Redefining Public Domain: How to Rewrite, Publish and Sell Public Domain Books
What is public domain?
Public domain is a term used to describe content which is free from copyright restrictions and available for anyone to use. This content can encompass anything from books and magazines, to images, posters, and movies. In the United States, content is usually considered to fall in the public domain if it was published before 1923 or 1964, depending on whether or not it was renewed. Additionally, content produced by government employees cannot qualify for copyright protection.
Public domain content includes 85 million books, several hundred thousand magazines, and 8.5 million patents. It is completely free to use this content without asking permission or paying royalties.
Works may lack a copyright for a variety of reasons, including if the author never obtained a copyright, dedicated their work to the public domain when it was originally published, it was never eligible for copyright in the first place, or the copyright simply expired. In the US, the copyright term is 95 years from the date of publication. Every year on January 1st, a new batch of content enters the public domain.
This public domain content can be used in a variety of ways, from re-publishing classic books, to turning them into movies, selling them, or creating T-shirts with quotes.
What are the benefits of using public domain books?
1. Cheaper to publish
Using a public domain book to expand a publisher’s product line can help to reduce the cost of publishing because it eliminates the need to write a new book. As long as the public domain book chosen is complementary to the existing book and appeals to the same market, the publisher can simply put a new cover on it, avoiding the expense and time of writing from scratch. Moreover, the process of finding and setting up a public domain book is not difficult and can be done with little to no technical knowledge. Having a creative book cover and using the same branding as previous books can also be a great marketing tool, while still ensuring the quality of the book. All of this makes public domain publishing an exciting new pathway for authors to explore, and one that can help to greatly reduce the cost of publishing.
2. No need to obtain copyright permissions
Using a public domain book eliminates the need to obtain copyright permissions because the book is no longer protected by copyright. This means that anyone can use, reformat, reprint and even sell the book without seeking permission from the original author or owner. In contrast, books that are not in the public domain may still be subject to copyright. This means that if the book is still protected by copyright, permission must be sought from the copyright holder in order to use the work in any way, including selling or reprinting it. Additionally, unpublished works may still have copyright protection for as long as 120 years after creation, even if the work has been published in another country prior to 1923. Furthermore, even if a work is in the public domain, it is still wise to double-check that the entire work is free to use, as it may be a derivative or compilation of other copyrighted material.
3. Greater creative freedom
Using a public domain book can increase creative freedom in a variety of ways. Firstly, you don’t need to worry about copyright infringement as the work is in the public domain and so you are free to remix, retell, or even rewrite the work. Secondly, you can differentiate your version of the work by translating, annotating, or illustrating it. This is especially useful when creating a collection of works as it allows you to build a unique bundle of products that includes some works that are not on the Kindle store yet. Thirdly, it enables you to create a unique and creative book cover that will make your work stand out from the crowd and serve as a marketing tool. Finally, if you have books you have written yourself, you can even use the same branding! This works best if you handpicked the books you publish based on your reader’s taste. By doing this, you are able to create a library for your readers that is related to your genre or main topic, which will be greatly appreciated by them.
4. Ability to re-edit the work as needed
The use of a public domain book allows for editing of the work as needed, as it gives authors the freedom to create their own version of the work with added annotations, illustrations, and translations. This is different from a copyrighted work, which restricts any changes to the original work and makes it difficult to create a unique version. By using a public domain book, authors can use their own creativity and expertise to create a unique version that is tailored to their target audience. For example, if an author wants to add additional illustrations or annotations to an existing work they can do so without the worry of infringing upon any copyrights. Additionally, authors can translate the work into different languages if they wish to make the work more accessible to a wider audience.
5. Potential to reach a larger audience
Using public domain books can be a great way for authors to reach a larger audience. Public domain books are books that have expired copyrights and are now available for anyone to use and publish. By republishing these books, authors can benefit from the existing readership of the original work. Additionally, by selecting books that are related to the genre or main topic of their own books, authors can create a cohesive library of works that will have greater appeal to their readers. Furthermore, republishing public domain books can also be used as a marketing tool, as the quality and originality of the cover design will help the book stand out from the crowd. By taking advantage of public domain books, authors can expand their reach and increase their potential for making a higher profit.
