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Open Educational Resources: Open Textbooks

A guide for faculty to locate quality open content for their courses.

Open Educational Resources Guide Key

 Open - free to use and repurpose

 Free - free to use

 Affordable - available at low cost

 Free North Shore - available to NSCC students and faculty

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Open Stax College

Open Stax College is an initiative of Rice University to provide free, open source, peer reviewed textbooks written by professional content developers.  All textbooks can be adopted or adapted by interested faculty.  Supplemental resources for faculty and students are also available for each textbook.  The following textbooks are currently available:

  • Algebra and Trigonometry
  • American Government
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • College Algebra
  • College Physics
  • Concepts of Biology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Microbiology
  • Principles of Economics
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Prealgebra
  • Precalculus
  • Psychology
  • University Physics
  • US History

Web, PDF and ePUB versions of the textbooks are available to students free of charge while printed copies are available for the cost of printing. 

Open Access - free to use and repurpose Affordable - available at low cost 

OpenStax CNX

OpenStax CNX is the parent initiative of Rice University's OpenStax College. OpenStax CNX is an open space repository of thousands of learning objects that can be or are already organized into books.  

Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library is a partnership of the University of Minnesota and BC Campus to provide openly licensed textbooks that can be freely used, adapted and distributed.  The textbooks can be downloaded at no cost or printed inexpensively.  To locate a textbook, you can search the library or browse by subjects such as:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business, Management and Marketing
  • Computer Science and Information Systems
  • Economics
  • Humanities and Language
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Natural and Physical Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Some of the textbooks have reviews by faculty.

Open Access - free to use and repurpose Affordable - available at low cost


Openculture has a collection of 200 free and open textbooks. You have to scroll to see the list, but does include topics from the Arts & Humanities and the Sciences.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources for locating open and low cost textbooks.

  • OER Commons
    Click Browse All (top) and then Open Textbooks (left).
    From there, you can refine your search by subject area, educational level, and condition of use. 
  • Saylor Bookshelf
    Textbooks from the free and open courses at - available to be downloaded as a PDF or Docx.
  • Wikibooks
    An open content textbook collection that anyone can edit - there are currently over 2,500 books.

College Open Textbooks Collaborative

The College Open Textbooks (COT) Collaborative is a "collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges" and is "focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges."  Under "Open Textbook Content", you can view featured open textbooks or browse open textbooks by subject.  COT is not a repository of open textbooks but rather a listing that points to open textbooks in other open repositories.

Open Access - free to use and repurpose Affordable - available at low cost Free - free to use

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg houses over 42,000 free eBooks whose copyright has expired and are now in the public domain.  The majority of the eBooks are classics that can be used in humanties and social sciences courses.  To locate an eBook, you can search the entire catalog or browse by book categories such as:

  • Education
  • Fine Arts
  • History
  • Literature
  • Law
  • Music
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Technology   

The eBooks can be read online or downloaded to be read on various devices (Kindle, Android, iPad, Nook, etc.) 

Open Access - free to use and repurpose


open suny

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants.

This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.


Free North Shore Books

ebook central


Ebook Central is one of our databases containing over 20,000 online books covering all NSCC academic disciplines including Nursing and Allied Health, Computer Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, College Success, Testing Guides and Career Information.