Online Textbooks

This past summer, I was pretty surprised when my Cell Bio instructor told us on the first day, “If you bought the book already, return it. You should be able to get by with the notes I’ll make available online, but if you can’t I’ll show you where to access the entire text for free online.”

Sure enough, he showed us a few different useful features of the NIH website, particularly the fairly sizeable number of books available in their entirety though the National Center for Biotechnology Information site.

I’m sure some people were aware of this already, but I thought I’d mention it for anyone who isn’t. The textbook used for my cell bio class is a fairly common one, and I recognized some of the other books on there immediately. Given the cost of textbooks these days, even if you’d prefer to have the actual book in front of you, there’s something to be said for being able to get the same information free online. It certainly ended up working out just fine for me when it came to studying, even though I initially hated the idea of trying to read it all online.

Some of the texts are 5-10 years old, so take their contents with a grain of salt, but can still be useful for background information. Does anybody know of any other legal online texts?

pretty cool; but not every current textbook is available unfortunately.

I’ve taken to buying my books through which is a clearinghouse for all sorts of deals. Some of the books seem to be for the South Asian market and are about 1/3 the domestic price, typically printed on cheaper paper, paperback, and maybe fewer colors, but the information is there.