Book Marketing for Self-Publishing Authors

Home / Book Publishing / How to Publish Public Domain Books and Why You Should

How to Publish Public Domain Books and Why You Should

We all know it’s wrong to plagiarize someone else’s work. Ever since High School English, we’ve been taught that copying is bad and in professional cases can lead to a cease-and-desist letter if you’re lucky, and a lawsuit if you’re not.

But what if I told you there’s a whole wealth of material out there that you can use, you won’t get sued, you won’t have to pay anything, and you can make money doing it. This allows you to diversify your income so you can focus on writing more books .

I’m talking about public domain content. Now, doing this well takes a lot more than just selecting public domain works and publishing. There are guidelines to follow, and certain restrictions to understand.

Luckily, I've got all that covered in this article.

Table of contents

Disclaimer: Kindlepreneur is not a legal entity and cannot give legal advice. Before publishing a public domain title, make sure to do your research to make sure it is public domain, or consult a lawyer. Also as a heads up, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, but this costs you nothing extra and every bit of money we make from that goes into the coffee fund.

What is a Public Domain Book?

A public domain book is a book that has no copyright. It was either created without a copyright license, or the copyright has expired. Most countries have a copyright that protects the book for 70 years following the death of the authors.

When a book no longer has a copyright, it can be copied, sold, adapted, etc. by anyone who so chooses.

Copyright law can be complicated , and it varies from one country to another. That said, copyright law for written content tends to follow a few easy-to-remember rules.

Originally, copyright in the U.S. lasted for 28 years after the work was written, and an author had the opportunity to renew that copyright for another 28 years. 

In 1978, that law was amended to 75 years or the life of the author plus 50 years. In 1998 this was further extended to 95 years after publication or the life of the author plus 70 years.

Basically, if I die tomorrow, you’ll be able to use my books in 2091. 

What this means is that anything published 95 years ago is fair game. As of this writing, that means anything published before January 1, 1926 is public domain in the United States. That date shifts at the beginning of every year.

There are some books published after 1925 that are also in the public domain, if the publishers did not extend the copyright after the initial 28 year period. But proof of the public domain status of these books is sometimes hard to find, and you will need it in order to publish on a platform like Amazon.

Every country has their own rules for the expiration of copyright, and you’ll want to check the individual copyright laws before publishing in any country.

That said, most countries go by the “life plus 70 years” rule. 

But here’s where it gets complicated. What happens when your book is public domain in one country and not another?

This can happen if you have an author who published a work before 1926, but died after 1951. In that case, the copyright would extend for most countries until after 70 years past the author’s death, but not in the United States if the work was published before 1926.

In short, you need to do your research. Not all books will be publishable in all countries.

Once a book has entered public domain status, you can do anything you want with it. You can:

Make derivative works: These are works you produce that are inspired or derived from public domain content. This is the equivalent of Disney taking fairy tales, turning them into animated films, and running them through their merchandise machine. Derivative works are great because you can copyright what you create. So while Pride and Prejudice is public domain, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not.

Copy the language directly: When something is public domain, you can quote from and use the language in whatever way you choose.

Sell your own copies: You can even take the entire public domain book, make copies and sell it as is, no questions asked. 

There are basically no restrictions when it comes to your use of fully public domain material.

Note: while we’re speaking specifically about books and published material here, the same is generally true of art, music, and other media as well.

Amazon’s Restrictions on Public Domain Publishing

Even though you can legally do anything you want with public domain books, Amazon does have some additional restrictions for those who wish to publish these books online using Kindle Direct Publishing.

Amazon’s policy officially states:

“To provide a better customer experience, we don't publish undifferentiated versions of public domain titles if a free version is available in our store. Differentiated works are unique.”

This means that for any public domain work that is freely available in the Amazon store or online (which is a sizeable amount of content), then you can’t simply copy and paste that into a Word document and expect to sell it on the Kindle store.

Note: keep in mind that this is only true of the Kindle store. If you publish a paperback book using KDP Print, that does not have the same restrictions. However, you will still need to prove that the book is in the public domain .

So how do we “differentiate” enough to be considered unique? Amazon provides three different options. 

When you upload a book to KDP, keep in mind that you will want to include its unique qualifier in the title. Example: “Pride and Prejudice [Illustrated]”

There are a number of techniques that Amazon specifically doesn’t consider unique. These include:

Collections are one popular way of presenting public domain content in order to add value to the reader. However, while it might be nice to be able to buy the complete works of Jane Austen, doing so will not be considered “unique” in Amazon’s eyes.

The short answer to this is yes and no.

You can copyright any unique contributions to your specific version of public domain content. For example, you can copyright any original illustrations that you created for the story. 

However, you cannot copyright anything that was previously in the public domain. In the opening of your copy, you might want to include a copyright disclaimer such as:

“Pride and Prejudice is in the public domain. All original additions, including illustrations and chapter summaries, are copyright 2021….”

Step 1 : Finding Public Domain Material

So you’ve finally decided you want to try your hand at publishing your own public domain books, maybe because you think you can do better than a lot of other publishers out there, or because you simply want to make them your own.

But where do you even find something to publish?

There are a number of terrific resources out there that provide public domain content. Consider the following:

But how do you even know what you want to publish in the first place? There are 60K publishable works on Project Gutenberg alone, and none of us can possibly publish it all.

Chances are you probably already have something you’re interested in. Start there. Sometimes asking yourself what you’d like to see is the best way to go. Because if it’s something you would be interested in, chances are someone else feels the same way.

You can also look at upcoming films based on public domain books to see what might be popular in the future. 

Pro Tip: In my experience, publishing public domain books that are already very popular often result in lower sales because people can get it from more established sources. On the flip side, publishing something too obscure can have the same effect. Look for books that have potential audiences but not too many versions on Amazon, there’s a sweet spot to shoot for there. That said, if you provide enough value to the reader it doesn’t matter how popular the public domain book already is. You can still do it, but you will have a lot more competition.

Once you have a text in mind, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 2 : Differentiate to Add Value

This is the part where you make your freely available book unique. Not only is this required by Amazon, but it’s a good idea for you. Since everyone is capable of publishing the same book, the differentiation you add is what will set it apart.

As mentioned above, you have to differentiate either by translating, annotating, or illustrating the public domain title.

We recommend either annotating or illustration the work. But here are a few specific ideas to do so:

This is just a list of ideas. Just remember that is must align with Amazon's guidelines to be translated, annotated, or illustrated to qualify.

Collections are another great way to add value. Even though a collection alone will not be considered unique by Amazon, it’s still a great way to entice readers. Add some annotations or illustrations and you’ve got a winner.

Note: remember that you want to add value for the reader. While slapping together some half-hearted summaries or illustrations that look like a child drew them is technically within Amazon’s terms, they will likely lead to bad reviews.

Step 3 : Format Using Atticus

Most public domain texts that you can get online will be formatted for HTML or .txt, which means they look horrible if converted to an ebook or PDF. A little formatting is necessary.

There are a lot of formatting tools out there, but none make this process easier than Atticus .

The affordable package comes with every tool you need for beautiful public domain books, including:

Here is how you format a public domain book in Atticus:

It's a simple and easy process, and can take less than 30 minutes for your standard public domain book.

Atticus is the all-purpose solution for people who want to format a lot of public domain books in a quick and efficient way. And Atticus is the only one that provides all the solutions authors need on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Chromebooks.

Step 4 : Develop Your Cover

A cover is another area where you can really set your book apart from the rest. 

In this, we recommend taking the same approach as you would any book: understand the genre and design accordingly.

What this grants is the opportunity to take an old book and “update” it from a design perspective for modern audiences.

If you have design skills, you can do this yourself. But if not, we recommend hiring someone to create your cover.

Since too many covers can hurt your wallet, one of the strategies we recommend for cutting down on the expense is to create a templated cover. 

With a template and minimal skills in Photoshop , Canva , or similar software, all you need do is swap out a stock photo or two and change the title. A template has the added benefit of branding each of the public domain texts you want to sell, giving you a consistent look. 

This won’t work all the time. Certain genres will require different looks. I wouldn’t use the same template for Pride and Prejudice as I would for Frankenstein , for example. But this should give you a general idea of what to look for. Covers don’t have to break the bank in order to be quality.

Some great places to get covers include:

See our Cover Design section for more information on how to create a quality cover.

Step 5 : Launch Your Public Domain Book

Once you have your book, you’ve differentiated it, formatted it, and added a sweet cover, you’re ready to publish.

