Free public books database

When I try and find online publications of hard-to-find, old or expensive books that I can download, I go to archive.org. Now, the Public Books Database is cataloging titles of academic presses (mainly US), which it asserts have made hundreds of their titles freely accessible online in response to the disruption from the COVID-19 crisis to university classrooms and libraries which have been shuttered. The crisis disrupts not only teaching but one’s ability to access research materials. Public Books says they’ll be updating the list regularly as additional materials are made available. However some titles are available only through Project Muse.

BY SALVADOR I. AYALA CAMARILLO & JESS ENGEBRETSON 

• University of Arizona Press

• Berghahn Books

• Bristol University Press

• University of Calgary Press

• University of California Press

• University Press of Colorado

• Columbia University Press

• Cornell University Press

• Duke University Press

• ETC Press

• Fordham University Press

• University of Georgia Press

• University of Hawai‘i Press

• University of Illinois Press

• Indiana University Press

• Johns Hopkins University Press

• Lever Press

• University of Maryland Press

• Manchester University Press

• Medieval Institute Publications

• University of Michigan Press

• University of Minnesota Press

• University of Missouri Press

• MIT Press

• Monash University Publishing

• University of Nebraska Press

• University of North Carolina Press

• University of North Texas Press

• Northwestern University Press

• Ohio State University Press

• Penn State University Press

• University of Pennsylvania Press

• Princeton University Press

• Punctum Books

• Purdue University Press

• Rutgers University Press

• University of South Carolina Press

• Temple University Press

• Texas Tech University Press

• Utah State University Press

• Vanderbilt University Press

• Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

• University of Virginia Press

• Wayne State University Press

• University of the West Indies Press


UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA PRESS

University of Arizona Press has made over six hundred books available for free until the end of June on Project MUSE. Book subjects include border studies, environmental science, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, poetry, space science, and other topics.

Highlights

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BERGHAHN BOOKS

Berghahn Books publishes scholarly journals and books in the humanities and social sciences. They have made their e-books free with code REMOTE20.

Highlights

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BRISTOL UNIVERSITY PRESS

Bristol University Press offers open access to over 30 books and various journal articles on gender, politics, social work, and other topics. The press has also expanded access to its digital books catalog and extended trials for all its journals.

Highlights (Books)

Highlights (Journals)

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UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY PRESS

The University of Calgary Press open-access books collection includes over 90 texts, on topics including ecology, literature, Canadian history, education, and diaspora studies.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS

All online journal content is free through June 2020.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY PRESS OF COLORADO

In addition to making An Epidemic of Rumors: How Stories Shape Our Perception of Disease and The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore available for free on its site, the University Press of Colorado has partnered with Project MUSE to make 351 books available for free until the end of June. Its books cover topics such as anthropology, art history, folklore studies, medical science, nature and the environment, sociology, and psychology.

Highlights

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COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS

Columbia University Press offers students whose classes have moved online free access to a selection of eTextbooks via VitalSource. Students should register with VitalSource here in order to access materials via an app. Texts will be available through May 25 in the US and April 30 in Canada.

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CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

In partnership with Project MUSE, Cornell University Press has made over two thousand books available for free online, covering anthropology, Asian studies, classics, history, literary criticism and theory, politics and international relations, sociology, urban studies, and much more. The press has also made the following journals available: IndonesiaNew York History, and Research in Outdoor Education. Texts are available through the end of June.

Highlights

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DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Duke University Press has made 44 journals available, including American LiteratureGLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, and Social Text.

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ETC PRESS

Carnegie Mellon University’s ETC Press publishes books with a focus on games, media and technology, and education. Their entire catalogue is open access and available for PDF download here.

Highlights

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FORDHAM UNIVERSITY PRESS

Fordham University Press has made selected books and journals available for free on Project MUSE. Over nine hundred books covering art and architecture, business and economics, literary studies, performing arts, psychology, religion, and other subjects can be accessed until June 30. The journal Joyce Studies Annual has been made available as well.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PRESS

The University of Georgia Press has made all of its books available for free on Project MUSE until the end of June.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I PRESS

In addition to keeping more than three thousand titles in print, University of Hawai‘i Press has a growing list of content available online. As of 2017, all UHP journals may be read electronically through individual or institutional platforms. The Press has also made strides with new open-access content, e-books, and digital archives.

Highlights (Journals)

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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS

Nineteen University of Illinois Press journals are available for free on Project MUSE until the end of June, including American MusicJournal of Sport History, and Feminist Teacher. For those with institutional access via JSTOR, the press has made available over one thousand e-books. Learn more about UIP’s offerings here.

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INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS

Indiana University Press is offering open access to over 50 journals. Subjects include folklore, education, earth science, anthropology, and more.

Highlights (Journals)

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JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS

Johns Hopkins University Press is offering open access to over 1,600 books and journals on Project MUSE until the end of May.

