(Photo by Carlos Muza)
For years, the number one undergraduate college major in the United States has been Business — either general business or in a related topic.
Of course, college books can be expensive. So we’ve put together this resource list of over 50 Web sites that either offer free digital reading experiences, or point to sites where you can find such, with a focus/ section on business-related topics.
The ebooks represented span from recently published to much older books — some over 100 years old — that contain still-relevant advice, to college students or to anyone trying to build a business.
Note that while we’ve done our best to find quality sites, some are ad-driven and advertising links may compete with download links. Some sites do use affiliate links, such as to Amazon.com, so be aware of the links you click when visiting the sites listed in this resource.
Also note that the sections below are only a guideline to make research easier, as some sites blur between two or more categories. Happy ebook hunting.
(Photo by Hannes Wolf)
Publishers, Publishing Platforms, Online Libraries and User-Generated Content (UGC)
- Amazon may have made its founder Jeff Bezos a 100-billionaire, but the site does occasionally offer free Kindle ebooks that fall into the “Business & Money” category.
- BookRix, an ebook publishing service, conveniently lists some free ebooks in Business and Economics – presumably published by their clients. Warning: some NSFW titles may be visible.
- Bookyards bills itself as a “library to the world” but is also a publishing platform offering over 22,000 ebooks. This includes a selection of over 100 business-related PDF ebooks available free for download. Categories include E-Business, Finance, General, Management, Sales And Marketing.
- Dale Carnegie Training, known for its training workshops and programs, offers a selection of free ebooks in the categories of Leadership, Business, and Management.
- Harvard Business School (HBS) offers a variety of business-centric ebooks and working papers free of charge, including these two: From Strategy to Business Models and to Tactics (PDF) and Inspiring Women – Celebrating Harvard Business School Leaders (PDF).
- JC Social Media provides a collection of free and paid ebooks about the digital marketing niche, including their “50 Great Ideas” series, with one ebook per social media site or strategy (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SEO, etc.).
- Leanpub is an online publishing platform for a wide range of topics, with minimum and suggested prices. Either search for business titles on Leanpub and sort through results manually to determine which are free, or find pay-what-you-can ebooks (sometimes with $0 option) linked to from online courses you’ve registered for on other sites.
- Lumen Learning is a book production platform which also offers open course materials for college student use, including the Boundless Management course, available online free of charge, with a supplemental downloadable EPUB digital file for offline use.
- O’Reilly, noted for high-quality for computer programming books, has a section of free mini ebooks on multiple topics, including ten ebooks on business and leadership topics.
- Open Textbook Library (OTL) is an initiative of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Open Education (part of the College of Education and Human Development), offering college-level openly-licensed free textbooks in downloadable format, free to anyone, and includes business-related topics such as management, marketing and human resources, economics, accounting and finance.
- OverDrive is a platform (computer and mobile app) that lets users access more than 2M ebooks, audiobooks, videos and more, from over 30,000 libraries in over 40 countries — all free if you have an accepted library card. A search function helps you locate a library near you.
- Safari Books Online offers a 10-day free trial period with read-online access to books from O’Reilly, Packt and other publishers. While books are mostly computer-/ technology-related, a selection are geared to business, management or entrepreneurship aspects of technology. Also available in the free trial is access to numerous case studies (business and technical) for both established companies and startups.
- Saylor Foundation/ Saylor Academy have over 100 free textbooks, which can be downloaded (PDF or DOC) or read online, intended for the use of educators and students (or their families). Topics include business and related subjects.
- SlideShare‘s search function returns over 3.5M results for ‘business,’ in the form of ebooks and Web slideshows. This is quite possibly one of the largest collections of free business content, owned (site only) by professional networking site LinkedIn since 2012 and contributed by users.
- Taos Institute‘s WorldShare Books initiative offers free online books in PDF format, with topics including management and social science.
- Wikibooks host a selection of Business texts in different states of completeness – finished, and three states of partial completion. Texts are typically available as read-online pages and sometimes also downloadable PDF file (particularly for finished works).
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Aggregators, EBook Search Engines and Repositories
- 2020ok catalogs free ebooks from multiple sites (with links to the source) in a range of business-related topics including general business, marketing, business writing, advertising, and more
- Book Gold Mine has a selection of business ebooks profiled, from multiple publishers, with links to either PDF or read-online versions at source sites. Categories: Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, Marketing.
- Bugabong hosts free ebooks in multiple topics including business and marketing, generally for the intent of reselling/ sharing (resell rights). Content includes images and text in various digital formats, compressed into a .zip archive format.
- ChestofBooks.com offers a selection of older business-related books for reading online. (Note: has affiliate links to paid hard copy versions at Amazon presented above the links to free online versions.)
- collegeopentextbooks.org is a multi-sourced site that catalogs open textbooks for college studies in many topics including business, accounting, economics, management, ethics and other related topics. Books are either PDF or read-online pages (with the latter requiring purchase for digital formats).
- DigiLibraries has a selection of ebooks in Business and related subcategories (Advertising, Promotion, Banks/ Banking, Business Ethics, Economics, and more), which are a mix of more contemporary work or transcribed lectures, and much older copyright-free books. Available download formats are PDF, EPUB and Kindle.
- Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) catalogs digital texts/ ebooks sourced from multiple publishers and other organizations who offer this content free of charge in digital format (English and other languages). In some cases, you can read the content free online, as well as purchase a hardcopy version. Business-related topics covered include management, economics, finance, emerging markets, supply chain, etc.)