6. Opportunity to leverage the existing brand awareness of the work
Using public domain books to leverage existing brand awareness is a great way to ensure that your book stands out from the crowd. Public domain books are often associated with a certain style or genre, and by repurposing these works you can showcase your talent and create a unique product that your readers will appreciate. By using public domain books, you can also benefit from the existing brand recognition of the works, allowing you to quickly reach a larger audience with your book. Additionally, you can also save time and money by not having to go through the lengthy process of creating new content. By repurposing existing public domain books, you can quickly create a unique product that connects with your readers and gives them something to look forward to.
7. Ability to create new products and services from the public domain work
By using public domain books to supplement their own writing and publishing efforts, self-publishers can create a variety of products and services to increase their profits. By repurposing existing works within the public domain, they can republish and even enhance these books to create unique offerings that their readers may not have seen before. The benefits of using public domain books include being able to save time and money in creating content, as well as having the potential to set yourself up with more established works. Additionally, with public domain books, there is no need to worry about copyright issues, since the works are already free to use. With public domain books, self-publishers can create new products and services that are both cost-effective and profitable.
8. Potential to make greater profits
Using public domain books can help make greater profits by scaling efforts and increasing income through repurposing previously copyrighted material. By making an effort to create a quality product that provides value to the customer, and by creating an attractive and compelling cover, authors can create a steady stream of passive income. Royalties for public domain books are typically lower than those paid for original content, ranging from 20-35%, but a successful strategy could result in an author receiving 35 cents on a $.99 eBook sale. Additionally, there is an opportunity to increase profits by adding several public domain books to one’s library and improving existing versions of classics through cover design, simplifying or modernizing the content, adding relevant artwork, having it translated into another language, or creating a complimentary audiobook. Start-up costs for a home-based Amazon business are relatively low, and by coming out with a second book, authors can significantly increase their chances of profitability.
9. Ability to take advantage of new technologies
Using public domain books can help authors take advantage of new technologies, such as Kindle and Apple Books Store, which have increased the demand for classic works. By repurposing these existing works and offering them in a convenient digital format, authors can make money through sales on these platforms. Additionally, authors can benefit from additional sales on other online bookstores and expand their reach through digital marketing, copywriting, and social media promotion. Ultimately, public domain publishing offers authors an opportunity to repurpose existing works and make money in the process.
10. Opportunity to join a growing community of public domain publishers
Using public domain books is a great way to join a growing community of public domain publishers and increase their profits. With the majority of public domain books available for free, authors can use the available resources to create new books, repurpose existing works, or enhance, differentiate, and repurpose public domain books for Kindle publishing. This is possible due to the legal ability of republishing someone else’s work in this way, and many authors are using this method to generate royalty income for life. There are also resources available, such as the Public Domain Publishing Bible and Upcycling Public Domain, that authors can use to get started. Additionally, authors can use public domain books to create freebies to generate leads for their e-mail list, sell directly from their own website, make a Kindle book out of the content, and upload it to Barnes and Noble Nook. Overall, using public domain books is an exciting way to join a growing community of public domain publishers and increase their profits.
How to find and use public domain books?
Step 1: Download Article
Step 1: Look for public domain articles to use in your book. You can look for these on eBay, antique places, used bookstores or websites like Project Gutenberg.
Step 2: Once you have found the articles you want to use, download them and convert them into editable text using Adobe Acrobat or any OCR software.
Step 3: Do a light edit on the text to ensure the terminology is up-to-date. You may also want to include your own photo examples.
Step 4: Use the titles of the articles as chapter titles in your book.
Step 5: Add your own insight and wisdom to the book to add value.
Step 6: Publish the book on online stores such as Amazon and Apple Books.
