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Free Downloadable Math and Physics Textbooks

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    i'm so surprised at all the hundreds of free downloadable math and physics textbooks at freescience (e.g. http://www.freescience.info/books.php?id=4&PHPSESSID=c3046af36f33033bc738fa34f64005be , covering almost every university level and even graduate level topic, with professional typesetting and diagrams, table of contents, etc... some textbooks have over 500 pages. i can't find these titles at amazon so apparently these books (most of which are only about 5 to 10years old) have not been published. so what gives?

    is there a reason that they are offered for free? seems to good to be true. some authors don't have have phd titles (but most do) but many are college instructors, so their credential seems ok. should i start reading from these books and trust their content?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2
    *clicks link* Your link doesnt work.

    Is it this website?

    Personally I think it would be somewhat unprofessional for someone to bring a stack of papers he printed out at home to class with him instead of a textbook :rolleyes:

    Online textbooks are more intended as a personal supplement to what you learn in class, not an in class text
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  4. Jan 15, 2007 #3
    The link works now. The online books ARE textbooks, just not popular textbooks. But why? What's wrong with them?
  5. Jan 15, 2007 #4


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    Don't print it out... read it [and mark it up electronically] on a TabletPC.
  6. Jan 15, 2007 #5
    so you are saying that the accuracy of the content in these books is good.
  7. Jan 15, 2007 #6
    are you being paid to advertise on pf?:rofl:

    These are full length text books, and they are (probably) no less accurate than the kind you would use in class. Schools just like making you pay for stuff. :tongue2:
  8. Jan 15, 2007 #7


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    Nope... but being an advocate and amateur evangelist, and acting like salesman for TabletPCs, I sometimes wonder if I should get a commission. :approve:
    (I am, however, trying to advertise the PF blog among PF users.)
  9. Jan 15, 2007 #8
    textbooks like these could cost $50 to $150. so there must be a reason that they are offered for free. my guess is that the author's could not find a publisher to invest in their books (the writer's must have tried to make money first before uploading them for free). the question is why couldn't they? is it because they are not famous enough? you said that the books' content is just as good as other textbooks.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  10. Jan 15, 2007 #9


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    I imagine the market for books like those is congested and publishers probably don't accept all offers.
  11. Jan 15, 2007 #10
    that sucks for the authors (they must have spent 1000+ hours typing out their books and perfecting the typesetting and diagrams), but is great for us.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  12. Jan 15, 2007 #11
    If a company puts out a billion books on one subject, every school will have a different book so overall the writers of the books wont get as much comission, and then the writers will start to take their business elsewhere, so i guess writers who dont get their books published give their books to the community for independant study through e-books
  13. Jan 15, 2007 #12

    Gib Z

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    I can't see how to download them, the formats don't work with any program I seem to have. One of the sites I got from the link was kind of hilarious:

    "If you are a students and do not feel sufficiently challenged your courses try solving the Discrete Problem of the Week or one of the Seven Mathematics Problems of the Millennium." :D Ill do that
  14. Jan 16, 2007 #13
    you need adobe acrobat reader or ghostscript viewer. once done, you have a free library of university textbooks.
  15. Jan 16, 2007 #14


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    Some are simply proofs of very good books, eg. Meyer's matrix book - iirc, SIAM let authors put preprints of their books on the web.
  16. Jan 16, 2007 #15
    Unprofessional? Who in your school really cares about how professional you look as a student? You could always take the money that you saved on books and buy some really nice suits, now who looks more professional when it counts?

    If you can find the book that your school is using then I say go for it, you would be stupid not to.
  17. Jan 16, 2007 #16
    :redface: I didnt really mean it as a bad thing.

    an education is an education no matter how you obtained it
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