A package to download free Springer books during Covid-19 quarantine

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You probably already have seen that Springer released about 500 books for free following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Springer, these textbooks will be available free of charge until at least the end of July.

Following this announcement, I already downloaded a couple of statistics and R programming textbooks from their website and I will probably download a few more in the coming weeks.

In this article, I present a package that saved me a lot of time and which may be of interest to many of us: the {springerQuarantineBooksR} package, developed by Renan Xavier Cortes.1

This package allows you to easily download all (or a selection of) Springer books made available free of charge during the COVID-19 quarantine.

With this large collection of high quality resources and my collection of top R resources about the Coronavirus, we do not have any excuse to not read and learn during this quarantine.

Without further ado, here is how the package works in practice.


After having installed the {devtools} package, you can install the {springerQuarantineBooksR} package from GitHub with:

# install.packages("devtools")

Download all books at once

First, set the path where you would like to save all books with the setwd() function then download all of them at once with the download_springer_book_files() function. Note it takes several minutes since all books combined amount for almost 8GB.

setwd("path_of_your_choice") # where you want to save the books
download_springer_book_files(parallel = TRUE)

You will find all downloaded books (in PDF format) in a folder named “springer_quarantine_books”, organized by category.2

Create a table of Springer books

You can load into an R session a table containing all the titles made available by Springer, with the download_springer_table() function:

springer_table <- download_springer_table()

This table can then be improved with the {DT} package to:

  • allow searching a book by its title or author
  • allow downloading the list of available books, and
  • make the Springer links clickable for instance
# install.packages("DT")

springer_table$open_url <- paste0(
  '<a target="_blank" href="', # opening HTML tag
  springer_table$open_url, # href link
  '">SpringerLink</a>' # closing HTML tag

  rownames = FALSE, # remove row numbers
  filter = "top", # add filter on top of columns
  extensions = "Buttons", # add download buttons
  options = list(
    autoWidth = TRUE,
    dom = "Blfrtip", # location of the download buttons
    buttons = c("copy", "csv", "excel", "pdf", "print"), # download buttons
    pageLength = 5, # show first 5 entries, default is 10
    order = list(0, "asc") # order the title column by ascending order
  escape = FALSE # make URLs clickable

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