Free Online Marketing Textbooks: What Are the Best Ones?

There are hundreds of free online marketing textbooks available – some good, some bad. But how can you tell which one is worth your time and attention? Let’s take a quick look at the good, the bad, and what you should avoid at all costs.

The Good

From a marketing standpoint, you really can’t go past Keith Lee’s Introduction to Marketing for beginners. Keith Lee is an experienced professor who teaches at the University of Utah and who also authored a couple of best-selling books on marketing. He covers all the basics: marketing definitions, theory, and theory applications. It’s no surprise that Keith Lee’s Introduction to Marketing is one of the best free online marketing textbooks as it covers all the basics and then some.

Other good choices include E-Marketing Management, by Matthew Middleton. This is the marketing management specialization of the very popular and reputable Babson College. It’s a great option for those who wish to learn more about the theory and applications of marketing management. And then there’s David Skok’s Digital Marketing: Creating Value for Your Business. This is Skok’s follow-up to his best-selling Marketing Essie: An Interactive Introduction to Interactive Marketing. Although it is a little more advanced than Introduction to Marketing, it covers the basics of digital marketing and provides a wealth of practical examples and case studies.

The Bad

Don’t get me wrong; there are some truly excellent free online marketing textbooks out there. But there are also a few bad eggs as well. The biggest problem with these books is that they are simply rehashes of what we already know. There is Digital Marketing: Creating Value for Your Business mentioned above, but there is also Marketing for the Digital Age: The Essential Guide to Marketing in a Digital World, by Joe Sugarman. This is another digital marketing textbook, which in turn is a rehash of the previous one by Skok.

Sugarman’s Marketing for the Digital Age is a decent choice for those who already have a good understanding of marketing and wish to learn more about the impact of digital marketing tools and techniques. But if you’re looking for a textbook that will teach you the theory and application of digital marketing, I would skip over Marketing for the Digital Age in favor of one of the other two options.

What To Avoid

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t learn anything from these books. After all, they’re free. But, you should always be looking for a textbook that will challenge your mind. I’ve been in marketing for over 30 years now and I’ve seen all kinds of textbooks – some good, some bad, and some that are simply a waste of time. If you can’t find any good reviews for a particular book, it usually means that you’ll end up with a bad experience.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there who will offer you a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. So, be careful who you trust. As a rule of thumb, if someone requests your honest opinion on their product or service, it is usually a good indication that they’re trying to scam you. Most companies will never ask for your opinion; they’ll simply want to do business with you.

There are hundreds of free online marketing textbooks, which means there is plenty of choice for anyone who wants to learn more about the subject. What are your top picks? Let us know in the comments below!