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Using the PDF Version of Your Open Textbook

Most OER textbooks will have both online/webbook and PDF versions. The PDF versions of your open textbook contain the same text as the web-based versions. They may also contain:

  • Text-based versions of the interactive activities found in the online webbook.
  • Text-based review questions or activities.
  • Links to embedded videos and external resources.
  • Footnotes listed at bottom of the PDF page, or the end of the chapter.
  • Glossary terms (listed at end of PDF file in alphabetical order).

Getting Started

  • Download Adobe Acrobat Reader for your device (free download) if you do not already have a PDF viewer
  • Access or download the PDF file of your book on the main page of the webbook site. You may see two versions:
    • Digital PDF is optimized for use with internet access (clickable links to videos & resources).
    • Print PDF is optimized for printing or using on your device offline (you’ll have to type out the links to access videos and other resources from an internet-enabled device).

Reading and Navigating Your PDF Open Textbook

The full PDF version of your textbook is similar to a book or eBook. It contains:

  • A table of contents (clickable links in Digital PDF).
  • Bookmarks to specific chapters/sections.
  • Page numbers.

Prefer a Printed Textbook?

OER textbooks are free to access, use, and print in any of the formats listed above for students and faculty use for non-commercial and educational purposes. Please check with the Library if you have questions about licensing & copyright.

  • Check within your book for PDF options as many have PDFs that are optimized for printing.
  • Check your syllabus to see what sections of the book you will need to read.
  • Print the entire book OR just the sections you need.


  • Check printing costs at your on-campus print shop (such as M&T Printing) or a local print shop (Staples, etc).
  • Binding and 3-hole punching can make your printouts easier to use and store.


Except where otherwise noted, this page is an adaptation of Using OER Textbooks: Student Guide by the OER Design Studio at the Georgian College Library, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.