How-To Geek

Download the Entire National Academies Press Library for Free

If you’re one for non-fiction reading with an emphasis on the sciences, today is your lucky day. The National Academies Press has put 4,000+ books up for free download.

From The National Academies Press announcement on the subject:

As of today all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable to anyone free of charge. This includes a current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports produced by the Press. The mission of the National Academies Press (NAP) — publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council — is to disseminate the institutions’ content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability. To that end, NAP began offering free content online in 1994. Before today’s announcement, all PDFs were free to download in developing countries, and 65 percent of them were available for free to any user.

“Our business model has evolved so that it is now financially viable to put this content out to the entire world for free,” said Barbara Kline Pope, executive director for the National Academies Press. “This is a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact by more effectively sharing our knowledge and analyses.”

Head over to the main site and grab a copy of anything that catches your eye.

The National Academies Press Makes All PDF Books Free to Download

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/6/11

Comments (6)

  1. John Sitkin

    Is there an online list of available titles?

  2. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @John: I’m not sure if there is a list-on-a-page if that’s what you’re looking for. If you visit the main site you can browse (using the left hand panel) a variety of topics like Education, Agriculture, etc. and find books that way or search by title/keyword.


    Awesome. Thanks for the post.

  4. Abbas

    As I understand all that they have sold poorly, or become obsolete, they have made available free to download. A few interesting books I download are not available.

  5. JAD1957

    As Abbas wrote, in spite of being stated that all titles are downloadable for free, that is not true. I looked into around 20 books whose subjects seemed interesting, but generally they were old (between 1995 and 2000). I registered and logged in, but even so, some titles don’t have the hyperlink “Download” needed to make the download. Example: “Chaos Theory Tamed” book inside category “Math, Chemistry and Physics” and sub-category “Math and Statistics”.

  6. Michael

    @JAD1957: From the catalog page of “Chaos Theory Tamed”:
    “Contractual obligations prohibit us from offering a free PDF of this title published under the Joseph Henry Press imprint of the National Academies Press. ”

    All those from the National Academies proper are available.

    @Abbas — many of the books are small interest titles, others (Preventing Reading Difficulties) are big sellers. It was a publication policy choice in the public interest, I think.

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