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Access to Library Resources & Services: Textbooks

If you are enrolled in or teaching an online course through UB, use this guide to learn about the resources and services available through the University Libraries.
Last Updated: May 9, 2022 9:50 AM

Open Access Textbooks

Open access (OA) is a contemporary movement in scholarly research and higher education, designating books, websites, databases, course materials, and other resources that voluntarily place no restriction (paywalls, etc.) on access to their information and frequently also put up few or no barriers to the further use of that information (source).

For students, textbooks made available on an open access basis can mean the difference between paying hundreds of dollars for the latest edition of a mass-market textbook and paying for food, rent, bills, and necessities. Textbooks designated as open access are freely available online and most often contain exactly the same content as high-priced, commercially-published textbooks, at equivalent or even superior levels of quality. We at UB believe strongly in controlling or reducing the cost of education for all students, and in that spirit, we offer this guide to the best sources for open access textbooks on the Internet.

Full Text Books

Sometimes the full-text of a book can be found through Google Books or Amazon.

Google Books gives you access to a large collections of books that fall within copyright free. However, those that are still under copyright may have previews that allow you to view a couple of chapters. 

Amazon gives you a "Search Inside the Book" feature that also gives you access to a couple of chapters.

Project Gutenberg is a wonderful multilingual source for books within the public domain.

HathiTrust Digital Library has provided emergency temporary access to over 50% of UB Libraries Print Collection. Please follow the instructions for how to log in and access titles.

Search Course Reserve

Reserve readings for your course may have been placed online in Course Reserve.

Faculty: The Libraries may be able to purchase ebooks or electronic copies of required course materials. Please email directly if you are a Faculty or Staff member and would like the University Libraries to explore electronic access options for required course materials.