Lauren Zucker, PhD

Teach High School or Higher Ed? Want Free Books?

When I returned from a recent conference with boxes of books and swag, some of my colleagues asked how they could score their own free books for course consideration.

Several publishers will provide educators with free copies of their books to examine and consider for adoption in a course or curriculum. Many books are sent by mail, but some are offered as e-books. Publishers have their own requirements, but many require that educators sign up with a school email address, and some require that books are sent to a school address.

See below for ways that high school and college instructors can request free (and significantly discounted) examination copies. Happy hunting, book lovers!

High School Teachers

W.W. Norton & Company offers free examination copies for high school teachers, searchable by subject area. There are many more gems under their “instructors” tab—especially the section devoted to English. Norton’s regional sales representatives can help teachers navigate their catalogue and find new materials.

Penguin Random House offers low-cost books as examination copies for high school teachers: $3.00 for any paperbacks that retail for under $20, and 50% off for any hardcovers or paperbacks that cost over $20.

K-12 Staff Developers

Guilford Press offers free examination copies to staff developers who conduct trainings for K-12 teachers.

Stenhouse Publishers also offers free review copies and provides free study guides and PD facilitation guides for use with several of their texts.

College Instructors

Note: Most publishers will ask for basic course information including the course title, term, and expected enrollment.

W.W. Norton & Company offers free examination copies for college instructors organized by discipline. You can also browse the instructor tab for additional options (for both secondary and higher ed consideration), also organized by discipline. Norton’s regional sales representatives can provide textbook recommendations for potential adoption.

Macmillan also offers free examination copies to instructors for potential course adoption from Bedford/St. Martin’s, W.H. Freeman & Company, and others.

Sage Publishing provides free review copies to college instructors, up to two books per course and eight per academic year.

ASCD offers free review copies and online sample chapters for course consideration.

Stenhouse Publishers offers college instructors four free review copies per request.

VitalSource has free, digital exam copies and book samples that verified instructors can access instantly.

Simon & Schuster offers discounted exam copies at 50% off the list price.

National Academies Press, which publishes books in the sciences, offers free exam copies for instructors of undergraduate or graduate courses with 10 or more students enrolled.

Wiley and Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer offer short-term examination copies, but they have to be returned to the publisher after a review period.

Harvard University Press offers free online review copies and low-cost print copies (for $6 shipping per book).

Penguin Random House offers low-cost books as examination copies for college instructors: $3.00 for any paperbacks that retail for under $20, and 50% off for any hardcovers or paperbacks that cost over $20.

Bonus Tip

If you’re looking to score free books for leisure reading, Goodreads has ongoing giveaways. If you create a virtual bookshelf of books you’ve read, Goodreads will send you an email update when an author you’ve read has a new release, book giveaway, or live Q&A session.

Please comment if I’m missing any publishers!

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