Step 2: Decide what public domain books you are looking for
Step 1: Identify possible publishing platforms. There are a number of platforms that you can use to sell public domain books. The most popular ones include Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble Nook Press, Google Play, and Kobo Writing Life. Make sure to read the terms of service for each platform to see whether or not they allow you to sell public domain content.
Step 2: Obtain publishing requirements from vendors. Different platforms have different rules and requirements for publishing content, so make sure to read each site’s terms of service thoroughly. Some platforms may limit your royalties on public domain titles, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you start publishing.
Step 3: Determine the copyright status of the book. The easiest way to do this is to read the copyright page of the book. Generally, any books published prior to 1923 are automatically public domain, and most books between 1932 and 1964. If you need further assurance, you can search for the title in the database of the U.S. Copyright Office. Alternatively, you can also use Project Gutenberg to look for books without a copyright.
Step 4: Create your own copyright page. If you decide to publish a public domain book, it’s important to have a copyright page that shows that you created this particular edition. Your copyright page should include “Published by Your Name © 2017” and any other relevant copyright information.
Step 5: Upload the book to the platform. Once you have the book formatted and uploaded, you will need to include information about the book and choose a sales price. Most platforms will also ask you to mark “Public Domain” when uploading the book.
Step 3: Search online for publishers of public domain books
Step 1: Visit Project Gutenberg. The primary source for public domain books is Project Gutenberg. This website offers a wide range of books, all of which are in the public domain and can be used freely.
Step 2: Search for a particular title or subject. If you already know a book title or want to search by subject, then you can use the search box available on the Project Gutenberg website.
Step 3: Use the comprehensive list of public domain book sources. There are other sources of public domain books available on the internet, so if you cannot find what you are looking for then you should use the comprehensive list of public domain book sources. This list can be found by searching for “public domain book sources” in your favorite search engine.
Step 4: Look for back issues of magazines on eBay. eBay is a great resource for finding public domain magazine content. All you need to do is search for a topic such as photography, gardening, crafts, or basket-making and the word “magazine”. You will be presented with back issues of magazines organized by date.
Step 5: Visit antique stores and used bookstores. If you do not find what you are looking for on eBay, then you can also visit antique stores and used bookstores to look for public domain books.
Step 6: Check the copyright page of a book. To make sure that a book is in the public domain, you should check its copyright page. Generally, books published prior to 1923 are automatically public domain, as well as those published between 1932-1964.
Step 7: Check the U.S. Copyright Office. For further assurance, you can check the U.S. Copyright Office to make sure that the book is indeed in the public domain. A database search for the title can confirm its copyright status.
Step 8: Download public domain books from online resources. There are also many online projects that are transcribing public domain books and making them available on a wide range of reading devices. Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust, Internet Archive, and Standard Ebooks are some of the best sources for public domain books.
Step 9: Find hidden gems in antique stores and second-hand bookshops. If you want to get your hands on free books, then you should consider looking in antique stores and second-hand bookshops to find hidden gems. You may also find pdfs that can be turned into an ebook with a bit of work.
Step 4: Browse their catalogs and read customer reviews
Step 1: Find a public domain catalog online. There are a number of free online catalogs, such as LibriVox, Project Gutenberg, and Barnes & Noble, where you can browse and find public domain books. You can also use search engines to find public domain books.
Step 2: Read customer reviews. Once you have found a book, read customer reviews to get an insight into what other people think about it. This will help you to determine if it meets your needs and expectations.
Step 3: Download the book. Once you have found a book that meets your needs, download it and start reading. Most public domain books are available for free, so you won’t have to worry about spending money on them.
Step 4: Give the book a rating. After you have finished reading the book, it is recommended that you leave a rating or review to share your opinion with other readers. This will help other readers to decide whether to purchase or read the book.
Step 5: Check out the price and other criteria needed for eligibility
In order to determine whether a book is in the public domain, there are several criteria that need to be taken into account. Firstly, the author’s copyright must have expired. If the author has been deceased for more than 70 years in most countries, then their works enter the public domain. Secondly, if the work was published before 1923 in the United States, then it can be considered to be in the public domain. Additionally, works by the US Government are always in the public domain. Thirdly, for books to qualify for a 70% royalty when selling on Amazon KDP, the author must have added a substantial amount of original content to the public domain work, or provide a new translation. If these criteria are met, then the book can be considered to be in the public domain.
