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Free Springer math books (gist.github.com)
322 points by DanielRibeiro on Dec 28, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments

Link to Springer's main open access page: (http://www.springeropen.com/books). More than math texts up there!

Very true, I see >56,000 English-language books that seem to be available for free ( http://link.springer.com/search?facet-content-type=%22Book%2... ).

Is there a way to scrape these programatically? I feel like it'd be a useful repository to have stashed away for whatever future reason.

Why? I can understand downloading a few that look interesting, or asking for permission to mirror them, but blindly downloading all of them seems like hoarding.

Call it "creating a local cache in case the service goes down" (and it most definitely will). "Hoarding" is the normal thing you do when dealing with digital stuff.

Seems like? No, it is hoarding. :)

And...they are no longer available. Hope someone saved them.


There's a comment with a curl command for that on the repository.

They programatically disallow that if you try.

Maybe it would be possible to scrape the ISBN's and get them from Library Genesis?

You could have done that at any time in the past few years tho.

http://scrapy.org would almost certainly work.

Guess there won't be a royalty check for me this year.


I'm totally fine with having our book available for free; actually, I prefer it that way. Yet I find it a bit odd that Springer never even notified any of the authors. I suppose as copyright owners, they can do that.

How much of a royalty are we talking about in say 2014? Enough for a cup of coffee or for a used VW Golf?

I know that it is rare for modern programming books to make much money for their authors. Thus I imagine for a highly specialized math book it would be even rare.

After the initial excitement ;-) had settled down in the mid-nineties, it was, on order of magnitude, about $100 per year. Every once in a while, an interested mathematician would buy a copy. Other than that, in order to sell such a book, there has to be a graduate level class on the subject at some university (attended typically by about 5 people), and the teacher has to pick your book over a handful of other options.

I haven't kept track of the grand total that I made off the book, but it would certainly be a rather crappy used VW Golf.

I am so far removed from academia now that I have never thought about how I would publish a book like that today. My first impulse would be to make it a free ebook. Web search for "free course textbooks" indicates that this is not unheard of. Does anyone know how common it is, at various levels of higher education?

From what I've experienced, it's common to have mostly expensive texts (for undergrad level) that can reach upwards of $175. Occasionally there are free texts from professors at other universities, or just authors in general. But more often than not they're quite pricey.

Free would be great! I think a lot of students go the alternative route and torrent books or just Google to find their respective .pdf's without paying after they see the price tag at the campus store/amazon/ebay.

I'm in the process of writing a book also. I'm wondering if an author has no saying in this. Can a publisher just decide: I give your book away for free?

What does this mean for publishing in general? 10 years is not much time for good technical books.

It's been so long that I can't even find the agreement that I signed with Springer back then. But I would assume that there was something in there that allows them to do what they did. And since it's more than fine by me that the book is now available for free, I don't care. But if you're concerned about the issue, then, in my opinion, there is only one course of action: have your agreement with the publisher reviewed by a lawyer before you sign it.

You appearently cared so much to make it non-free again. It's now $69.95 instead of a free PDF.

> I'm totally fine with having our book available for free

Really? It's Dec 31th, so you managed to make the book non-free again.

You know, I'm not exactly a huge Springer fan, much the same as many HN'ers I expect. But I do believe in "giving the Devil his due", if you will. And this is pretty freaking cool. I mean, yeah, sure you can probably find most or all of this stuff using Libgen or torrents, but for Springer to put this much great stuff out there for free, legitimately, is mondo bodacious.

I believe you're talking about "Axel Springer AG" (the publisher of "Bild" that loves to fight against AdBlockers). The free books are from "Springer Science+Business Media", a completely different company.


Why are Springer books bad?

Oh, I don't mean to besmirch the quality of the content of their books. It's not the books that people dislike, it's the company and some of their business practices - epecially the journal publishing side of things.

Springer books are great—but academic publishers are widely reviled.

Anyone knows why Springer made all these books free ? Is there a backstory to it ?

Looks like Springer runs a open publishing model for books, with a fee charged to the author, as usual . My guess would be that they are seeding a bunch of these classic books to increase visibility of the open publishing scheme. And anyway, there's probably genlib copies of most of these floating around anyways...

Just to emphasize your comment: anyone looking to expand their knowledge should download pdfs and epubs from genlib/libgen (I pronounce it "libgen"). It's changed the way I read.

Now, if I have even a passing interest in a book, I download it and read the introduction. If I like it, I get it from the library. If I like my first reading, I buy the book.

The two things that have increased the range of my intellectual interests in 2015 have been libgen and twitter (where people more interesting than me talk about their research with others).

I've got to point out that libgen is effectively a book piracy site.

I don't personally have a problem with this, but others may want to keep that in mind.

Anybody who have a problem with this should better read Aaron Swartz' Guerilla Open Access Manifesto:

  > https://archive.org/details/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto
  > https://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt
  > https://archive.org/download/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008.pdf

I'll play devil's advocate: do you?

In America (the only country I'm familiar with), people are sued by the RIAA or MPAA for copyright infringement. I've never seen a pattern of lawsuits for pirating books[0]. So there's very little risk of getting caught.

If someone has a moral problem with my piracy, I'd reply that I'm a paying member of my local library and I purchase far more books than the average person. If someone has a moral problem with them personally pirating, I'd suggest trying it out. You'll be so happy that you'll retroactively justify your behavior. Like me!

