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Open and Subscribed Educational Resources: Open Textbook Collections

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Open Textbook Collections


The Open Textbook movement focuses on the creation of books that are built specifically for use as free or low-cost options for education.  Many of the collections below will repeat some of the same books, but each has a particular focus and its own unique items.

  • OTL Library: The University of Minnesota Open Textbook Library (
    • This site is a clearinghouse of links to books housed in various locations, including OpenStax, Saylor and others, with over 780 books.
    • To be on the list, the books must be used by author's institution and by at least one other institution.
    • There are numerous reviews of these textbooks, each of which is written by an expert in that specific discipline.
  • OpenStax: These books were developed following traditional textbook publishing methods, including peer review, editorial support, and creation of ancillary content.  These books are available in multiple formats (PDF, print on demand, on the Web) and are licensed to be revised and remixed by faculty who want create a custom solution for a course. 
    • Current books list (please use subject navigation panel at top):
    • Included subjects: Math, Science, Social Science, Humanities, Business, and much more.
  • British Columbia Open Campus Textbook list
    • This collection of over 385 books includes texts written specifically for the BC OpenTextbook initiative as well as books from other sources. 
  • Lumen Learning
    • Lumen provides open courses in a variety of high-demand subjects and disciplines. These courses are collections of high-quality open educational resources, not just traditional textbooks. You can use them as-is or modify them to fit your instructional style and students’ needs. Lumen was created by OER instructional pioneer David Wiley. Helpful details on specifics of this platform here
  • HathiTrust (
    • HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. Note that UNCA does not currently have an institutional subscription to HathiTrust, and some results found in HT are still restricted due to copyright. Please make use of the advanced search and restrict results to 'Full View Only' to show available content.  The 'Copyright' and 'Using the Digital Library' pages are also helpful in making copyright-compliant use of the library.
  • OER Commons
    • Created by the non-profit Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), this site is a digital public library and collaboration platform with robust advanced searching options. It also provides leads to additional OER collections and research on the topic. 

  • The Directory of OpenAccess Books 
    • This site is a clearinghouse of links to books hosted in various locations, and includes a large selection of international textbooks.
  • Bookshelf (
    • This collection includes books written specifically for as well as the original editions of the FlatWorldKnowledge textbooks (subsequent editions are only offered for purchase).  
    • You can view all their resources by subject area in their library
  • Lyryx
    • Open Textbooks in Business, Economics, Math, and Stats. Note that only the textbooks are open access, and the auxiliary materials  
  • Flatworld Knowledge (
    • Flatworld provides faculty customizable books for a relatively low cost to students.  Access to the content is primarily through their website.  Flatworld is strongest in business.
    • Many of their original books are available under a more open Creative Commons license by-nc-sa 3.0, (the newer books from their site require student purchase and use of the Flatworld site).
  • Open Access Publishing in European Networks (
    • The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.  OAPEN has books in multiple languages and covering a large variety of topics. 
    • There is a range of licensing for the books, but each books is clearly marked with the license.  
  • The National Academies Press (
    • Unlike some of the open textbook initiatives these books are publicly available but not openly licensed.  You can link to the content, and even link directly to specific pages.  However, you cannot remix and redistribute the content.
  • 2012 Book Archive
    • Creative Commons-licensed, mostly entry-level college textbooks on a variety of subjects.
  • Affordable Learning Georgia
    • A University System of Georgia (USG) initiative to promote student success by providing affordable textbook alternatives, arranged by the, 'Top 100 Undergraduate Courses.'
  • Bookboon
    • This Denmark-based company offers ~1,000 free textbooks for students downloadable as PDFs without detailed registration (the site does request email and university details, but these do not need to be correct to access a download). These textbooks are free via tasteful 'employer branding' (often Dutch) advertisements in the text of the PDFs. 
  • Springer Open Access 
    • Includes peer reviewed, open access books in a wide range of areas within science, technology and medicine (STM) and within the humanities and social sciences (HSS).
  • Google Advanced Search
    • Although the results are more of a mixed bag and more often require evaluation for quality, Google's advanced search does allow filtering your results to those with open usage rights, and those published by particular domains such as .org (organizational domains), .edu (educational domains), and .gov (many governmental) domains. 

This is not a complete list, so if you need help finding additional resources please contact a UNCA librarian.