Step 6: Search for epub publishers that offer free or discounted plans
If you are looking to publish a public domain ebook, the best way to do so is to use a professional epub publishing platform. Gatekeeper Press provides a comprehensive suite of tools to make your epub files professional and attractive. Their experienced team can help you with formatting the ePub files, designing stunning cover art, and creating illustrations for your public domain book. With their assistance, you can maximize your profits and make your ebook stand out from the competition.
Additionally, you should also research the publishing requirements of the different vendors, so that you fully understand what they are expecting from your book. It is important to be aware that some vendors, like Kobo, will only pay you a 20% royalty for public domain titles. You should also check to see if a free version of your book already exists on sites like Amazon. If there is, be sure to make your book different and unique in some way, through additional features or content, in order to make it worth buying. By following these steps, you can find and use public domain ebooks to your advantage.
Step 7: Check out websites like Archive.org and The Internet Archive
Using websites like Archive.org and The Internet Archive to find and use public domain books is an easy way to access books that have no copyright. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:
Search for the book title or a search term related to the topic you are interested in.
Once you have found the book, make sure that you can get the full text of the book before you proceed.
Visit websites like Archive.org and The Internet Archive, which both contain huge digital repositories of free books.
Check out Project Gutenberg, which has over 60,000 free books available.
Visit bookstores and antique stores to find hidden gems that you can scan and turn into an ebook.
Refer to The University of Pennsylvania’s copyright catalog to make sure that the book you are looking for is not copyrighted.
Look for Hollywood movies based on public domain works so you can create an ebook and make money from it.
Following these steps will help you find and use public domain books with ease.
Step 8: Research alternative file formats like HTML, PDF and ePUB
If you are looking to create eBooks versions of public domain books in alternative file formats such as PDF, HTML and ePUB, you can do so by following a few steps. First, you will need to scan the contents of the book using an optical character recognition technology and create a PDF file. Once you have a PDF file, you can then use a smartphone converter app to convert it to an EPUB file.
When converting the book to an EPUB file, you will need to create a copyright page for your version of the book that identifies you as the creator and include the new date of publication. You will then have to adhere to the requirements of the publishing platform you choose to make sure you are compliant. For instance, Amazon requires that you provide 10 or more illustrations to the book, create a unique translation of the book or include annotations such as a study guide, a detailed biography, historical context or a literary critique. Once your EPUB file is formatted, upload the file and the relevant book details to the publishing platform, set a price and submit the book for publication.
In addition to these steps, you may need to research alternative file formats like HTML, PDF and ePUB. There are several websites, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which provide detailed instructions and guidance on researching and creating alternative file formats. You may also want to seek out professionals such as eBook developers, editors and publishers who specialize in creating eBooks to help you with the process. By researching the different file formats available and making sure you are compliant with the publishing platform’s requirements, you can easily create and sell public domain eBooks.
Step 9: Take note of any restrictions imposed on these books
When it comes to publishing public domain books, there are certain restrictions that must be taken into consideration. First, all books published prior to 1923 are automatically public domain, as are most books dated 1932-1964. To ensure that a book is indeed in the public domain, it is best to search the U.S. Copyright Office database. Additionally, a copyright page must be included in the book to show that it is a specific edition, and the book must be marked as public domain when uploading it to stores or aggregators.
Furthermore, when publishing a public domain book, it is important to add value in order to differentiate it from other versions of the book in the store. This can be done by including a biography of the author, additional research into the history of the book, original illustrations, annotations, commentaries, etc.
