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We live in the age of self-education. Not everybody has quite embraced it yet, but all of the resources are available for us. The need for academic institutions is diminishing by the day. I am optimistic about the possibility of seeing a world in my lifetime in which colleges are a niche interest, a relic, a thing of the past.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not at all subscribe to some sort of anti-intellectual philosophy, not in the slightest. I do not want to see the University crumble because I do not value education. In fact, if you have read some of my other reviews on Torrent Sites, you will quickly see that the opposite is true. I am a champion of education. It is one of the reasons that I love torrenting so much, why I think that torrenting and pirating content is important; because it makes information and education available to all, not just to the few that can afford to pay for it.
I want the same to be true of higher education. It is ridiculous how the ‘go to college and drown yourself in debt or make minimum wage for the rest of your life’ system is able to exploit all of us so freely. Not to mention the fact that college loans are, without a doubt, predatory loans that are dressed up as being helpful. No 17 or 18-year-old kid who is told his whole life that he must go to college is prepared to make a sound financial decision of taking $100,000 (or sometimes more) in student loan debt with compound interest.
This is why I am a staunch supporter of free college education for all. This reality, however, is going to take a lot longer to achieve if we sit around and wait for legislators to sign it into existence. We need to take these matters into our own hands and create the world in which a college degree is less relevant, to diminish the pressures to attend traditional (read: expensive) schools.
One way that we do that is by educating ourselves. I know I am dreaming, but if high enough number of us around the world simply decided to stop going to college and, instead, to partake in the free self-education of demonstrable skills, we could push the college ultimatum out of the question ourselves.
Any form of free self-education is good (assuming, of course, that the learning materials and teachings are good). I stand behind every single one. Whether we are talking about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that are often offered for free by Ivy League professors, free workshops and certification programs, or simply learning the old-fashioned way by reading reference books, textbooks, and notes.
But I would also like to push back against this capitalistic idea that learning must be a means to an end – the end, of course, being that you become a productive member of the workforce. Education has intrinsic value; it does not require a job-specific outlet or productive output in order to be useful. Learning, in and of itself, is good.
No matter your goals or your reasons for learning, having the right resources at your disposal is crucial. Especially if you want to learn something as specialized as computer science, coding, or anything else in the tech field.
This is precisely why I am here today to introduce you to a site for free eBook downloads called, aptly enough, Free Tech Books. Here, you will be able to download free eBooks that will help you learn a breadth of topics and skills in the tech world. Through thousands of free eBooks, textbooks, and lecture notes, you can teach yourself computer science on Free Tech Books without ever spending a penny.
Free Tech Books offers a fairly straightforward and no-nonsense site design. It is not the most impressively designed site that I have ever seen, let me say that right off the bat, but it is far from the worst site I have ever seen – especially when it comes to sites that let you download free eBooks. For whatever reason, these sorts of sites tend to be shoddily designed. They are often cluttered and sloppy. Free Tech Books, thankfully, is not like this (even if it has a rather plain or uninspired feel and aesthetic to it).
Free Tech Books is all about logic, though, not style. In fact, when it comes to a free eBook resource, especially a free educational eBook resource, this is the design choice that, in my mind, makes the most sense. I wouldn’t want Free Tech Books to be too flashy or modern looking, I don’t think, it would likely get in the way of the site’s ability to provide a well-organized and user-friendly database of free eBooks.
When it comes to browsing, though, Free Tech Books is exceptional. Browse by category, author, publisher, or license. There is also a gloriously detailed category tree in which you can quickly access subcategories – really more a graphical advanced search than a browsing mechanism – which makes browsing these free eBooks an enjoyable and user-friendly experience.
Content and Features
Free Tech Books has, well, free tech books. At the moment, the site offers (as of the time of this writing) 1,214 free eBook downloads. The site, however, is constantly growing, and I would not be surprised if by the time this review is published Free Tech Books’ total book count had increased significantly.
I feel like I should clarify. Free Tech Books does not host these free eBooks. They simply link to them. They are very clear about this on the site’s About page: they do not host free eBooks, they do not link to pirated eBooks of any kind either. I understand that I am in the business of reviewing torrent sites, primarily, but every once in a while a non-torrent related site comes around that has an impressive enough selection of free eBooks that it warrants being listed alongside some of the best eBook torrent trackers.
Although occasionally you will find a different format on Free Tech Books, the overwhelming majority of these free eBooks are going to be available for download in PDF format. This is the default, it would seem, on this site. That being said, when you take into account how many hard-to-find and highly specialized resources you can download for free here, a limited number of file types hardly seems worth complaining about.
Each eBook, too, also comes complete with a preview of the abstract or summary, all the relevant licensing info, and an About the Author section, making Free Tech Books one of the more credible (in my opinion) free eBook indexes. A lot of them just vomit up links and don’t bother to treat the texts in question like books at all. Free Tech Books goes the extra mile.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
The site is well optimized for mobile devices. You will have no trouble whatsoever accessing or downloading free eBooks on your phone or tablet. The layout changes to accommodate the smaller screen and the touchscreen nature of mobile browsing and downloads are quick and easy no matter what device you happen to be on.
It would be nice, however, if the mobile and desktop experiences could be a little more streamlined. I would like, for instance, to be able to create a user account of some sort, allowing me to save books for later, add books to lists, etc. that I can view and edit whether I am on my phone or my laptop.
Still, though, as it stands, the site itself works very well on mobile devices. No complaints from me from a site functionality standpoint.
Suggestions that I have for Free Tech Books
As I was saying, some user features would be nice. I don’t mind that the site is focused on providing a no-frills database of thousands of free eBooks, but I love this site so much I find myself wanting additional excuses to use it and interact with it more than just as a way to download free eBooks.
I think, too, that in the interest of self-education, being able to track one’s own progress and readings and thoughts about certain topics, etc. could be an immensely helpful feature. Even just a forums section could make a huge difference in my opinion. I want to be able to speak with other students of computer science – education is not solely acquired through reading, it is done through communicating with others as well.