The publishing process is virtually identical to publishing a regular book on KDP, with one small exception. During the process, you’ll see this come up:

Select “This is a public domain work” and then proceed normally from there. See our Book Publishing area for more on this process. 

Pro Tip: when selecting your price, you’ll notice that only the 35% royalty option is available. That’s because Amazon doesn’t provide the 70% option for public domain books. That is why we recommend pricing at $.99 in order to maximize the number of sales and provide the most value to the reader. Chances are most of the competition will be doing the same.

Once your book is submitted, you will likely receive an email from Amazon asking you for proof that your book is in the public domain. This will typically require the author and/or translator’s name and date of death. For very old works (aka older than 1900) this is usually not an issue, but be careful of newer translations, authors that died less than 70 years ago, or rare instances where the author’s date of death is unknown. While you still have a chance of publishing these texts if they are truly in the public domain, it’s possibly you might have some back and forth with Amazon until they’re convinced. 

In some instances, you may need to adjust small details of your release, as Amazon takes the legality of what they publish very seriously.

Case Study: Letters to Cicero

In preparation for the launch of Atticus, we actually took a public domain text, formatted, and made it live on Amazon. And guess what? With no marketing whatsoever, the text already had several sales within just a few days of the publication date. Within a few more months it had already recouped the cost of Atticus, and that's just with 3 books and no marketing. Imagine what would happen if you had a whole library of public domain books?

If you're worried about the price, don't be. Not only is Atticus nearly half the price of Vellum, but you can easily make the money back by publishing a few public domain books using Atticus.

As someone who has published a handful of public domain titles (formatted in Atticus), I can tell you that I easily make the price of Atticus back monthly with my own library of public domain books. In my case, and in the case of Cicero's books that we published, it took zero marketing to make those sales.

That could be you.

The Bottom Line: Publishing Public Domain Content

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a classic book in possession of a good audience, must be in want of a publisher. -See what I did there?

For many authors, publishing public domain content is yet another way to diversify income and create something fun on the side.

While public domain publishing is unlikely to provide you with enough cash to retire, it is true that there are literally tens of thousands of books you could publish. There is still some work involved in preparing these texts for publishing, but the hardest step (that of writing the actual book) has already been done. 

And even if you don't make a ton of cash from this, there's a good chance you might make enough to pay back what you spent on Atticus , and maybe even some book covers!

Jason Hamilton

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

Related Posts

How to write a book proposal in 2023+ free template, how to create a professional author page in amazon author central, pricing ebooks: how to choose your price [+ a tool to help], sell more books on amazon, amazon kindle rankings e-book.

Learn how to rank your Kindle book #1 on Amazon with our collection of time-tested tips and tricks.

Join the community

Join 111,585 other authors who receive weekly emails from us to help them make more money selling books.

Gatekeeper Press

Reprinting and Selling Public Domain Books: What to Know

by Gatekeeper Press | Sep 18, 2020 | Blog , Making Money

sell public domain books

Table of Contents

In recent years, the ideas of repurposing vintage materials—think recycled barn wood or vintage clothing—and reinventing or rebranding ourselves have taken root. Indeed, the terms “repurpose” and “rebrand” are now firmly embedded in modern-day lexicon. After all, maximizing an item’s use or discovering a new career path is about finding renewed purpose.

As an author, consider public domain publishing a new avenue to explore, a rebranding of sorts. Publishing public domain books offer an opportunity to recycle or repurpose existing works, such as the classics, while adding a new dimension to your writing career.

That’s right—an author can benefit financially from publishing public domain books, or those books with expired copyrights. Learn how to profit from public domain publishing by repurposing those works that are legally up for grabs.

How Does Public Domain Work?

Once a book is copyrighted, its contents, or the intellectual property, is protected by law until 70 years after the death of the author. After this point in time, the book—in most cases, with some exceptions—becomes fair game. This means that any part or all of the book’s content is legally available to be published by anyone who desires to do so. Any book published prior to 1923 is available, as these works are automatically considered within the public domain. Further, about 90% of books published between 1923-1964 are also public domain because the copyright holders failed to extend their copyrights.

There are several ways an author can repurpose a work that is no longer off-limits. In fact, writers are limited only by their imaginations as to the possibilities of publishing public domain books. Some repurposing ideas to consider include:

There are limitless ideas for novel ways to reprint public domain books.

Where to Find Public Domain Books to Reprint

When undertaking this new venture of selling public domain books, you may be wondering how to determine which books have expired copyrights. After all, you surely don’t want to go to the expense of having a book translated or hiring an artist to create illustrations for a book only to learn that it is still under copyright protection.

The first step in determining if a book is public domain is to simply read its copyright page. As noted above, all books published prior to 1923 are automatically public domain and most books dated 1932-1964. If you want further assurance, the best way to learn whether a book is public domain is through the U.S. Copyright Office . There you can undertake a database search for the title to confirm its copyright status.

How to Publish Public Domain Books

By now, you may be wondering, “How can I reprint public domain books?” You want to know how to navigate the nuts and bolts of the process, right?

Note that Amazon will not accept the title if there is already a free version of the public domain book on its Kindle platform.

Can You Profit from Public Domain?

The whole purpose of repurposing previously copyrighted material is to earn additional income. When selling public domain books, you can indeed create a steady stream of passive income, as long as you have made an effort to create a quality product that provides value to the customer. If you have decided to just change the book cover, then be sure that your cover art is compelling. For sure, a fresh new cover can attract renewed interest in a once forgotten old classic.

Understand that profits will not be calculated according to the same royalty scale as an originally authored eBook or print-on-demand book. Each publishing platform has its royalty program for publishing public domain books, which is typically lower than the royalty paid for original content. In most cases, royalties paid in this category range from 20%-35%.

For example, an author of a public domain eBook might receive 35 cents on a $.99 eBook sale. While this doesn’t seem like much reward for your efforts, there are ways to create a fairly lucrative side hustle with some hard work and a little imagination. Brainstorm ways to improve an existing version of a classic, either by changing the cover design, simplifying or modernizing the content, adding relevant artwork, having it translated into another language, or creating a complementary audiobook. Now scale this effort, and increase income by adding several public domain classic books in your library.

Find Out More About How to Republish and What Comes After

Public domain publishing offers an exciting new pathway for authors to explore. To go as smoothly as possible, you will need the guidance of publishing pros to help with formatting the EPUB files , designing amazing cover art , or creating illustrations for your version of the public domain book. Put Gatekeeper Press in your corner to maximize your profits. Contact us today!

Free Consultation

publishing books in the public domain

Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 181 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow , the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Writing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for the craft of professional writing, including fiction, non-fiction, technical, scholarly, and commercial writing. It only takes a minute to sign up.

Q&A for work

Connect and share knowledge within a single location that is structured and easy to search.

How to publish public domain books?

It is known that the copyright permission is not needed for old books (usually 70 years after the author's death), because the copyright has been expired. However, I am not sure how easy a public domain book can be published.

Consider re-publishing a book by Shakespeare. Since it is in public domain, this means that any publisher can re-publish it?

And if not, who is responsible for any hidden copyright?

How to check that we can publish a title legally? and how to be sure that there is no copyright restriction for publishing it?

For recent books, we need to ask the original publisher or the author; but for the case of Shakespeare's works, many publishers have re-published it. It is the case for most of old books.

Googlebot's user avatar

2 Answers 2

One of the first things you can do is to check with the US Copyright Service and use their searchable database. In a lot of cases, the copyright may have been passed on to someone else as part of an inheritance, or it may have been sold to someone else. Using this database to search is a good first step. Keep in mind that the original author may not be the person who renewed the copyright. It may have been renewed by an heir, an estate, or a publisher, depending on whether or not the rights were transferred.

Something else you may need to be cautious about is whether or not something was later included in a collection of works which might have its own copyright. This is especially true with things like short stories, poems, cookbooks, and other smaller works. While the author or heirs may not have renewed the copyright on the individual work, they might have a copyright on that smaller work as part of a larger collection.

As an example, if you published a short story as a chapbook in 1970, it would be subject to copyright for 28 years, until 1998. However, if you took that same story and included it in a short story collection with some of your other stories in 1976, then the copyright for all stories within that collection would last until 2004. Even worse, if the short story collection was published in 1978 (which is when copyright laws changed), then each story would be protected until 70 years after the death of the author(s). (I actually experienced a situation like this with a story in which I was considering writing a derivation.)

