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This guide promotes and helps discover open, affordable, low or no-cost textbooks, course material, and educational resources.
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Affordable Learning Materials Print Page

Affordable Learning Solutions Course Content

Affordable Learning Solutions Course Content  AL$  from the CSU) FREE Online Course Materials are building blocks for course curriculum. Faculty can construct their complete course by selecting online materials to cover individual topics or learning objectives.


CSU Rent Digital

CSU Rent Digital

The California State University’s Rent Digital program offers students the option to rent digital versions of textbooks (known as “e-textbooks”) at a cost savings of 60 percent or more compared to purchasing the new print textbook. Through CSU’s agreements with various publishers, CSU students have access to thousands of popular e-textbooks at discounted prices.



BryteWave Rent Digital logo (BryteWave is a digital textbook platform. It is more than a PDF of a physical textbook. You can highlight and bookmark text, search, sort, and summarize notes into custom study guides).



CENAGEbrain Rent Digital logo  ("  A single destination for more than 35,000 new print textbooks, textbook rentals, eBooks, single eChapters, and print, digital, and audio study tools. provides the freedom to purchase a-la-carte exactly what you need, when you need it." 


Where to find Course Material, Textbooks, Publishers

Alternative Textbooks (Cal State East Bay).  A growing list of links to alternative textbooks.

Boundless (A company that creates textbooks by finding the best content from open educational libraries, government resources, and other free learning sites).

Café Learn is a next generation course design platform that helps colleges improve retention by increasing student engagement, scaling innovation and reducing costs.

Chegg offers low-cost and rental textbooks, as well as e-textbooks.

College Open Text Books. (The College Open Textbooks Collaborative).  A collection of twenty-eight educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges).

Free eBooks from Microsoft  - Virtual Academy.  From technical overviews to drilldowns on special topics, these free ebooks are available in PDF, EPUB, and/or Mobi for Kindle formats, ready for you to download.

Flat World Knowledge "Here's what you do: search our catalog, review our textbook online (or request a print version), create a custom course URL for your students, and download our supplements. Done. It really is that easy."

Hathi Turst ( partnership of major research institutions and libraries).  Working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. There are more than 90 partners in HathiTrust, and membership is open to institutions worldwide.

Internet Archive eBooks The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks.

Internet Classics Archive Select from a list of 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors, including user-driven commentary and "reader's choice" Web sites. Mainly Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation.

Lumen Learning "We help institutions adopt an evidence-based approach to using open educational resources to eliminate textbook costs and improve student success."

MERLOT's Online Courses Portal  (CSU). Digital resources, collections, and useful materials and guides are available from a number of regional, national, and international organizations."

MERLOT's Open Textbook Initiative (CSU) Open textbooks are typically authored by faculty and published on the web with the support of universities, non-profit organizations, or new commercial companies."

MERLOT Voices:  Affordable Learning Solutions Community  (CSU) This online community is for members of the California State University and the higher education community to share their strategies for improving the affordability of quality course materials for students."

OER Commons OER Commons has forged alliances with over 500 major content partners to provide a single point of access to the highest quality content from around the world. Users can search across over 42,000 vetted and fully-indexed OER, ensuring a high level of resource relevancy and discovery. Since these resources are 'open,' they are available for educational use, and many hold Creative Commons licenses that allow them to be repurposed, modified and adapted for a diverse array of local contexts."

Online Library of Liberty, (Liberty Fund, Inc.).  A private, educational foundation established in 1960 to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The Foundation develops, supervises, and finances its own educational activities to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring intellectual issues pertaining to liberty. Curently contains 1,652 titles, 459 authors, and 1,158 essay in 24 categories.

Open Course Library (Washington State Colleges).  "A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that you can download and use for teaching. All content is stored in Google docs making it easy to access, browse and download."

Open Educational Resources Center for California (California Community Colleges Board of Governors.  The OER Center provides support for community college educators to find, create, remix, use, and share openly licensed learning content.

OpenStax College (Rice University).  OpenStax College offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses.

Open Library is an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. It is an open project: the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open, and your contributions are welcome. Whether you fix a typo, add a book, or write a widget--it's all welcome.  Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive, and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation.

Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota).  In an effort to reduce costs for students, the College of Education and Human Development has created this catalog of open textbooks to be reviewed by faculty members.

Orange Grove (Florida's digital repository for instructional resources). The repository provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share, and contribute educational resources. is dedicated to college textbooks.  It provides a unique comparison of current  and  previous  editions of textbooks via side-by-side view of very detailed tables of contents with highlighted changes.

zyBooks are STEM material native for the web—using "less text, more action." zyBooks have minimal text, and instead consist of question sets, animations, interactive tools, and embedded homework, so students can learn by doing.


Milestone Documents

Milestone Rent Digital logo "With Milestone Documents, you design your course materials from among a huge collection of primary sources, unique textbook layer, and optional instructor resources, such as lecture notes and assessments."


Nook Study

NOOK STUDY Rent Digital logo (Barnes & Noble).  NOOK Study is a FREE application that you download to your computer to help you study smarter.  Save up to 60% when you buy eTextbooks, organize your coursework with search, tag and highlighting tools, access 2.5 million eBooks and eTextbooks instantly.)



RedShelf CSU Rent Digital   (Rent e-textbooks for 60% or more off list price)


Vital Source

VitalSource Rent Digital logo (Access Titles From Over 90 Publishers And Counting).

California State University, Sacramento | University Library | 2000 State University Drive East | Sacramento, CA 95819 | Phone: 916-278-5679


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