Tag Archives: searching

Finding Free Textbooks on Google Books

eye-15699_640When I first started looking through Google Books, what a chore! My search results were huge.  It took hours muddling through and discarding all that disappointed.  And I wondered, ” How do I find full texts? How do I find FREE texts.” After all, that is my goal. A friend mentioned the Advanced Search option, but it was not obviously placed.  It could have been 3:00 a.m. I could have looked right over it.

When in doubt search Google with your search terms. So, I opened Google and typed the words, “Google Books, advanced search.” Imagine my surprise when I found http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search. The other options is to go to Google books, type in the name of the book or a key word. When your results pop up, click on the link “Search tools”. A group of four additional links will display below. Click on “Any books” and a menu will reveal “Free Google ebooks”.

I was in search of some science textbooks. I wanted free. I wanted a full text, not a sample. The first search will not eliminate all samples or copies at cost, but will push most of what you desire to the front of the list.

I would first start with a topic, science. You might have a tighter topic, electricity, for example. When I’m looking for my younger children, I might add  the words “children”,  “little ones”,  “for boys and girls”, or “beginners.” These, I have chosen based on previous searches I have done for the 19th century publications. These words are not always needed. We certainly don’t use those with textbooks today, but remember today’s textbooks will not be available for free as their copyrights are still intact. Next, choose “Full View Only”. You may narrow the search further by choosing “Books” and omitting “Magazines.” The rest of the search options will further narrow your search. I hate to miss out on a hidden gem so I keep it fairly broad after choosing “Full view only.”

I like the 19th century schoolbooks for beginning readers especially. Many are written narrative style, but all are written with a wit and charm you just can’t deny. If you are looking for your middle school or high school age scientist. You’ll find that the science is practical, hands-one, and relevant. You can find the intended age group in the preface of most books.Your children will love them!

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19th Century Schoolbooks

school-32981_64019th Century Schoolbooks is  fabulous for some ebook downloads. We have used A First Book in American History by Edward Eggleston. You will find it is more comprehensive than public school history text and much less agenda. It tells history like an adventure story full of wit and charm. There are some facts we quibble about at home, but so far it has served as a good beginning. We also plan on using The Young American, or, Book of Government and Law by Samuel G.Goodrich for our Civics requirement in our state. I chose this book because it really dives into the discussion of liberty and the purpose of government. It was written in a time, it seems where ideals were still close to the ideals of our founders.  

If you need to print a book for one of your children, you might go crazy when you figure out that you can only print one page at a time. This is a bummer, however there are other website to download and print these titles at. If you find a title you like and desire to print it, try searching for the title at one of the following sites: 

https://archive.org/

http://www.gutenberg.org/

http://books.google.com/

http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html

I find the books style and vocabulary refreshing. I prefer the content in the “readers” far more than some contemporary text. They tend to include high moral standards, problem solving, and charm. I have found that some authors write a series including different age groups for the same topic. You can simply go to the preface of a book that you like. Most tell you the age group the book is intended for and what other books are included in the series. This is a great option. I can download the 3rd grade version for my son, the 4/5th grade version for my oldest and they can discuss the topic having understood it fully from a text that was comfortable to them.

Searching the Internet Archive

detective-156961_640Archive.org is a treasure trove. I cannot tell you how awesome this database is for finding public domain resources. Just the other day, I was perusing another website for science and history books to download for my newest reader. I needed something fairly straight forward, yet something to catch interest. I happened upon some books written by Albert Blaisdell. I fell in love instantly with the voice he writes in. He relates the topic very well to prior learning. The only problem was that I could not find all of the books in the series of textbooks he wrote. Instinctively, I surfed on over to Archive.org and found every one of them. I was giddy.

Archive.com  and its users have data-based  websites, video, audio, books, and TV news broadcast. All are free for your listening, viewing, or reading pleasure. The uses are endless in homeschooling. I love to find 19th century readers for the kids. The writing seems more wholesome, inviting the read to problem solve with a higher moral code than the world today. My kids enjoy the  classics. From Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s works, we often us the books found here with the audio version to enjoy a book that might be above our most comfortable reading level.  We have found some adapted versions of the classics, as well. We enjoy the 19th century schoolbooks for many reasons. I will address that in another post.

To search Archive is simple. You can enter your key words and search all types of media or you can minimize your search to a certain form of media by using the pull down menu or  by clicking on the links at the top and choosing your media form . If you search by the first method, you will see an icon  before the title of the resources listed that indicates the type of media it is. If you have found a book on the database, simply click on the title and notice the options for viewing or download to the left of the page. You can read it straight from the website, download it from Google, to your Kindle or other device. If your find more than one of the book you are looking for, be sure to check them out. Some scans do not have the quality others do.wizard-of-oz-269148_640

My oldest is happy reading from the computer, so she downloads them to her Kindle for PC, that way she has use  of the digital bookmark. My middle child likes a paper copy. I print and bind his, according to the width. I might use a binder, a folder with brads, or simply staple a portion of a book. I save them for my youngest to use.  You can print them with an economy option if you have it. I also print them with 2 pages per sheet on landscape. You have to test print each book to see how small the font will be if you do this. Most turn our great. The printing of course is not free, but with my printer and ink combo, the cost comes to just under $3.00 for a 300 page book, using the 2 pages per sheet option. Some of the books I find are available to purchase, but I haven’t found one cheaper than printing on my own.

There are a couple of other places that I take advantage of for media in the public domain. Look for posts on them soon. You can also look forward to reading about other finds on Archive that we enjoy. That way you don’t have to do all the legwork. Just enjoy homeschooling for free!