Free downloadable ebooks: 6 nifty sites for thrifty students

free downloadable ebooks
Move aside, paperbooks! Free downloadable ebooks are the new thing now. Source: Shutterstock

College textbooks, resources, and reference books are getting more and more expensive. From the years 2006 to 2016, the Consumer Price Index for college textbooks rose to 88%, according to a report by the US Bureau of Labour Statistics

The idea of lugging around such hefty purchases in your bag or under your arm around campus only for them to be discarded the next semester is a thought that can put even the calmest yogi on edge.

Whether you love the environment, hate carrying heavy books, can’t afford to buy those college textbooks, or simply believe that you can find other users for the money you have in hand, you might want to consider downloading ebooks from these sites. After all, there is no better price than free.

free downloadable ebooks

Why pay full price for a heavy textbook when you can download the ebook version for free? Source: Sia Kambou/AFP

Where to get free downloadable ebooks


An online source of free downloadable ebooks, FreeBookSpot houses 4,485 titles in 96 categories. Here, you can search for books that fall into categories such as science, engineering, computer programming, and even fiction. The best part about FreeBookSpot? No registration is required to get started.

Library Genesis

The topmost contender of many free books lists is still Library Genesis and for good reason: you can find everything and anything from college textbooks to scholarly articles, academic books, novels, comic books, and magazines here. 

The catalogue alone is enormous — organised in a format that is similar to a standard college digital library, which helps fellow students familiarise themselves quickly. You can search according to the author, ISBN, or year, and multiple download options make it easy for students to try their luck if the first link is broken.


Unlike the others on this list, Mobilism is not a website — it is a forum where users can share the media they already own with other people. The catalogue, like Library Genesis, is so vast that the chances of not finding what you’re looking for are very slim. Bonus: there is an option for users to request a specific title if it’s not available on the forum.

free downloadable ebooks

Visiting a library can be fun, but it’s easier to have your own ebook, especially for those late-night study sessions. Source: Stefani Reynolds/AFP

Project Gutenberg

Another good option for students is Project Gutenberg, which primarily offers fiction but also has an extensive collection of reference books for college students to download. The website was started — and ran — by volunteers that believe in creating and distributing free downloadable ebooks.

The interface is a welcome sight for those who do not have the patience to navigate a complex site. Humanities students in particular will love the variety of options available for their fields and subjects at Project Gutenberg.


The only non-English site on this list is VK, a Russian social media platform that works just like Facebook. Although Facebook focuses on actual social interaction, VK’s growing community emphasises media-sharing. Ebooks are the usual file types shared across the board here, which means students also upload books that they have used themselves for the benefit of others.

You also don’t need to make an account to get your hands on the free downloadable ebooks in VK. However, keep in mind that there is no centralised search engine on the website — you have to find your ebook of choice in catalogues and communities. Should you want to avoid searching on VK for hours, you can search on Google and end the sentence with “VK” to get results.

free downloadable ebooks

Senegalese President Leopold Sedar Senghor’s library, in his house, in Verson, western France. Source: Lou Benoist/AFP


Even though Bookboon is an online publishing company, the site also offers free PDF textbooks for college students in need. Students who major in engineering will benefit from this website as many of the books on here are for that particular field.

No topic or discussion is left uncovered when it comes to engineering, from basic to advanced. However, to access most of the textbooks and reference books on here, you’ll need to pay a minimum monthly subscription fee of US$5.99.