Step 10: Familiarize yourself with the types of books available in public domain
Bonus Step 11 : Read Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos before embarking on your search
Reading Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos can help one find and use public domain books because it provides an example of innovative montage techniques that can be borrowed from cinema to capture the fragmented lives of a colorful cast of characters in a series of overlapping vignettes. Furthermore, the novel highlights the struggle to become a part of a great, futuristic machine, before eventually being destroyed by it. Understanding this struggle can help readers to identify books that may have expired copyrights and are now in the public domain, allowing them to access and use these books without infringing on anyone’s copyright.
Tips on how to rewrite and publish your own public domain book
1. Research the public domain work
Step 1: Choose a public domain book to retell. You can find thousands of public domain books at GutenbergProject or by doing a Google search. Make sure you can access the full text of the book before you move forward.
Step 2: Research the public domain book’s copyright status. Works published before 1923 have no copyright protection and are part of the public domain. Works published between 1923-1963 without a copyright notice also have no copyright protection and are part of the public domain. Works published between 1923-1963 with a copyright notice but did not renew the copyright also have no copyright protection and are part of the public domain. Works published between 1923-1963 with a copyright notice and DID renew the copyright will have a copyright lasting 95 years after the publication date. Works published between 1964-1977 with a copyright notice will have the copyright automatically renewed for a second term. Works published between 1978-Present will have a copyright lasting for the life of the author plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation (whichever expires first).
Step 3: Check for current copyright status. Even if a work is in the public domain, you should make sure the entire work is free to use. If it’s a derivative work or compilation, parts of the work may be protected by copyright. To make sure the book is completely free to use, do your research and read the laws for yourself. Helpful links include TeachingCopyright.org, CopyLaw.com and the Cornel University Library. You can also find public domain books without a copyright at Project Gutenberg.
Step 4: Publish and Sell the book. Once you’ve done your research and confirmed the book is in the public domain, you can republish it as is or add your own material to create a new work. You can then publish and sell the book without getting permission or paying fees.
2. Add to the public domain work
Step 1: Determine if a work is in the public domain. Works enter the public domain for a variety of reasons, such as when the copyright has expired, the author has dedicated their work to the public domain, or the work was never eligible for copyright protection.
Step 2: Check the copyright. If the work is actually in the public domain, there is usually no copyright protection. However, if it is a derivative work or a compilation, then some parts of the work may still be protected by copyright.
Step 3: Create your own version of the work. You can add to it, edit it, or even rewrite it entirely. However, it is important to make it clear that it is a rewrite, so that you do not face any backlash for plagiarism.
Step 4: Create a copyright page. Even if the work is in the public domain, it is still a good idea to create a copyright page for your version of the work, so that you can show that it is a unique edition. Include all relevant copyright information, such as for the cover and illustrator.
Step 5: Publish the work. You can publish the work in various ways, such as on your website, on Kindle, or on Barnes and Noble Nook. When uploading the book to the system, make sure to mark it as “public domain”.
3. Rewrite the public domain work
Step 1: Check if the work you want to rewrite is in the public domain. This means that it is no longer subject to copyright protection. If it is in the public domain, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Make sure to clearly indicate that your rewrite is just that—a rewrite. This will help prevent any potential allegations of plagiarism.
Step 3: Research the work you are rewriting. Understand the original author’s style and themes, and make sure that you are creating something that honors the original work while bringing something new to the table.
Step 4: Begin the actual rewrite process. Consider what elements you want to keep, what you want to change, and how you want to structure the work.
Step 5: As you write, consider how best to preserve the original work’s spirit and energy. This may include referencing characters, settings, or quotes from the original work.
Step 6: Once you have a finished draft, revise and edit your work until you are completely satisfied with it.
Step 7: Publish your work online or in print. Make sure to credit the original author when you do so. This is not only a sign of respect, but also a way to avoid any potential legal issues.
4. Add new content to the public domain work
Step 1: Identify an out-of-copyright work in the public domain. This can be a book, magazine, newspaper, or any other work that is no longer protected by copyright.
Step 2: Read the work thoroughly, and identify areas where you can add additional content. This could include illustrations, additional information, or any other content you think could be beneficial.
