Internet Archive. It's intended purpose is to catalog every book in the world.
eBooks in public domain because their copyrights have expired. These are particularly useful for classic literature and other humanities and social sciences courses.