[0] Exceptional cases like Aaron Swartz (who downloaded 1 million+ Jstor articles) do not a pattern make.

Um.. the second line says "I don't have a problem with this.." :)

I'm personally of the belief that locking up knowledge behind paywalls is a terribly backwards thing to do, but that's modern capitalism for you. I just wanted to call it out because some people are a lot more bothered by copyright infringement than others.

What research / researchers are you following?

there's an excellent torrent of springer books out there, about 12gb.

I'd appreciate some pointers to where this is too. I've tried some obvious keywords but it looks like I need to be very specific. My email's in my profile.

Could you be more specific?


Last ditch attempt to appease the masses before their inevitable demise.

A gift that keeps on giving. Some are under an OA license. This is incredible.

Does anyone know if there any backup/mirror links available, just in case that hosting server shuts down?

Includes Categories for the Working Mathematician by Mac Lane.

Came here to post this as well..

Here the link to the 2nd edition (it also has the first edition in the collection):


More on category theory --but more for a programmer's usecase-- here:


And here:


My last math was in high school, and I'd like to spend more time learning in the coming year. I often read research papers, and the biggest challenge for me is the notation. I can understand the stuff around set theory, and a bit of the sigma notation here and there.

What I'd like is a proper introduction so I can start learning properly. Any book one would recommend? I'm keen on buying if it's not on the Springer list. Thanks in advance.

'What Is Mathematics?' Second Edition by Courant, Robbins & Stewart[0] is a great introduction to Mathematics in general (And covers most of the main fields), but also (iirc) is good at describing the notation used. As well as that I find Wolfram Alpha[1] and Math As Code[2] good at describing some pieces of notation.

Other introductory books I've found very useful are the 'Dover Books on Mathematics' introductions series, I've found their graph theory[3] and topology[4] books rather concise and clear to read -- to my knowledge they're availible at archive.org in the collection 'folkscanomy mathematics'[5].

[0]: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mathematics-Elementary-Approach-Meth...

[1]: https://www.wolframalpha.com/

[2]: https://github.com/Jam3/math-as-code

[3]: https://archive.org/details/IntroductionToGraphTheory

[4]: https://archive.org/details/IntroductionToTopology

[5]: https://archive.org/details/folkscanomy_mathematics

Thanks for the info, I am going to have a look at them and see where the road leads

No problem, happy to help :D

Good luck!

I don't recommend pursuing this unless you have many years to study diligently. My email is in my profile if you have any specific questions: I can recommend a path to take depending on what your goals are and give you a realistic timeline.

Thanks, I'll get in touch :)

Thanks, you saved untold fortunes I was planning on surrendering to Bezos in pursuit of these tomes of arcane magic.

They seem to have made available almost their complete catalog up to and including 2004: http://link.springer.com/search?showAll=false&facet-content-...

This search yields 110 041 results across all disciplines covered by springer that should be free to download in complete. Only 11 451 books from the same time range are 'preview-only'.

I'm not certain that this is intentional. I haven't found any statement by Springer that they make available all ebooks older than 10 years. Does anyone know more?

Thank you for sharing, mathematician writing here: all topics and content looks really great

I was about to post the same thing. Some of these books are among the best textbooks for their subjects.

Seems like they shut down this service.

Springer's got an incredible number of free texts up there, including over 3000 volumes in the "Lecture Notes in Mathematics" series.

lecture notes in mathematics is NOT free. they are making me buy


Only texts published >10 years ago (2004 or earlier) are free.

Wow. I been looking all over for this: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/3-540-44890-X

I don't know how I got 3000, it's 1800+ free and 300-ish non-free, sorry to get your hopes up.

Random Question. What are the prospects for someone entering graduate school in mathematics, say if they have a post graduate degree in another STEM field, later in life? Assuming they can take the math GRE and score well?

I completed a masters in physics my first time around, and over a decade later decided to do a masters in maths (which I completed).

On my own experiences, if you're willing to put the hours in, the prospects are pretty good. Maths isn't magic, and I found there wasn't much at the standard masters level that couldn't be at least managed (if not mastered) with significant but not superhuman effort.

I've no idea about math GREs; I'm in the UK.

May I ask further, what field? Is it more applied or theoretical (I guess that is answered by the field).

Given the context of this thread, let me say my chosen specialisations in the Physics were generally not towards the frightening mathematics end of the spectrum (and without naming specific subjects, the lowest score I achieved in my entire life on any exam was in a maths heavy exam in the final year of my formal physics education). I was not a mathematical wunderkind.

My general experience with the GRE is that it skewed heavily towards multivariable calculus, since it's the one 'advanced' topic that you can pretty well guarantee that all undergraduate math students will have encountered. Upper level courses already diverge into analysis, groups, combinatorics, and more, so you can't really make a standardized test heavy on group theory, for example. So get damned sharp on your multivariable calc and you'll be good to go....

As for the bigger life direction question, I have no idea without further context.

When I was in grad school, there were some people who were coming back after time away or a few years doing something else, and they generally did fine once they knocked the rust off and got up to speed.

Why are so many of the books listed 2 or 3 times with the same title but different filename? Are they different versions or just redundant copies?

It says near the top that "duplicates = multiple editions".

Can anyone explain how to differentiate between the multiple instances of the same titles? Is there a difference?

The first line of text after the first heading is "duplicates = multiple editions".

Labeling them or adding " (first edition)" to the title would've been nice, though.

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