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Getting the Most from Free Resources


Smiley faceOpen Textbooks

Smiley faceOpen Scholarly Publishing

Many scholarly publishers and Universities publish selected titles on an open access basis. Trace them via The Directory of Open Access Books which can be browsed by publisher and subject.

QueryOther publications

Many organisations decide to make their publications available on an open access basis - notable examples include much of the US Government, UK Government and bodies such as The World Bank  - you need to check the terms and conditions and copyright notices on their publictions/or website. Contact if you need assistance with finding out whether material can be used for teaching and learning.

The World Bank

EBooks: Beware

warning do not use  Watch out for books and reports that appear to be free to use but which do not have a creative commons notice or any other notice confirming that they can be copied. If there is no notice on a book or website, you must assume that it cannot be used without permission. If they are published by an official body including the UK Government, there may be a blanket licence similar to the UK's Open Government Licence. However you cannot assume this is the case.

You can still link to these items, but we cannot copy them or save them as pdfs. We also need to be careful not to link to items which may breach copyright.

Ebooks: Google, Amazon and similar

QueryMany Google books are copyright-free because they are so old that copyright has expired and they are now in the public domain. However most books that would be of interest for business and law study are unlikely to fall into that category.

For most modern books,  Google Books allows you to preview a small amount of a book. Reading lists should not refer students to these previews or to any similar facilities on sites such as Amazon.


Smiley faceIf you would like to find copyright-free, public domain books on Google, simply:

  • Search for a book or keyword on Google books 
  • Just above the results list (and below the search box) choose Tools
  • Change "Any books" to "Free Google eBooks"