- eBook Directory has business related books sourced from different sites, with an emphasis on Internet marketing and entrepreneurship. Books are either PDFs residing on-site or on other sites.
- E-Books Directory claims over 10K books in nearly 700 categories, including a compilation of free business-related ebooks from numerous source sites (business development organizations, university presses, etc.). The collection of links falls into a dozen sub-categories: Accounting, Banks & Banking, Communications, Economics, Finance, Industries & Professions, International Business, Investing, Job Hunting & Careers, Management & Leadership, Marketing & Sales, Small Business & Entrepreneurship. Links are to source PDFs or read-online pages.
- FreeBookCentre.net offers a searchable list of free ebooks (with links to the source sites) in business and related topics such as general business, management and leadership, small business and entrepreneurship, marketing, economics, finance and others.
- FreeComputerBooks.com, while marketed as a free computer and math/ technical ebooks site, provides a small selection of business- and management-related books on computer software (search for “business”).
- Free-Ebooks.net provides a selection of free ebooks in categories such as business, marketing, etc., and in digital formats that include any or all of PDF, EPUB, Kindle or TXT for each book. Note: Some formats for select books require VIP (paid) membership.
- Free Management Ebooks offers 500+ free ebooks, checklists, templates, white papers, case studies and other digital content relevant to managers, which can help build skills in multiple areas including accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, sales, strategy, time management and more. Note: Some content is sourced off-site and may require filling out a request form.
- FreeTechBooks bills itself as a “database of free/ open access” computer/ tech books, but lists a selection business-related tech books (ebooks, digital textbooks) sourced from multiple sites.
- GetFreeEbooks is a Patreon-supported site with an agenda of promoting free ebooks for both readers and authors. Their business section offers a selection of free related ebooks, providing links to the actual download pages (typically offsite).
- Internet Archive links to a large group of content collections, digital libraries (including its own Open Library, mentioned elsewhere in this article) and other sites, and includes a collection of free business-related ebooks which can be read online.
- ManyBooks presents a selection of business-related books, primarily from the early 20th century (1900s) and sourced from other sites (some possibly already listed elsewhere in this resource list).
- Obooko offers over 2300 free ebooks, including a selection in topics related to Business & Management. Digital formats include PDF, EPUB and Kindle. Requires free membership to download.
- Open Culture regularly profiles free content including ebooks/ textbooks. While some of the current links to free business-related ebooks may be covered by other sites in this Resource List, OpenCulture is a site to watch, for new relevant content. Several sections lead to free ebooks related to business. See “800 Free eBooks,” “200 Free Textbooks,” and “Free Books by UC Press” for starters. There is also information about well over 100 free business courses.
- Open Library, an initiative of the Internet Archive (archive.org, covered elsewhere in this list) is “an open, editable library catalog” that you can register for with your free archive.org account. Read an available book online, download it (multiple possible formats requiring other software), or join a waitlist for unavailable books.
- PDF Drive claims over 300M free books (on-site and links to off-site), and offers ebooks in multiple categories, including Business Management and Administration, Marketing, Finance, etc. You can use their email alert service to learn of new editions and trending free books.
- Top Free Books claims “thousands of books in all fields,” including in business, management, finance, economics and other related categories, sourced from multiple reputable publishers including top university presses.
- TradePub.com bills itself as “The Professional Research Library” and offers access to free content (ebooks, white papers, magazines, case studies, research) for professionals, particularly in the area of technology and business, and sourced from various trade publishers.
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Free Trials, Freemium, One-offs, Site Lists and Miscellaneous
- BizMove bills itself as “The Small Business Knowledge Base” and lists over 100 free ebooks in Small Business and Management categories, as well as offers other free business resources.
- Bookboon.com has free textbooks/ ebooks in some categories including accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, marketing, etc. with an option to download all entrepreneurship books as a single ZIP file. Note: the majority of general business and management require paid access, although Bookboon offers a free trial month.
- Dreamgrow occasionally publish articles listing free ebooks (sourced elsewhere) related to business, including social media and marketing, and primarily focuses on content marketing and lead generation through social media.
- Enterprise Nation offers a single book on ways to fund your business — an incredibly important aspect of business-building, whether at the startup stage or expansion/ merger stage.
- Entrepreneur Society of America (ESOA) has a one-off ebook (PDF) on planning a successful small business, useful for the aspiring entrepreneur.
- Forbes magazine, renowned for high-quality articles, interviews and profiles in a wide array of business topics, presents an article listing 10 ebooks at Gutenberg Project that leaders/ future leaders should read, some of which are business-related.
- Help Scout shares a one-off ebook, a PDF version of their 8-chapter guide consisting of 75 customer service-related tips, quotes and statistics.
- Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers a small selection (three) of IT books with some business relevance.
- ShotKit publish a single article list of 50 free photography ebooks, including two that are related to building a photography business.
- speckyboy links to free ebooks primarily on Web design, including one on creating a business from your WordPress plugins. Check for other similar lists in the archives.
- textbooksfree.org presents free textbooks, from multiple sources, for business, management, marketing, accounting and other related topics. Read online for free or buy a physical copy.
- The Balance offers an article listing 27 free ebooks for business, entrepreneurship, marketing and related topics — many of which are written by well-known authorities in their online niches, including links to nearly a dozen by marketer Seth Godin, and two from ChangeThis.