You also need to keep in mind how you are going to go about publishing. If you are planning to use something like Kindle Direct Publishing to self-publish as an e-book, then you need to be aware of the limitations imposed by Amazon . Other e-book publishers have specific guidelines for public domain books as well, and some are even stricter. The most basic guidlines for Kindle are that the new work has to be differentiated in one of the following ways:

• (Translated) - A unique translation • (Annotated) - Contains annotations (unique, hand-crafted additional content including study guides, literary critiques, detailed biographies, or detailed historical context) • (Illustrated) - Includes 10 or more unique illustrations relevant to the book Books that meet this criteria must include (Translated), (Annotated), or (Illustrated) in the title field.

Something else to keep in mind is that certain characters are protected either by Trademark or other legal means. As an example, even though the original Sherlock Holmes stories are now considered to be in the public domain, the rights to the use of the character are still protected by the author's estate and cannot be used without their permission. This is true for countless other major literary characters as well.

Community's user avatar

The public domain is the public domain...there is no "hidden copyright" if the text is actually in the public domain. So, yes, anyone can republish Shakespeare.

Note, though, that with something like Shakespeare you have to be careful to use a text that is actually in the public domain; in particular, you can't use notes and commentary that are not old enough (and usually the aren't).

Similarly, translations are considered original work, so you cant use a translation unless it is no longer covered by copyright (which is why you see so many publications of Dryden's translation of Dante, for example).

As far as determining whether something is still under copyright, it is somewhat complicated (the "death + 70" rule is just one of many and is only applicable in some cases). A copyright flowchart such as this one: can be of help.

Chris's user avatar

Your Answer

Sign up or log in, post as a guest.

Required, but never shown

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged publishing legal copyright or ask your own question .

Hot Network Questions

publishing books in the public domain

Your privacy

By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree Stack Exchange can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our Cookie Policy .

The Ultimate Guide to New Public Domain Books

Join Discovery, the new community for book lovers

Trust book recommendations from real people, not robots 🤓

Blog – Posted on Monday, Jan 11

The ultimate guide to new public domain books.

The Ultimate Guide to New Public Domain Books

We bet our hats that when the clocks struck twelve on New Year’s Eve you were adding “read more classic books” to your list of New Year’s resolutions. If not, maybe you should’ve been. Because as luck would have it, at that very moment, a new stack of public domain books suddenly became available to read. Essentially, this means that previously copyrighted classic works of literature can now be yours for free! But let’s dig a little deeper.

What are public domain books?

When a book has “entered the public domain”, its copyright has expired and the material now belongs to the general public. Not only does this mean that anybody can creatively reinvent that original work without paying a penny — producing such beauty as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — but also that this book is now free for anyone to read.

Of course, if you want to read the books that topped the 2020 bestseller lists free of charge, you’ll be waiting a very long time (95 years, as it stands). But thousands of books, including many that we consider to be the best books of all time , have already entered the public domain. So if you're looking for super-accessible book club books, the public domain is a great place to start!

How to find public domain books

You might think that getting your hands on free books won’t be easy — but think again! There are loads of online projects working to transcribe public domain books and make them available on a wide range of reading devices. 

Project Gutenberg is perhaps the best-known destination for public domain books, and certainly one of the oldest. But both Hathi Trust and Internet Archive also have huge digital repositories, containing millions of titles, and Standard Ebooks is a great source for beautifully formatted and typeset ebooks. 

When do books enter the public domain?

Long story short:

Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term, unless renewed by the author for a further 28 years. This required form-filling and admin, and apparently most authors just couldn’t be bothered, because 75% didn’t renew. So the copyrights on their books expired and those books became public domain (woo-hoo!). 

However, any author who published work after 1923 and managed to renew it got to slip through the net and keep their copyright to themselves. Due to a series of new laws, that copyright term was eventually extended to 95 years — which meant that no new works became public domain between 1998 and 2018 (a long drought of two decades for readers).

As a result, January 1st 2019 was a momentous day: a pile of new books entered the public domain for the first time in more than twenty years. And since then, there have been new books in the public domain on the first day of every year. In 2019, the copyright for books published in 1923 expired. In 2020, the copyright for works published in 1924 expired. And so on and so forth, bringing us now to 2021. can find out whether or not a book is in the public domain over here .

New public domain books to read in 2021

The long and short of all this is that, effective 1st of January 2021, all works first published or released before January 1, 1926 became yours to have, to read, and to adapt! And what a year it was for literature. The full list is, shall we say, a little rough to navigate, so to make life easier we’ve gathered together twelve of your best bets — and they’re all gems. 

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Without a doubt, the headliner of this year’s list is Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby . If you’ve so far managed to miss out on reading this great American masterpiece, then 2021 is the perfect opportunity. Now available at the low low price of completely free , there’s nothing to stop you from diving beneath the shimmering surface of the world of Jay Gatsby — a mysterious millionaire whose secret obsession will cause his unravelling in the hot New York summer of 1922. 

If you’re familiar with this haunting contemplation of the American dream and are after some pastiche, then you’re in luck: Michael Farris Smith has already made the most of this newly public-domained work, releasing Nick, an epic portrait of the man behind the narrator, in early January.

2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Many more people have heard of Virginia Woolf than have actually read her works, largely because her vivid stream-of-consciousness storytelling has a reputation for being quite challenging. But now that Mrs Dalloway has entered the public domain, you can accept the challenge with no commitment. It’s the ultimate satisfaction-or-your-money-back guarantee! 

This probing, gentle portrait of a day in one woman’s life is one of the most important novels of the 20th century, and an excellent introduction to Woolf’s work. Plus, in our humble opinion, her writing contains some of the most beautiful sentences ever written in English.

3. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s first published work, and the first of his books to become public domain (with more coming soon — Hemingway fans, get excited), In Our Time is a collection of short fiction about life before, during, and after WWI. Like most Hemingway novels , it is a catalog of suffering, loss, and loneliness, soaked in alcohol and overrun with violence: matadors are gored to death, cabinet ministers are lined up and shot, and Black men hang in a county jail. As well as an introduction to many of the themes that run through Hemingway’s later works, In Our Time also provides us with a flavour of his sparse prose, and our first glimpse of the recurring character Nick Adams — making it essential reading for any Hemingway fan.

4. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

With over seventy novels, plays, and short stories to her name, Agathie Christie is one of history’s most prolific writers, and her world-renowned mysteries have been steadily falling out of copyright and into the public domain for several years (lucky us!). The Secret of Chimneys is the first to feature Scotland Yard’s Superintendent Battle, a man of stolid good sense who will be replaced by the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in the next four years’ releases — so enjoy him while you can! Otherwise, The Secret of Chimneys is classic Christie : a murder on a well-to-do estate, red herrings and misdirections, and lashings of unexpected twists. You can’t really go wrong.

5. The New Negro by Alain LeRoy Locke

If you’re familiar with the Harlem Renaissance, then you may have heard of Alain LeRoy Locke, the man who is widely considered to be the father of that intellectual explosion. Perhaps you’ve even heard of The New Negro , for this 1925 anthology, edited by Locke, gave its name to the Harlem Renaissance — a revival of African-American literature and art known then as the “New Negro Movement”. Between its covers are stunning works of prose, poetry, and nonfiction by seminal Black voices , including Langston Hughes, W.E.B Du Bois, and Zora Neale-Hurston. This is a meticulously curated celebration of the Black creativity of the era.

6. Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

Arrowsmith , which chronicles a doctor’s rise through the scientific community, was written by Nobel Laureate Sinclair Lewis with the help of science writer Paul de Kruif — whose real-life expertise brings a heavy reality to this sharp-witted, satirical commentary on the state of American medicine. It is widely considered Lewis’s most accomplished novel, earning him the Pulitzer Prize the year after its publication. But he notably refused the prize, claiming that the committee was too narrow-minded in deeming any novel the “best of the year”. Of course, he accepted when the Nobel prize came in 1930.

7. Those Barren Leaves by Aldous Huxley

It’ll be a few years before Aldous Huxley’s genre-defining Brave New World drops into the public domain. But while we wait for Huxley’s sci-fi classic , we can chew over his deliciously satirical novel about the human tendency to feign sophistication. Those Barren Leaves finds a group of socialites gathered at the Italian palace of Mrs Aldwinkle. Among the guests: a popular novelist who records her affair with another guest for future material; a broke and crusty intellectual pursuing a mentally-disabled heiress; and working man Mr. Falx, whose student in socialism, the charming Lord Hovendon, grows distracted by young love. Were this another Agatha Christie novel, this sundry cast would find themselves tied together by a mysterious murder. Instead, they’re united by their posing and pretensions — to our equal enjoyment.

8. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

A storyteller to rival Dickens, Theodore Dreiser happened to write a true crime novel before the genre even existed, when he took a notorious murder case as his point of departure and penned An American Tragedy . In Clyde Griffiths, the novel’s tragic hero , Dreiser paints a haunting portrait of an impoverished and insecure social climber, whose naive dreams of self-betterment drive him to commit a desperate and unforgivable act of violence. Around Clyde, Dreiser paints in intricate detail the landscape of early twentieth-century America — its economic pressures, hypocrisies, and political corruption. This is not only a riveting true crime story, but also a heartbreaking social commentary with mythic force.

9. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

A firm favorite for Hollywood adaptations, The Painted Veil is a proto-feminist book about a young woman’s spiritual awakening (predictably published to a storm of protest in 1925). Kitty Fane is the young woman in question, a beautiful but shallow socialite married to a man she doesn’t care for. Unsatisfied and love-starved, she starts an illicit affair with an exciting and attractive young man. But when her husband discovers her adultery, he exacts a strange and terrible vengeance, forcing her to accompany him to a remote village in China, where her awakening conscience compels her to grow.

10. A Daughter of the Samurai by Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto

A Daughter of the Samurai is the memoir of a determined and keenly observant young woman who must navigate a path between two very different cultures. Raised the beloved daughter of a high-ranking samurai, Etsu Sugimoto had always been certain of her future in her community as a Buddhist priestess. But, as a young teenager, she had to leave behind the only world she knew for an arranged marriage in the United States. Sugimoto is alive to the contradictions, ironies, and beauties of both cultures, as she learns both how to be a Japanese wife, and how to get by in nineteenth-century Ohio. Her memoir gives us a rare insight into the struggles and strengths of that first generation of Japanese immigrants.

11. Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos

In Manhattan Transfer John Dos Passos constructs an impressionistic portrait of New York City in the early 1920s. Using experimental montage techniques borrowed from cinema, he captures the fragmented lives of a colorful cast of characters in a series of overlapping vignettes — from wealthy brokers to penniless immigrants, dockside crapshooters to high-society flappers. The result is a kaleidoscope of the modern city: filled with life, drama, and human tragedy, everyone struggling to become a part of a great, futuristic machine, before they are destroyed by it.

12. The Writing of Fiction by Edith Wharton

A great chronicler of upper-class American Society, Edith Wharton forged a path of unparalleled creativity and literary acclaim in the early twentieth century, earning herself the Pulitzer Prize in 1920 for her examination of high society milieu, The Age of Innocence . As the first female writer to win the prize, and one of America’s most beloved authors, who better to walk you through The Writing of Fiction ? In brilliant prose, Wharton reflects on the craft of writing — from the telling of a short story, to the construction of a novel, to the importance of character development and beyond. Her advice has truly stood the test of time, and provides glimmers of insight that can only be gleaned from one of the greats.

If you'd rather read the latest hits, check out the 21 best novels written in the 21st century !

Continue reading

More posts from across the blog.

100 Books to Read Before You Die

Prepare yourself for some frightening news: you have, according to LitHub, only a finite amount of time left in your life to read. The average American, for instance, re...

50 Best Feminist Books to Dismantle the Patriarchy

Grow your "To Be Read" pile with these essential feminist books — novels, memoirs, poems, and essays that will spark the fire of feminism in any reader.

Best Short Stories and Collections Everyone Should Read

If you are on the lookout for great storytelling but don’t want to commit to a full-length novel, then short story collections are the answer. Whether it’s just before bed, during your commute, or waiting to see your d...

Heard about Reedsy Discovery?

Trust real people, not robots, to give you book recommendations.

Or sign up with an

Or sign up with your social account

Writer's Hive Media

Books Entering The Public Domain in 2023

by Mel Beasley | Dec 25, 2022 | Publishing

Every year a new bunch of books, among other works, enter the public domain when their copyrights expire. Once such titles enter the public domain, they are free reign for anyone to go in and copy the work, create renditions of it, breathe new life into it, and more. This is why we see so many different variations of Sherlock Holmes on television (most stories are in the public domain in the U.S.), and why 2021 saw several renditions of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Well, this “Public Domain Day” of January 1, 2023 we’ll see some books from some heavy hitters. Authors like Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf among others have works that will become part of the public domain. This article will cover some of the titles hitting the public domain, and provide a brief bio of each author just in case you’re not familiar with them. 

How Book Copyrights Work

Before we dive into the books going into public domain in 2023, let’s get a little background in book copyright laws. Keep in mind that every country has its own copyright laws, so you’ll want to do your own research if you’re not located in the United States. These copyright laws mentioned below are focused on the U.S.

Who Is A Copyright Owner?

Everyone who creates an original work is a copyright owner. If you create an original work such as a blog, short film, screenplay, poem, manuscript, song, and beyond, you are considered the author and owner of that work. That being said, if you create an original work under the umbrella of a company or organization (i.e., if they hired you to create such a work), then that company or organization is the copyright owner of that work. Copyrights can also be subject to wills and bequests. You can learn more about copyright ownership here .

How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

How long copyright protection lasts depends on when a given work was created. Here is a paragraph from about the duration of copyright.

The length of copyright protection depends on when a work was created. Under the current law, works created on or after January 1, 1978, have a copyright term of life of the author plus seventy years after the author’s death. If the work is a joint work, the term lasts for seventy years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire and anonymous or pseudonymous works, copyright protection is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter. Works created before 1978 have a different timeframe. Learn more about copyright duration in our Duration of Copyrights Circular.

Books Entering Public Domain in 2023

Here are the books coming to the public domain this new year!

The Big Four by Agatha Christie ( Purchase Here )

The Big Four - Agatha Christie

The Author: Agatha Christie (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. She also wrote the world’s longest-running play, the murder mystery The Mousetrap , which has been performed in the West End since 1952. A writer during the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction”, Christie has been called the “Queen of Crime”. She also wrote six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott.

To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf ( Purchase Here )

To The Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf

The Author: Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device. Throughout her life, Woolf was troubled by mental illness. She was institutionalised several times and attempted suicide at least twice. According to Dalsimer (2004), her illness was characterized by symptoms that would today be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, for which there was no effective treatment during her lifetime. In 1941, at age 59, Woolf died by drowning herself in the River Ouse at Lewes.

Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway ( Purchase Here )

Men Without Women - Ernest Hemingway

The Author: Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and he was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two nonfiction works. Three of his novels, four short-story collections, and three nonfiction works were published posthumously. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature.

Mosquitos by William Faulkner ( Purchase Here )

Mosquitos - William Faulkner

The Author: William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American writer known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner spent most of his life. A Nobel Prize laureate, Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers of American literature and is considered the greatest writer of Southern literature.

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne, Illustrations by E. H. Shepard ( Purchase Here )

Now We Are Six - A.A. Milne

The Author: Alan Alexander Milne (January 18, 1882 – January 31, 1956) was an English writer best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, as well as for children’s poetry. Milne was primarily a playwright before the huge success of Winnie-the-Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne served in both World Wars, as a lieutenant in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the First World War and as a captain in the Home Guard in the Second World War. Milne was the father of bookseller Christopher Robin Milne, upon whom the character Christopher Robin is based. It was during a visit to London Zoo, where Christopher became enamored with the tame and amiable bear Winnipeg, that Milne was inspired to write the story of Winnie-the-Pooh for his son.

The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon ( Purchase Here )

The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon

The Author: Franklin W. Dixon is the pen name used by a variety of different authors who were part of a team that wrote The Hardy Boys novels for the Stratemeyer Syndicate (now owned by Simon & Schuster ). Dixon was also the writer attributed for the Ted Scott Flying Stories series, published by Grosset & Dunlap. Canadian author Charles Leslie McFarlane is believed to have written the first sixteen Hardy Boys books.

Other Titles Entering Public Domain in 2023 Include:

Book synopses and author bios were grabbed from various places online, including online book sellers, Wikipedia, etc.*

You can review the 2023 public domain list of books, among other artistic works hitting the public domain by visiting this list put out by Duke Law. 

Mel Beasley

Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont .

50 Synonyms for Amazing

50 Synonyms for Amazing

Susan Z. Miller Mar 9, 2023

30 Fiction Books By Black Authors

30 Fiction Books By Black Authors

Tameka Gates Feb 16, 2023

How To Write A Thesis Statement: Full Guide

How To Write A Thesis Statement: Full Guide

Tameka Gates Feb 11, 2023

Latest Articles

50 Synonyms for Beautiful

50 Synonyms for Beautiful

Susan Z. Miller Jan 4, 2023

Subscribe for Updates, Writing Tips, and More!