Step 3: Create a copyright page for your new edition. This should include the phrase “Published by Your Name © 2017” as well as copyright information for any content you’ve added, such as illustrations.
Step 4: Update the content of the work for modern readers. This could include simplifying the wording, modernizing the story, or adding supplemental worksheets or materials.
Step 5: Create a new cover for the work, or update any existing cover to reflect the modifications.
Step 6: Upload the work to any digital platforms you wish to publish it on. When uploading to stores and aggregators, remember to mark it as ‘Public Domain’.
Step 7: Publish the book with any additional content you’ve added, ensuring the copyright page is accurate and up-to-date.
5. Give credit to the original author
If you are rewriting and publishing a public domain book, you should always give credit to the original author. Doing so is both ethically and legally important, as this ensures that you are not plagiarizing someone else’s work. To give credit to the original author when rewriting and publishing a public domain book, you should follow these steps:
Check the date of publication of the original source to ensure that it is indeed in the public domain.
When citing the original author, make sure to include their full name and the date of publication on the copyright page of your book.
If possible, include a link to the original work in the text of your book.
If you are publishing the book in an e-book format, include a link to the original source in the metadata.
Make sure to mention the original author in any promotional material for the book.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you are giving credit to the original author when rewriting and publishing a public domain book, while also avoiding any potential legal issues.
6. Publish the work under the public domain
Step 1: Determine if the work you want to publish is in the public domain. In the US, any work published before 1923 is in the public domain, and for works published in 1923 or later, make sure that the copyright was not renewed.
Step 2: Format the book as you wish. You are free to make any changes or reformat the book as you wish.
Step 3: Create a copyright page. Include information such as “Published by Your Name” and the year. If you have a cover or illustrations, include their copyright information as well.
Step 4: Mark the work as “Public Domain” when uploading the book to any online stores. This will help speed up the approval process.
Step 5: Make sure to check the copyright laws in other countries. In the UK, for example, work enters the public domain 70 years after the author’s death.
Step 6: Ensure that the stores you are syndicating the book to are eligible. Amazon will let you know which stores the work is eligible for when you input the author and other details. This will help to protect you from copyright infringement.
Step 7: Publish and promote your book. Congratulations! You are now free to publish and promote your public domain work.
7. Market the public domain work
Step 1: Differentiate Your Book
The first step to marketing a public domain work is to differentiate your book from others in the store with the same title. Amazon encourages this by requiring you to add value to set your book apart from the rest. You can do this by adding a biography of the author, additional research into the history of the book, original illustrations, annotations, commentaries, or a creative book cover.
Step 2: Understand Copyright Laws
Before you start marketing your public domain work, you should understand copyright laws. In the US, any book published before 1923 is considered to be in the public domain. Books published in 1923 or later are in the public domain if the copyright was not renewed.
Step 3: Offer Value
When you market a public domain work, you need to offer value that other free versions of the book do not. You can do this by providing additional research, illustrations, annotations, or commentaries. This will help you stand out from the crowd of bad quality, mass produced PD books.
Step 4: Create a Website
Next, you should create a website to promote your public domain work. This website should contain information about the book, including the cover, synopsis, reviews, and any other relevant information. You should also include links to where people can purchase the book, such as your own website, Amazon, or other online retailers.
Step 5: Use Social Media
You should also promote your public domain work on social media. Post regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to draw attention to your book. You can even use the same branding for books you have written yourself.
Step 6: Make Freebies
Finally, you should consider making freebies to generate leads for your e-mail list. You can use excerpts from the public domain work or create other related content, such as a guide on the author or era in which the work was written. This will help you generate interest in your book and encourage people to purchase it.
8. Collect royalties for the public domain work
Step 1: Identify a public domain work to republish. This can be a classic book, artwork, or other media.
Step 2: Research copyright laws in the countries you plan to publish the work. This will help you ensure you are not infringing upon any copyrights.
Step 3: Create a copyright page for your edition of the work. Include the year and “Published by Your Name”.
Step 4: Design your cover art. Make sure the cover art is compelling and attractive to potential customers.
