Use the public domain to build an internet business

Use the public domain to build an internet business

Finding appropriate works in the public domain is the key to success in using the public domain to help you build an internet business

One of the best places to start is

This is an online bookstore that also sells second hand / old books through a variety of bookstores across the world.

For this example we’re looking for a book that was published in the USA before 1923.

To start with click on ‘books’ under the advanced search box on the left of the site and you’ll be taken to a page where you can enter more search details.

Next search under ‘subject’ for the niche you are looking at and enter 1923 in the ‘before’ box; this will ensure the results will only contain books published prior to 1923.

Once the results have been returned work down the list looking for a book that you ‘feel’ is most suited to your niche and what you’re looking to sell.

The only downside is that a lot of the book descriptions are relevant to the condition of the book and not what the book covers so you’ll have to use your own judgement in many cases.

The positive is that most of the books start from a few of dollars upwards, therefore it usually makes sense to buy a couple and choose the best when they arrive.

Here’s an example:

If you search “golf” before 1923 Alibris returns a number of results with books starting from $2. Once you’ve chosen your books click on checkout and finish the order.

At this point you can relax and wait for the books to arrive.

When the books arrive I recommend you read them to see which ones will appeal to your niche market best. You may find that they are all relevant and if so you have several books to sell!

Once you’ve chosen your book the next step is to turn it into an electronic document you can edit before you turn it into a PDF to sell.

Here are the options available to you:

Type it out yourself (not recommended!)

Have someone type it for you or do it yourself.

Scan it yourself.

Use a scanning firm

The only problem with a scanning firm is that in most cases they will have to cut the book from it’s spine to enable them to scan the pages.

If you are not a book lover then this won’t be a problem, however, there are a number of books that I want to keep and it’s these that I have had typed.

Once the books are in electronic format you can then edit as you see fit. I do recommend adding a forward to each book.

This serves 2 purposes

It acts as an introduction to the book

I can add my copyright to the forward page

You can’t simply take a public domain book and copyright it without making any significant changes, however, you should take steps to warn people off simply taking your book and reselling it.

Adding in a forward or additional pages ‘personalises’ the work to you, therefore, if someone else wanted to sell your book they’d have to go through and ‘strip’ out your additional pages so it returns to it’s original format.

After you’ve added in a forword page and any additional information, have the word document turned into a PDF and you’re ready to upload it to the web for selling.

The Website

A simple website is all you need to sell a Public Domain eBook coupled with a download page that your customers will be directed to once their credit card has been processed.

You can sell eBooks worldwide using clickbank ( to process credit card payments. Although they do charge 7.5% and $1 per sale it is still very worth while as it’s easy to set up and monitor.

Once you have your book and site set up you can start driving people to your website using various traffic techniques.

I recommend you have a follow up process to your ebook buyers and prospects that offers additional products that are either your own or affiliate products to bring in further profits for you.

This has been a world wind tour on how to use public domain and I’ve only just scratched the surface. You can also use books published in the USA between 1923 and 1963 as long as their copyright wasn’t renewed in the 28th year. Research shows that upto 85% of books in the USA, within this time frame, never renewed their copyright.

As well as using public domain works for ebooks you can also use the information to create additional products and derivative works such as: –

Hard copy books
Audio tapes and CD’s
Membership sites
Book of the month style sites
And more

Its up to you how use use the public domain but if you think outside the box you will come up with lots of different ways you can use the public domain to help build an internet business.

Click Here if you would like some help building your own public domain based business

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