Thanks for subscribing we'll send you a confirmation shortly....

publishing books in the public domain

Support creative writing and publishing by subscribing for free today!

Join our mailing list to receive writing and publishing tips, writing prompts, vocabulary lists, giveaway announcements, and more!

You're subscribed! Thanks you little writer you!

We do not share or sell your personal information.

Pin It on Pinterest

How to Sell Public Domain eBooks

Last Updated: January 31, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 86% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 96,743 times. Learn more...

A book is in the public domain when it is not under copyright protection. Generally, you can publish and sell public domain eBooks. However, you will need to research which online platforms you can sell on. Each platform has its own rules, which are changing all the time. For example, to sell on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you typically must add original content to the public domain book, such as illustrations or a study guide. Before publishing, create an account with each online publisher and then format your book for upload. Set a price that is competitive.

Checking Where You Can Publish

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 1

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 2

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 3

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 4

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 5

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 6

Creating the Ebook

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 7

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 8

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 9

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 10

Publishing and Selling

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 11

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 12

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 13

Image titled Sell Public Domain eBooks Step 14

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

You Might Also Like

Download from Scribd

About This Article

wikiHow Staff

Reader Success Stories

Gift Emegha

Gift Emegha

Did this article help you?

publishing books in the public domain

Sid Choudhury

Sep 9, 2017

Shivam Verma

Shivam Verma

Apr 4, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Create a Hotspot in Windows 11

Trending Articles

How to Fold a Gum Wrapper Heart in 9 Simple Steps

Watch Articles

Make Tabasco Sauce

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Develop the tech skills you need for work and life

Some text in the Modal..


Self-Publishing in Public Domain

Have you ever imagined what it was like to write that book you absolutely love? Reimagining the characters in a completely different setting, playing with the old writing, adding and adding modern elements and current issues to see how the story or message might have changed if at all? The public domain makes this kind of book publishing possible. Every 75 years, new works enter public domain once their copyright has expired and becomes a book that belongs to all, making it freely accessible. Copyright laws differ depending on where you are in the world, so books from different countries may enter public domain at different times.

Many of us have read republished classics from decades to centuries old, whether they were translated for more accuracy and clarity or written in an entirely different context for a new audience; perhaps a younger audience yet to encounter the classics. A reworked book in the public domain can attract a completely new and fresh perspective on the text through reimagined versions of the story. These works can draw in diverse readers who appreciate a new perspective. The introduction or the author’s note can provide a different context on the author, the era, and impact of the book.

What Is Self-Publishing?

It is helpful to have insight into the process of self-publishing and the public domain before reworking a text that is fully available to the public. The traditional publishing route would require you to submit your manuscript to a publisher. However, some publishers only accept manuscripts submitted through literary agencies, leading many writers to turn to self-publishing, as the resources to publish are available even though they are sometimes overlooked. Here are some tips on how to self-publish.

You also need to find out what your passion is and how much you care about the classic you want to work on. You’re not just contributing to a community of people who reworked the text, you are contributing to the message of the original work and its  author. Think carefully about what you want to say, and find out what others thought it was that the author wanted to say; their interpretations may be different to yours.

Explore Your Story

Write a plan for your book—whether it is an outline, a few notes, or the entire plot. What is the message of the book? What do you want the reader to experience or learn? How would you like to express the content? You may start out with an introduction and be inspired to analyze each chapter or section ,or write a new story based on the classic. Whichever route you decide to take, make sure that you check in with the original text as you go along. Once you’ve done this, you can move on to stage two.

There really is no way around this; as hard as it is to translate your idea into a detailed manuscript, it is necessary. Working with a ghostwriter can help you look at the content from different angles and find different methods of depicting the message of the book.

Proofing and Printing

Once your manuscript has been edited and proofread, you will require typesetting for the spacing, the look of the inside of the book, and you may need to commission cover art. Also look at the sizing you require. Is it a large hardcover or a small paperback? This will guide the typesetting of your book as well. Once you have all these on order, you can send it off to the printers.

What Is the Public Domain?

Copyright law varies from country to country, so the way creatives operate in the industry will have to consider the region they are distributing, performing, or publishing in. The public domain bears works that do not function under these laws—they are freely accessible to the public. In the US, this is observed every 75 years, but the laws differ in other nations.

Public Domain

Works under Public Domain

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by Lewis Carrol

The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy) written by James Matthew Barrie

Little Women written by Louisa May Alcott

Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens

How to Access Public Domain

There are many places to access books in public domain. You can look up a variety of sites offering a database of books freely accessible to the public. Another avenue would be to look up works that were published 75 years ago or more and then cross-check them on the public sites to see if they have entered. There are literary figures, associations, and book-lovers who regularly post news about books being released into public domain. Following sites such as Creative Commons and Project Gutenberg for news on public domain can be very helpful. Some sites also provide interesting information on copyright law, the author, and the work itself.

News on Public Domain

On January 1st every year, we observe International Public Domain Day where works with expired copyrights enter public domain and become freely accessible to all. In 2021, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway came into public domain, and 2022 saw Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues and Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd enter public domain. It is worth keeping an eye out for this day across the world to see which texts from different eras become available to all.

Publishing in Public Domain

Reworking a book in public domain can be a challenge especially if you haven’t had experience in this particular area of publishing. Here are some guidelines that may streamline the process:

Add New Content

You may have decided to write a unique story based on the premise of a classic novel, or perhaps you are working on a different interpretation of an older work without completely changing the story or message. Either way, you should add a fresh perspective and new content to the book.

Editing and Formatting

As mentioned before, this part of the process is very important. You need to make sure that the content makes sense in the context of the classic; this will be noted in the editing and proofreading process. The formatting style will be different for an ebook, and different sites will have different guidelines on how to handle your ebook.

Choose a Publishing Site

Take a look at the target audience of the book. Who reads this type of content? Who will share it? Why are they reading it? Once you’ve identified who your audience is, you will need to start researching publishing sites and find out which sites cater to the audiences who would be interested in your book.

Working with Classics

There are many reworks, translations, and completely new novels written and published based on older works. Some of these publications offer lengthy introductions with analyses of the author and the time that the book was published. Interesting points can come through in terms of what copyright law was like at the time, what the publishing process was like, who was allowed to publish, and how books were released—whether they were published as full copies or released as chapters one by one.

The new content you are creating needs to make sense in the context of the classic. Read the book more than once to get your own perspective on it. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the text, find analyses and articles written about. If it is in public domain, there will be analyses on the book due to the amount of time it has been around.

Look at the era, the author, their origins, and the history of the time that they were writing or started formulating their ideas on the work. This research will help you form the message you want to depict and how it will be conveyed alongside classic writing.

The Public Domain

This world of books that is freely accessible to everyone is a strange and interesting place. Delve into it. Pay attention to International Public Domain Day and find out what has entered the public domain. The laws surrounding the public domain differ from place to place making it a slight challenge to find out when an international text will be available to the public. Once you familiarize yourself with the laws of the region, it becomes easier to pay attention to releases.

You need to learn about the time that the book was published, the era that author grew up in, and how it may have affected them and their writing. Find out why they decided to write and publish the book, and the obstacles that they may have encountered along the way. Read the introductions and author’s notes of these works to get a feel of how they position themselves, and most importantly, write.


AI Content Creation Is Not the Big Bad Wolf


The Perfect All Enthralling Love Triangle in Literature


A Path of Self-Discovery – Autobiography Versus Memoir


All About Ownership: How to Prove You Own Your Audiobooks!


All You Need to Know About Scams as a Self-Publisher


How AI Can Improve Your Content: The Ultimate Assistant


Write Your Novel: Taking Inspiration From the Gone Girl Narrator


Leveraging the Perfect AI-Powered Content!


Create a One of a Kind Mash-up Novel : A Complete Guide


Ready to Get Started?

Get in touch with one of our Customer Support and Success Representatives! Let’s talk about your content creation needs and how we can help you achieve your goals. Check out our hours of operation .

Or drop us an email

Contact us at [email protected] and one of our dedicated Customer Support and Success Representatives will reach out to you. We would love to answer any questions you have or provide additional information. We are looking forward to collaborating with you!

Side Hustle Nation

364: Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon

publishing books in the public domain

Looking for a part-time side hustle where you get can your inventory for free and there are almost no startup costs?