Step 5: Publish the work on the various platforms you wish to use. When uploading the book to the systems, mark “Public Domain”.
Step 6: Calculate your royalty rate. Most publishing platforms pay royalties between 20-35% for public domain works.
Step 7: Create additional income streams by improving an existing version of a classic. This can include changing the cover design, simplifying or modernizing the content, adding relevant artwork, having it translated into another language, or creating a complimentary audiobook.
Step 8: Syndicate the work to multiple stores. Amazon will let you know which stores the work is eligible for.
Step 9: Collect your royalties and enjoy a steady stream of passive income.
What is a public domain book?
A public domain book is one that is no longer under copyright protection. This means that it can be used freely, reprinted, reformatted, and sold without the need for permission or paying fees. It can also be used as inspiration for creating new works, such as movies and translations. Books may enter the public domain after a certain period of time or due to the death of their author or if the copyright was not renewed. Examples of public domain books include works by Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Dostoevsky.
What are the rules for rewriting, publishing and selling public domain books?
Step 1: Check the book’s copyright status. Any books published before 1923 are in the public domain and can be used freely without any copyright restrictions. Books published in 1923 or later are in the public domain if the copyright was not renewed.
Step 2: Create a copyright page for your edition. Include a statement that identifies you as the publisher, such as “Published by Your Name ̸ 2017.” If the book includes a cover or illustrations, make sure to include the appropriate copyright information as well.
Step 3: Make sure to mark “Public Domain” when uploading your book to stores and aggregators. This won’t affect your rights as the publisher, but will speed up the approval process.
Step 4: Rewrite, republish and/or sell the book as you like. You can make changes to the text, create a new cover, add illustrations, etc. You can also translate it into other languages, create an audiobook, write a screenplay based on the book, etc.
Step 5: Protect your own rights as the publisher of the book. Include a copyright notice on the new edition and make sure to follow all relevant intellectual property laws.
What is the difference between a public domain work and a copyright work?
The primary difference between a public domain work and a copyright work is the degree of proprietary ownership over the work. Copyrighted works are protected intellectual property and are subject to certain restrictions on their use, while public domain works are not protected by copyright and can be used freely by anyone without permission.
Copyrighted works are defined as works of authorship, both published and unpublished, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other creative works, for which copyright protection is secured for a limited time. For example, any works published after 1923 (or works published between 1923-1963 that had a copyright notice and were renewed) are under copyright protection. This means that the author or copyright holder of the work has exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, or make derivative works of the work.
Public domain works, on the other hand, are works that are not covered by copyright, either because copyright protection has expired or because the work was never eligible for copyright in the first place. For example, works published before 1923 in the United States are in the public domain and can be used freely without permission. The same is true for works published between 1923-1963 without a valid copyright notice, as well as works that have been dedicated to the public domain by their authors.
In summary, public domain works are not protected by copyright and can be used freely without permission, while copyrighted works are protected and cannot be used without permission from the copyright holder.
How can I tell if a work is in the public domain?
The first step in determining if a work is in the public domain is to read its copyright page. If it was published before 1923, it is automatically considered to be in the public domain and if it was published between 1932 and 1964, it is likely to be in the public domain. If you are still uncertain, you can search the U.S. Copyright Office to confirm its copyright status.
Works may enter the public domain for several reasons. The work may have never been eligible for copyright in the first place; the copyright may have expired, it may have been published before 1989 without a valid copyright notice, or the work’s author may have dedicated the work to the public domain. To make sure the entire work is free to use, even if it is a derivative work or compilation, you should check to ensure that all parts of the work are in the public domain.
As a precaution, you should always make sure that the work you are using is actually in the public domain before going ahead with any new venture. To be safe, you may want to stick with works that are very old, as their copyright would have expired long ago. It is important to note that some works, such as those by J.R.R. Tolkien and Disney films, are still under copyright protection and should not be used without the appropriate permissions.
What are the legal requirements for publishing a public domain book?
