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Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials: Home

This guide assists faculty and students in finding open or free-to-students materials online or through the library to reduce student course content expenses.

What is this guide?



The high and ever-increasing costs of textbooks and other assigned course readings are major concerns for UC Berkeley students. As detailed in an August 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, college textbook prices have risen 88% in the past decade, with individual textbooks often costing at least $200 each. These expenses come at a time when, according to the UC Global Food Initiative study, 42% of the UC student body systemwide experiences food insecurity due to inadequate living funds.

The University Library is launching numerous efforts to help address these challenges. This guide is one such tool, and helps instructors and students locate free or more affordable course content.

How do I use this guide?


Use this guide to identify free or lower-cost textbooks, eBooks, journal articles, or other course materials for your students. You can then add links to these materials directly in bCourses.


Use this guide to try and locate free or lower cost sources for the materials that your instructors have assigned for purchase.

Quick Start Links

The UC Berkeley Library has thousands of eBooks, ejournals, and databases that are free to use by faculty, staff, and students, both on and off campus. You can add direct links to these materials in bCourses.



Find your subject specialist librarian.

Ask us to purchase something if you want a resource that the Library doesn't currently have.

Need help?

If you have any questions about affordable course content, contact:

Rachael Samberg
Scholarly Communication Officer


You can also find your subject specialist librarian.

We're here to help!

This guide was prepared by members of the Scholarly Communication Expertise Group & Sherry Lochhaas, Electronic Resources Specialist.
It owes a lot of its content to the excellent Freely Available Resources guide by Corliss Lee.