This week, I’m excited to introduce the side hustle of public domain publishing.

This is the art and science of republishing classic literature – where the copyrights have expired – and earning passive royalties when your version sells.

Because these works are so old, they’re available online for free – but many Amazon shoppers and Kindle owners will pay to have them delivered straight to their device.

I think any business where you can get your inventory for free is pretty compelling!

Since 2013, Aaron Kerr has pocketed over $110k in royalties through this very part-time side hustle. You can see all his public domain projects over at .

Tune in to hear how this business model works, Aaron’s advice on what to publish and how to get past Amazon’s gatekeepers, and how to differentiate your public domain books from everything else out there.

What Is the Public Domain Publishing Business Model?

Can anybody do this, how to differentiate your public domain titles from everyone else’s, how to promote public domain titles on amazon, does amazon have any restrictions on public domain publishing, creating public domain paperbacks, public domain audiobooks, when does an author’s work enter the public domain, can you also publish public domain works to overseas amazon stores, how to choose a public domain publishing project, what’s the public domain publishing production process like, where else can you publish public domain works, launching a public domain book, what’s next, aaron’s #1 tip for side hustle nation, links and resources from this episode, want more side hustle show.

“It’s essentially finding a way to bring that content into new mediums. Things like Kindle, or Apple Books Store, and there’s just a lot of demand for those works, there’s a lot of interest in these older classic works,” Aaron told me.

Aaron takes advantage of the existing demand for these classic works. His electronic versions give the buyer a convenient and easy way to read them, while offering them at a low cost.

Most of his revenue comes from Kindle sales, which is no surprise as Amazon has the largest platform for downloadable books.

He also sells some titles on other online bookstores and has made additional sales that way.

Yes, anybody can publish public domain content.

Arron said it’s just a matter of finding a digital copy, of which there are numerous sites where you can download loads of titles.

Aaron’s first collection was the Anne of Green Gables series , which is a children’s classic originally published in 1908. To find this work, Aaron told me that all he had to do was go to a couple of different websites, download the copy, then format it for Kindle publishing.

(This could be an interesting business idea for kids if they’re into classics and somewhat tech-savvy — or you could help them out with the tech stuff.)

The story behind why Aaron published his first series is an interesting one. He had some experience formatting old works for other people back in 2009-2010. But when he looked at the Kindle store back then, he figured it was too competitive already.

A few years later, his wife was downloading the Anne of Green Gables series of books and reading them to their daughters. Aaron took a look at the books, which were selling for $1.99, and saw some areas he knew he could improve on – such as formatting and things like that.

He figured, why not publish his own series of the Anne of Green Gables series in a tidier and easier to read format and undercut his competition by selling them cheaper at $0.99.

“My goal is — here’s something that’s selling — I’m going to try and take a few different ways to improve on it, then release it,” Aaron surmised for me.

He hit on something because this is the collection that ended up becoming the #1 best seller on the whole of Amazon!

Something else Aaron did was advertise that he was including links so people could download an audio version for free too. Aaron said that not many people know this, but there is a site called LibriVox where you can download audio versions of public domain books for free.

“It was a small thing, but it’s something that adds a little value and catches people’s eyes,” he told me.

When he put up his listing on the Kindle store, sales took off quickly. Aaron told me he started selling 20 copies a day, then 25 a day, then he went from 30 sales on a Friday to 2,100 on Saturday, then ended up selling over 6,000 in a day later that week when it hit the #1 best-seller spot.

After Amazon takes their cut on the $0.99 sale price, Aaron was making $0.35 per sale. He admitted that’s not a huge amount per sale, but he more than made up for it with the volume he sold.

Aaron said he isn’t doing a lot to promote his titles once they’re up on Amazon, and said he doesn’t know why his first series took off so quickly.

He did share a couple of his thoughts, saying that he thinks Amazon gives preference to new releases and coming in at a lower price point helps.

He also makes sure to write some descriptive copy on his listing with all the relevant keywords included.

Amazon does have some rules in place to stop their marketplace being flooded with identical works.

Their rules center around differentiation. You can’t release your own version of a work unless it’s different. This also applies if there’s already a free version of a work, you can’t create a paid version without differentiating your version.

The three ways you can differentiate your version are:

Aaron said this is why he likes releasing collections. It allows him to build a bundle of products that includes some works that are not on the Kindle store yet.

He also makes some of his own illustrations or annotations to the work.

Aaron is selling a paperback version for some of his single books. The collections would be too many pages to print, so he doesn’t have those available in paperback.

The first public domain paperback he put together was a guide on how to draw adapted from an old drawing guide. This book has been bringing in $40-$50 per month consistently for years.

It’s a nice little passive income stream for something that Aaron said took him a few hours work.

Aaron knows there is a demand for public domain audiobooks, but it’s not something he’s considering doing.

He referenced Jim Weiss as a potential resource if you want to check out how he’s doing it.

Aaron mentioned he’s been reading poetry with his kids, and said he may record that in the future to give it a try–as it’s a lot shorter than a novel.

The current copyright term in the US is 95 years from the date of publication. This means that any work 95 years or older enters the public domain at the beginning of the next year. It can then be used and redistributed without a copyright breach.

Every year, on January 1st, a new batch of content enters the public domain. This levels the playing field for everyone in the public domain publishing hustle, but Aaron said there is so much work available that it’s not too competitive.

For example, he was waiting on a particular Agatha Christie work to hit the public domain this year. He released it on the 1st of January, saw a little competition but it still sold well and was worth his time.

When you publish a public domain work on Amazon you can syndicate it to other stores around the world like,, and so on.

Other countries do have different copyright laws, however, so you need to be aware of what those are. It’s more common for copyrights to be calculated on the lifespan of the author in other countries. In the UK, for example, work enters the public domain 70 years after the author’s death. (I believe this was stated as 50 years in the audio recording.)

The good news is that Amazon will let you know which stores the work is eligible for when you input the author and other details. This is a safeguard so you don’t find yourself in a copyright infringement situation.

Aaron shared a few ways he researches which works he should release.

An example of gave was when the movie 12 Years a Slave was due for release back in 2014. Aaron looked on Amazon and saw there were no free versions of a Kindle book for this title.

So, he spent an hour downloading the work and designing a cover, then published it on Amazon and Apple Stores. After the film came out, he made sales to the tune of a few thousand dollars.

Most of Aaron’s time is spent on formatting his books. He said most of the raw files he’s working with are either .txt or in HTML, so there’s some formatting needed to get them Kindle ready.

He said there aren’t too many spelling errors picked up in the original scanning process, and they’re usually consistent when there are some. A “find + replace” search will sort out most of the errors, then a proofread will pick up any others.

The presentation and cover design are important as this is what people see when browsing the Kindle store. Aaron uses stock photography, free images, and illustrations, with his goal being to match aspects of the original works.

Amazon has a tool that you can either use online or download to your PC to check how your work is going to look across most devices. It’s worth using this to make sure there aren’t any strange bits of formatting in the finished piece before uploading it.

It would make sense to outsource this part of the process as it’s the bottleneck in his business. However, Aaron said he enjoys this part of the process so he doesn’t intend to outsource in the near future.

Aaron has tried some other platforms, namely Barnes & Noble and Apple Books .

These platforms don’t drive as many sales as Amazon as they just don’t have the same size audience.

He also pointed out that Amazon doesn’t allow public domain works to be included in their KDP Select program if you were wondering about that.

Aaron does push for reviews after launching a book, since having no reviews might dissuade people from making a purchase.

He doesn’t think lots of reviews make a huge difference though. When his first collection hit the #1 bestseller spot, it only had 4 reviews.

“If there are a few reviews and something looks quality, then people will check it out,” Aaron said.

Aaron is working on two collections right now, as well as a poetry project. He’s also keeping an eye out for other ways he can use all forms of public domain content.

If you want to dive deeper into this business model Aaron has put together a course and some bonus material, which Side Hustle readers can find at .

“Be willing and patient enough to find a side hustle that works for you.”


publishing books in the public domain

Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show on Apple Podcasts!

Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show on Google Podcasts!

Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show via RSS!

Or use the player app above to listen right in your browser.

Pin it for later:

public domain publishing

Like That? There's More!

Join the 100,000 who get my best stuff via email.

I'll also send you my free guide: The 5 Fastest Ways to Make More Money .

You're in! Make sure to check your email (including spam/promotions) for your free welcome gift.

21 thoughts on “364: Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon”

Thats amazing, im gonna promote my own book too. Thanks

I loved this episode. A really interesting take on self-publishing. Would be interested to see how much more competitive the niche becomes after this haha!