Highlights

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LEVER PRESS

The fully open-access Lever Press has seven books available.

Complete List

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UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND PRESS

The University of Maryland Press has made several volumes of its journal, Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660–1700, available for free on Project MUSE until June 30.

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MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY PRESS

Manchester University Press offers open access to nearly two hundred books and three journals. These include the James Baldwin ReviewHuman Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.

Highlights

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MEDIEVAL INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS

Medieval Institute Publications runs an open-access website publishing works on medieval and early modern studies.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN PRESS

University of Michigan Press has made all of its books (1,153 titles) free-to-read until April 30.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS

University of Minnesota Press has made more than 50 books freely available on their open-access site and at Debates in the Digital Humanities. They have also expanded access to their e-books and journals through JSTOR.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PRESS

Over three hundred books published by the University of Missouri Press are available for free on Project MUSE through the end of June. Books cover subjects such as American history, literary studies, politics, and biographies.

Highlights

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MIT PRESS

Over five hundred books and 17 journals by the MIT Press are available for free on Project MUSE through the end of June. Books topics include computer science, economics, environmental studies, neuroscience, and philosophy. The journals include The American Journal of BioethicsPAJ: A Journal of Performance Art, and The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics.

Highlights

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MONASH UNIVERSITY PUBLISHING

Monash University Publishing offers over 60 open-access titles. Many of these texts deal with Australia and its history, but many others cover media studies, education, urban planning, queer studies, and other subjects.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESS

University of Nebraska Press is offering open access to nearly 1,500 books and journals on Project MUSE until the end of May.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS

University of North Carolina Press is offering open access to nearly 1,700 books and journals on Project MUSE until the end of May.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS PRESS

University of North Texas Press offers over 80 open-access texts. The majority concern Texas history and folklore, but available texts also cover a wide range of other subjects.

Highlights

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NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY PRESS

This press offers open-access books covering African studies, literary criticism, and philosophy.

Highlights

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OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

The press offers over a hundred open-access texts, primarily covering literary history and criticism.

Highlights

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PENN STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Penn State University Press is offering open access to more than four hundred e-books on Project Muse and to more than two hundred e-books on JSTOR through June 30. PSU Press journals hosted on Project Muse are free through the end of May.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA PRESS

University of Pennsylvania Press has made all of its digital content free on Project MUSE until the end of June.

Highlights

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PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS

Princeton University Press has made nearly six thousand books available for free on Project MUSE through the end of June. The books cover American and world history, politics, film studies, aesthetics, philosophy, literary studies, and more.

Highlights

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PUNCTUM BOOKS

Punctum Books publishes writing from the humanities, social sciences, and fine-arts/design, with an emphasis on innovative form. Their entire catalog is open-access and available here.

Highlights

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PURDUE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Purdue University Press provides open access to over 50 books in addition to four journals: CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and CultureFirst Opinions, Second ReactionsThe Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering; and The Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research.

Highlights

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RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PRESS

Through the end of April, Rutgers University Press is offering four free e-books on disease and epidemiology.

Complete List

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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PRESS

University of South Carolina Press is providing open access to over four hundred books on Project MUSE until the end of May.

Highlights

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TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Temple University Press is providing open access to over seven hundred books on Project MUSE until the end of May.

Highlights

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TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY PRESS

The press has included 59 books and two journals in its collection on Project MUSE. These can be accessed for free until June 30. Its books include novels in addition to works on history, political reform, agriculture, natural history, and other subjects. Its two available journals are Conradiana: Journal of Joseph Conrad Studies and Helios, a journal of classical studies.

Highlights

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UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Through June 30, Utah State University Press has made over 300 e-books available for free on Project MUSE. The press publishes works in the fields of composition studies, creative writing, folklore, Native American studies, nature and environment, and more.

Highlights

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VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PRESS

Vanderbilt University Press has made over 250 books available for free on Project MUSE through the end of May. The press publishes works on the humanities, social sciences, healthcare, education, and regional studies.

Highlights

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ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS VIENNA

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna offers 13 open-access books, mainly on art and culture.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA PRESS

University of Virginia press has made over 450 e-books available for free on Project MUSE through June 30. The press covers subjects such as social sciences, American history, African American studies, political science, literary and cultural studies, religious studies, architecture, and environmental studies.

Highlights

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WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

The press has made nine journals and over five hundred books available for free on Project MUSE through May 31. Its books cover a wide range of topics, including African American studies, anthropology, art history, cultural studies, disability studies, environmental studies, film history, media studies, philosophy, theater, and urban studies. Its journals include Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the ArtsHuman Biology, and Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal.

Highlights

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UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES PRESS

Several issues of the Journal of Caribbean History are available for free through Project MUSE until the end of June.

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Updated April 16, 2020

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