What are the legal requirements for publishing a public domain book? [Step-by-step instructions]
Step 1: Check what platforms you can publish and sell on. Each platform has different requirements and these change all the time, so you need to research what you need to do for each platform.
Step 2: Create your eBook. Once you know where you can sell your book, you need to format it for upload.
Step 3: Publish and sell your book. Once you have the right format and have an account on the platform you want to use, you can upload your book. Make sure to set a competitive price.
Step 4: Create a copyright page. Even though the book is public domain, you still need to include a copyright page to show that you created this edition. On the page, include your name and the year of publication, and any copyright information for the cover and illustrations, if applicable.
Step 5: Mark ‘Public domain’. When uploading your book to the platform, make sure to mark ‘Public domain’ to speed up the approval process.
How can I protect my material when publishing a public domain book?
When publishing a public domain book, it is important to protect your material. Here are the steps to follow to ensure your material is protected:
Create a copyright page that includes “Published by Your Name © 2017”. If you are using a cover and/or illustrations, make sure to include the copyright information of the creator.
When uploading the book to an online store or aggregator, make sure to mark “Public domain”. This will ensure that your rights are not affected, but will speed up the approval process.
Format your book for upload. This may include adding illustrations or a study guide if necessary.
When creating an eBook, scan the book’s contents using an optical character recognition technology, and create a PDF file. Then, use a smartphone converter app to convert the PDF to an EPUB file.
Set a competitive price for your book.
By following these steps, you can protect your material when publishing a public domain book.
How can I find public domain material to use in my book?
Finding public domain material to use in your book can be a great way to make writing a book easier and more efficient. Here are the steps to find material that is in the public domain:
Start by visiting Project Gutenberg. This is a website full of books and other documents that are in the public domain. You can also use a comprehensive list of public domain book sources to find what you’re looking for.
Do a Google search using a title you’re already familiar with or a search term for a subject you’re interested in. Make sure you’re able to get the full text of the book before you go any further.
Consider using magazines as a source of public domain material. 99.4% of all the magazines that were published before 1964 are in the public domain. This can be a great source for nice, short, and succinct articles.
Determine how you will use the public domain material. You could use it to make a freebie to generate leads for your e-mail list, to sell directly from your own website, to make a Kindle book, or to upload it to Barnes and Noble Nook.
Following these steps will help you find public domain material to use in your book. Be creative in how you use the material, and you’ll be able to create a unique and valuable book.
How do I determine the life of the author and the date of publication of the book?
Step 1: Read the copyright page of the book to see when it was published. All books published prior to 1923 are automatically public domain and most books dated 1932-1964 are also public domain unless they have been renewed.
Step 2: Use the U.S. Copyright Office to search the title to confirm its copyright status.
Step 3: To determine when a book falls into public domain, calculate the death of the last author (including the translator and illustrator if applicable) to see how many years have passed since then. In most countries, works become public domain 50 or 70 years after the last author’s death.
Step 4: Be aware that translations and adaptations of public domain works may still be copyrighted, so check the copyright page of the book to see if any such works are credited.
Step 5: When publishing a public domain book on Amazon, mark ‘Public Domain’ when uploading the book to their system.
Step 6: If the book was published after 1923 and has been renewed, use the U.S. Copyright Office to search the title to confirm its copyright status and to find out the life of the author and the date of publication.
How much royalty can I expect to receive when publishing a public domain book?
When selling public domain books, you can expect to receive a royalty of 20%-35% for each sale. This is significantly lower than the royalties typically paid for original content. However, with a little hard work and imagination, you can still create a fairly lucrative side hustle by repurposing classic works. Be sure to create a quality product that provides value to the customer, such as fresh cover art or modernizing the content. Additionally, scale your effort by adding several public domain books to your library. With the right titles and promotion, you can make anywhere from $100-$200 per month up to thousands of dollars.
Are there any famous public domain works, such as The Great Gatsby and Anne of Green Gables?
Yes, there are several famous public domain works, such as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was published in 1925 and Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, which was originally published in 1908. These works are now in the public domain and are free to use, adapt, and share.