Thanks Vince!

Thanks Stacy!

So he took something, looked at it and made it better!! I love that and try to live by it. You might feel your niche is oversaturated or you’re not good enough… but what you really need to do is find someone in your field that you like and MAKE IT BETTER!! Really good podcast!

I am continually amazed by all the different ways there are to make money. This is a genius idea, if I didn’t already have a successful side hustle I would jump on this one.

As always great episode! I wonder if we can still use a coupon for his course. Thanks!

Thank you for another great episode! I had no idea this was possible.

After listening, I did some hunting around to see whether you have to offer payment to the location where you get the free text. I couldn’t really find anything, but did notice that there are some people online who feel strongly that selling a free product for your own profit is taking advantage of the good will of the transcribing company who offer the book for free (project Gutenberg for instance). I am of two minds as I see where they are coming from, but then again, creating the collections is something that requires time and effort. A new product is the end result and I suppose you could say Hollywood using the public domain text to create a profit-making film is not all that dissimilar.

I stumbled onto this article while looking for an explanation to the plague of poorly formatted public domain ebooks on Amazon, and I would like to say that, to me, it is unambiguously seedy and unethical to expect payment for very minimal work based on a volunteer transcription. Transcribing the book is what requires by far the bulk of the effort, with “publishers” like Aaron Carr knocking out several titles a day with ugly covers and approximative typesetting (having had the occasional weakness to buy such titles in the past, I don’t believe for one second that any proofreading is involved). This isn’t likely to be a very popular opinion on a site called ‘Side Hustle Nation’, but there you go.

You make a good point. However, this can be done legally if one adheres to the following rule (mentioned on Project Gutenberg’s website):

” –

20% – …”

This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing this

Don’t encourage people to steal public domain audiobooks from Librovox. That’s pretty immoral. That is not the same thing as reformatting an old book from a dead author. No value added, just theft.

Per Librevox:

“All our audio is in the public domain, so you may use it for whatever purpose you wish.”

The Librivox recordings all have to legally state IN THE RECORDING, so… 1. How do you find a VERY GOOD AUDIO of your book? 2. You didn’t EDIT that out did you Aaron? 3. Where do you go to find someone to record your book for you?

I’m interested in trying this business model but need answers to these questions please. is Amazon’s clearinghouse for authors searching for narrators to produce their work. As author, you have to have a book for sale on Amazon in order to use ACX for production, but anyone can fill out a profile and listen to narrator sample clips, to judge who might be appropriate to produce a given book. also has narrator listings with contact information. and are two other sites that offer production and have listings of narrators. My work on

I’m really interested in doing this business.Seems great!!!

Excellent review well done. It shows we can be whatever we want to be. Be it cutting grass, cleaning dishes, fixing cars, painting and decorating, artists etc, etc, etc. In this day and age there is lots of money to be made self employed or even as a side line dependent how much effort you choose to put in. Stick a card in a shop window and the world is your oyster. Its well worth supporting librivox, gutenberg etc as they offer a priceless service giving the world access to these classic works. Yes there should be some standards set to weed out the slobs but otherwise go for it YOU CAN DO IT.

Hi I have a question, what’s your strategy to differentiate the work? I want to annotate, but I’m not sure what qualifies as annotation that doesn’t take months of writing. Is an introduction good enough? What do you do?

I’m interested in finding new hardback volumes of out of print authors like George Macdonald, Elizabeth Macdonald Alden (Pansey), etcetera. I strongly dislike paperback and kindle books since I am building a physical library as an inheritance of knowledge.

Where does one find quality publishers for obscure yet influential authors?

Do we need to add copy-right in the public domain books before we published them?

Thank you Lafes

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Usually hustling, occasionally social.

facebook group


Rewriting Public Domain Books: Everything You Need To Know

What is a public domain book.

Please enable JavaScript

Sounds Easy! What's The Catch?

Where do i start, if(typeof ez_ad_units='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[300,250],'selfpublishedwhiz_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_4',112,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-selfpublishedwhiz_com-large-mobile-banner-1-0'); determine if a book is in the public domain, finding the best books in the public domain.

With so much to choose from, it can be hard to find which ones are worth reading and worthy of republishing on Amazon KDP. I will share with you one of the tips I personally use to choose good children's books worth republishing and why.

A good storybook is perfect for authors who want to make an illustrated book - the story is already written for you, all you need to do is commission the right illustrator (or illustrate it yourself ), and viola! You now have a children's book on the shelf with a story that was already worthy of publishing.

Beware Of Compilations

According to Public Domain Sherpa , a compilation is when someone compiles a public domain work in such a way that the whole compilation then constitutes a new copyrighted work.

Once you start getting into rewriting public domain books, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the United States Copyright Office.

Planning Your Rewrite

Once you've done your prep work, you'll want to find a unique angle that doesn't match any other derivative that's already been done before.

Begin The Writing

The next step when it comes to rewriting public domain books is the actual writing. Consider how to rewrite or continue the book in a way that doesn't infringe current copyrights held on derivatives.

Many people enjoy updating public domain books to fit the modern era. We've seen this done plenty of times with stories like Romeo and Juliet, which is also a public domain work.

Consider Copyright

Once you finish the writing, and you've edited your manuscript to the finished product, you'll want to consider putting your new piece under its own copyright .

Consider Publishing

Once you've finished writing and copyrighting the piece, you'll need to consider how you'd like to publish it. In some locations, you may be able to copyright the work after publishing, so consider that as well.

Rewriting a public domain book is a great way to pay homage to a series you love. It's also a great way to bring new ideas and stories into the world.

Need A Helping Hand?

1) Give This AI Novel Writer A Go (with 10,000 free words you don't have much to lose!)

There's Still So Much More To Learn! 👇☺️

Related posts, what is the average time it takes to write a book, should i write a book or a screenplay, how to write a zombie book: 8 easy steps, pdf template for writing a book, about the author.

publishing books in the public domain

Arielle Phoenix

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Distributing Public Domain Books: Should You Do It?

When US federal judge Jed Rakoff ruled against KinderGuides in August, one of the main arguments used against the company cited public domain books. Indeed, if the publisher wanted to bring classics closer to the kids, they could have chosen from millions of available books, including the works of Jane Austen, Mark Twain and Dostoevsky.

This prompted us to revisit the question of public domain .


While the exact rules differ by country, after a certain period books all around the globe become public domain. This means that they are free to be used in any way by anyone: including you. You can turn them into a movie, sell them, use their characters for Zombie rewrites or print T-shirts with quotes. Nobody can say a thing.

Re-publishing classics is a road many publishers decide to step on and quite rightfully: there is no bookshelf that wouldn’t look better with this Vintage Russian Classics on it. Since public domain books are usually widely available for free through various channels, whoever decides to publish them should consider adding something extra.


How to check if a book is public domain?

A book becomes public domain once the copyrights have expired. (Some books are created to be public domain straight away.) In some cases, copyright laws even work backwards. The 1995 copyright law change in the UK, extending copyright of written works to expire 70 years after the author’s death worked retroactive, causing some books to fall out of public domain!

When assessing whether a work is out of copyright, you should consider the death of the last author (including the translator and illustrator if applicable) to calculate how many years have passed. In most countries works become public domain 50 or 70 years after the last author’s death. If you are interested in every country, check out this list .

Translations and adaptations based on out of copyright work are often subject to copyright: Pride and Prejudice may be out of copyright, but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not. Same is true for movie adaptations: movie adaptations of classic tales and novels are original works and can contain elements that cannot be used. (If your own adaptation of Romeo and Juliet looks a lot like the picture below, be prepared to pay for use of rights.)


How to make public domain books people will pay for?

With the majority of public domain books available for free, it is a challenging task to make public domain books people would want to buy. However, it is definitely not impossible.

1. Create your own epub.

There are three main reasons for this. Firstly, this is to ensure quality: many public books have been automatically digitalized using a scanner and an OCR software. As no app is perfect, somebody has to proofread the book and look out for ‘t’s and ‘f’s.

Secondly, many places you might get public domain books create their own ebooks – they are free to use, but you can’t resell them. Yes, the content is out of copyright, but the publisher still did the job and deserves credit for it. So would you if you decided to publish them under your own name. Although the works of Tolstoy are public domain, you wouldn’t just put a sticker over the publisher’s name in the new Penguin edition and try to resell it as your own work, would you?

And last but not least: you are trying to make money out of it. Nothing comes out of nothing: you have to put an effort into reselling public domain books if you would like to see a return.

