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Alternative Textbooks: Home

Options for textbook resources for college courses that are no cost for students.

This guide provides alternative textbook resources and context surrounding open educational resources.  Prices are high for students and we encourage you to explore these no-cost options for textbook and other educational content.

Contact Us

Jeff McAdams


Liz Siler


Library Owned Content

Atkins Library purchases high-quality research content each year.  We purchase e-books so that students and faculty can download and keep a copy of the PDF.  Simply add a link to the book in Canvas and students have free access to the book.

Here is a database you can search to see if we have a book or if it is something we can purchase:

What is Open Content?

Open content is often described by the five R's:

  • Retain - keep a copy with no restrictions
  • Reuse - use for a variety of purposes
  • Revise - edit, modify, adapt
  • Remix - mashup to create a new work
  • Redistribute - share the content

These characteristics are mostly allowed by using Creative Commons licenses.  These licenses exist on top of copyright and grant permissions proactively to allow use to everyone.


Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 61 different sources and contains 160,717 records.

OASIS is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library in consultation with Alexis Clifton, SUNY OER Services Executive Director.

Search: Mason OER Metafinder (MOM)

Simultaneously search OER repositories, including Merlot, OAOpen, OER Commons, OpenStax, Open Textbook Library, World Digital Library, American Memory, DPLA, DOAB, HathiTrust, and more.  Use the Advanced Search to narrow to specific repositories, or by author, title or date range.  Developed at George Mason University Libraries.

Open Textbook Collections

Here are a few sites that offer free and/or low cost textbooks. Many are international in scope. Quality of resources do vary, so make sure you review the titles thoroughly.

OER Repositories

These sites include a variety of learning objects covering a wide range of disciplines.