How to get your university books for FREE

Your uni mates are getting their books for free – so should you! Gone are the days of waiting for books to be returned from the library, the digital age has brought the means to access many university textbooks for free! Here I’ll show you how to access your university books for free (based on the time of writing). A cornerstone to studying smarter not harder is to have great resources easily accessible – read on for the ultimate Kindle life hack.

🥜Article in a nutshell

  • Is getting free books ethical?
  • The BIG dislclaimer
  • How to get FREE books in FOUR easy steps
  • The kindle life hack
  • How to add your free books to your kindle

In case you didn’t know, this blog is a part of my Study Hacks series – my top tips on HOW to study at medical school to study smarter and unlock your time.

As MedEd is turning more and more digital, there are probably plenty of online resources you didn’t know about – I’ve collated all my top recommendations on WHAT to study in the MedEd Vault. Sign up below to access!

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Every week, I share study hacks and recommended MedEd resources to help you study medicine smarter not harder.

Forecast: 100% chance of inspo, 0% chance of spam.

🤔Is it even ethical to access books for free?

I’ve been in two minds about releasing this content – is it even ethical?

The pros:

  • It sets a level playing field and removes the unfair advantage to those that know about these websites
  • The free resources are out there anyway – its entirely up to you whether you choose to download them or purchase books instead
  • Most medical students aren’t in the position to earn a part time wage on top of studying to fund buying books
  • The recommended reading lists for modules (as per university) can be lengthy


  • Authors work incredibly hard to write and update these book – payment for these books is a fair exchange of value to honour the effort made to make them.
  • Inevitably, some medical students will still not know about these resources.
  • There is a risk of inadvertently downloading malware from the internet

All in all, my decision to help out here is based off the principle that I am attempting to even the playing field and increase accessibility to the published literature to help medical students to become safer doctors – it is entirely your choice on whether you’d like to access literature this way.

⚠️The BIG caveat

⚠️DISCLAIMER: there is always a risk to the safety of your devices if you download anything from the internet. I have found the website listed to be reliable and safe and have never experienced a problem. However, by following these steps, you must accept that you face the risk of inadvertently downloading viruses, ransomware or any other malicious software that may harm your devices ⚠️

🩺How to download university books for FREE in four easy steps.

1. Head on over to the holy grail of free – This is a proxy site of ZLibrary. In a similar fashion to how the well known website Pirate Bay has many many different proxies (different URLs) to resist against being cancelled by the website police, ZLibrary also has a number of other links. If this link doesn’t work, it may be because this site has been taken down – give ‘ZLibrary’ a google to find more if this is the case.

2. Register for a free account with your email address – you should NEVER be asked to input billing details. Ive never run into any malicious popups from this site – but do consider launching from a browser with automatic add-blockers such as Google Chrome for the best experience.

3. Search for your desired book – its as simple as typing the name of any book into the search bar and browsing the search results. I’ve always found this website to be awesome for finding most textbooks.

4. Download up to FIVE free books a day – Click on the book +/- edition of your choice, check its the right one based on the author list/blurb and then hit download in your desired format (more on that next).

What I love about this website is the recommended books displayed by front page that is located at the bottom of page for each book you click on. It’s a great source of inspiration for further reading!

🔍The Kindle life hack

I love downloading my books onto a kindle. Ever since my best friend got me a kindle for my birthday (Thanks Mike if you’re reading), it has completely transformed my daily habits. Now I’ve moved on from medical school, I spend my dead-time (check out my blog How To Unlock More Time In Medical School) reading books on entrepreneurship, business psychology and personal development, back-to-back. It’s changed my life – check out @alexandbooks_ on Instagram for some great suggestions outside MedEd.

Some people love the feel of a book in their hands – but I assume you’ve got this far because you’re still excited about the digital versions just as well. I make sure I convert all my books into a format that is compatible with my Kindle – thats right – all my books for free, no cluttered shelving and it all fits in my pocket wherever I go. Kindles are around £50-100 and is a small investment for the money you’ll save from downloading books to read on-the-go. Ive included a link to the one I use above (its also the cheapest) – please note that I’ll receive a commission for anything purchased via this link.

📚How to add books to your kindle:

  1. Search for your desired ebook and locate the dropdown arrow next to the (currently at time of writing) blue ‘Download’ button
  2. Look for the ‘convert to .mobi file‘ button – this is the file type compatible with Kindles. If you can’t find it in the dropdown menu, then go back to the search page to find a different version of the same book (there’s usually several different versions). If you still can’t find one, either go for an older edition or download an ePub (which is like a PDF) version – but note that it will not have the same user experience of a .mobi file.
  3. Make sure you’re logged into your account so you can download up to 5 books a day
  4. Plug in your kindle to your laptop/desktop computer
  5. Drag the .mobi file from your downloads folder (or wherever you downloaded the file) into the ‘Documents’ of your Kindle.
  6. It’ll take a few minutes to download across and will eventually form a folder with the .mobi file and a few other .txt or equivalent additional files.
  7. Eject your kindle (dont just pull out the wire) and you’re good to go!
  8. Check the .mobi file on your kindle. You may find that some versions do not properly format. If this is the case, or you are unable to view the chapters on your kindle, then try downloading a different .mobi from the website if you are able to. I find that this works 99% of the time.


There you have it. The steps above will help you get most of your university books for free. Having medical textbooks in an easily accessible format like PDFs on a laptop or as .mobi files on a kindle will help you make the most of your dead-time to get in more reading.

For more advice on how to study medicine smarter, not harder – check out my other blogs and discover the interest’s best resources for medical students (incl. revision, CV building and more) by signing up to MedEd Mondays.

I hope this helps!

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