2. Add your own cover.

Creating a creative book cover won’t only show that you have put some work into publishing this book but can also serve as a marketing tool. It will make you stand out from the crowd of bad quality, mass produced PD books. Your readers will honor quality work and look for the same publisher.

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. Public domain books could be a great addition to your reader’s library if they are somewhat related to your genre or main topic. You are creating a Jane Austen Book Club, republishing everything the great writer read and she was influenced by? Take my money.

3. Add some extras.

Translate it. Create a glossary of difficult words or add annotations: old books should be read, but many people are put off by not knowing the historical background or foreign words. Make some illustrations. Turn it into an easy read. (For language learners, not for cheating high schoolers – I would never recommend that.)

4. Find books that are not digitalized yet.

The bulletproof way of making money out of public domain books is to offer content nobody else does. Go to antique stores and second-hand bookshops to find hidden gems and scan them. You don’t even need a scanner, there are plenty of clever smartphone apps! You can also browse library archives: they might even have some pdfs that could be turned into an ebook with a bit of work. (Check the local laws before you do this.)


© 2013 Jason Parrish , CC-BY

Where to sell public domain books?

Not everywhere. For better customer experience, most stores don’t accept PD content that is not differentiated in any way from other PD content. Who would want to browse through hundreds of identical Anna Kareninas? Amazon does accept PD books but only if they are translated, annotated or contain at least 10 original illustrations. Books that meet this criteria must include (Translated), (Annotated) or (Illustrated) in the title field. You will also have to explain in the book description how your book is unique.

The same goes for GooglePlay Books . They accept public domain books but only from select partners, and only if they don’t create a duplicate in their database . For a complete list of PublishDrive stores that accept (some) public domain books see our Stores page.

Bear in mind that some stores that accept public domain books pay less royalty: it can range from 35% to 20%.

How to sell public domain books?

If you decide to publish a public domain book, you still have to have a copyright page: this shows that you created this specific edition. Your copyright page should include “Published by Your Name Ⓒ 2017”. Please also include copyright information of the cover and illustrator if applicable. The stores and aggregators will also ask you to mark ‘Public domain’ when uploading the book to their system. This won’t affect your rights but will fasten the approval process.

To sum up: it is a mistake to think of public domain books as an easy way to earn money. Republishing public domain books should be viewed as publishing any other books: bringing valuable content to your readers.

Related posts

10 ways to make a living through self publication.

This article is written by Taylor Payne from Scribe Media. Her team helps…

Sell Walmart Ebooks: Everything You Need to Know

Walmart is one of the largest and most well-known retailers worldwide, and they recently…

Introducing PublishDrive’s Free Public Ebook Conversion Tool

Our free ebook conversion has been a huge help for PublishDrive authors, but our…

Are you looking for something on PublishDrive?

This website uses cookies

Select which cookies to opt-in to via the checkboxes below; our website uses cookies to examine site traffic and user activity while on our site, for marketing, and to provide social media functionality. More details...

Top navigation: Contact, Library account

click for options

Penn Libraries: Guides

Copyright Resources to Support Publishing and Teaching

What does it mean for a work to be in the Public Domain in the U.S.?

Many people characterize the "public domain" as a graveyard for copyrights.  That is not precisely true.  The public domain is largely made up of of works that are ineligible for copyright protection, or the copyright on those works have expired. Permission is not necessary to use public domain works, because nobody "owns" the work from a copyright perspective. 

What types of works are within the public domain? 

The four broadest ways in which works enter the public domain are as follows: 

For a helpful resource on which materials are under copyright and which are in the public domain please consult Cornell University's Copyright Term and the Public Domain webpage and the Public Domain slider.  

FAQ and Tips on the Public Domain

Are all works published before 1926 within the public domain .

Not necessarily.  Determining whether a work is within the public domain is somewhat complex because laws and terms of copyright have changed over the years.  The 1926 cutoff generally applies to works lawfully published within the United States.  Other countries may have different copyright terms for their works.  For specific cases, please consult the Cornell Copyright Term and Public Domain in the United States chart.  

Can I claim copyright over works within the public domain?

Generally not.  "Finders, keepers" does not apply to public domain works.  Meaning, if you determine that a work is within the public domain and free of copyright restrictions, you may not claim a new copyright over an unmodified version of the work.  However, if you add, new, original, creative content to the work, you may have a copyright interest in the new material that you you have added.  Keep in mind, however, that any copyright that you might have over that modification is likely thin and hard to enforce. 

Can I use the Creative Commons Public Domain (CC0) dedication notice on a work that I have determined is within the public domain?

No.  Only the copyright holder or someone with express permission from the copyright holder can apply a CC license or CC0 notation to a copyrighted work. For more information on appropriately selecting and using a CC license, please see this guide on the Creative Commons Website, About CC Licenses. 

What about works like  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen, isn't  Pride and Prejudice  by Jane Austen in the public domain?  Is the Grahame-Smith work in the public domain as well? 

Jane Austen originally published  Pride and Prejudice  in 1813.  The copyright on the work has expired, and the work is within the public domain.  This means that authors who wish to reinterpret the work may do so without seeking permission from the estate of Jane Austen because the estate no longer controls the copyright to the work.  This is not to say that the popularity of the work does not still live on.  While the copyright may have expired, contemporary audiences are still thirsty for content that reimagines Jane Austen's building blocks.  In our lifetime we have seen many fresh interpretations of the work, completed without permission from the estate of Jane Austen.   Pride and Prejudice and Zombies  is one such reinterpretation.  The author did not need to seek permission from the estate of Jane Austen to reimagine her work as a Zombie thriller because the work was out of copyright.  Likewise, he did not need to seek permission from the other authors of new works based on the original because, in his estimation, his work is sufficiently different from what others have created based on the same public domain source material.  The author may, however, claim copyright over the new expression that he has added to Jane Austen's plot, characters, and other building blocks, provided the new expression is original to him.  This means that while he cannot claim copyright over a story about two characters that at first do not appear to like each other because they in fact love each other once they overcome their internal hang-ups, he can claim copyright over the new expression he has added to the underlying plot.  Any second-comer who wishes to take Mr. Grahame-Smith's original expression (specifically the expression of the zombie overlay) would need to seek permission until the copyright on the Grahame-Smith work expires.  

What about translations of public domain works?   

Translations of public domain works have their own copyright.  Languages are not strict equivalents, meaning there is some art and creativity associated with expressing an idea cleanly from one language to another.  If a contemporary translator took a public domain work in Greek and translated it to English the new translation would be subject to copyright protection.  Second-comers would need to seek permission from the rights-holder to distribute or reproduce the English language translation, even if they would be free to use the original Greek text.  

What about forwards to new editions of public domain works?  

Provided the forward is new, original, and fixed, the forward to a new edition of a public domain work is likely subject to copyright protection. 

How do I find public domain images for my teaching and scholarship?  

The Penn Libraries has compiled a number of resources to help you find images for use in your scholarship.  Please see the  Finding Open Access Images  guide as a research launch point.  

This guide is intended to provide information for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  The links to third-party guides and resources on this page are provided to assist you in your investigation.  If you have questions about these pages, please seek additional clarity from your subject librarian .  

Useful Resources

TCK Publishing

if(typeof ez_ad_units != 'undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[300,250],'tckpublishing_com-box-2','ezslot_2',141,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-tckpublishing_com-box-2-0'); Public Domain Books: What’s New This Year?

by Kaelyn Barron | 0 comments

publishing books in the public domain

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to read classic titles online for free, without having to visit any shady or illegal sites?

There is! The public domain (more on what that is below) is full of older books, films, poems, and other creative works whose copyrights have expired or been waived. That means they’re just sitting there, like a (not-so) secret treasure chest waiting to be enjoyed, reproduced, or spun into new, creative art.

Check out our guide to navigating the public domain below, including titles that just became free in 2020 and tips on how you can determine what’s included in the public domain.

What Is the Public Domain?

The public domain includes all of the creative work (such as images, films, books, or music) for which there are no exclusive intellectual property rights. The rights might have been forfeited, expired, waived, or inapplicable.

In the United States, every work that was published before 1923 has been in the public domain since 1998. Works published in the year 1923 entered the public domain on January 1, 2019, and on January 1, 2020, all works published in 1924 also entered the public domain.

That means that as of this year, any creative work published in or before 1924 can be accessed online in its entirety, used, and built upon without the need for permissions or fees.

But this isn’t just good news for anyone dependent on Google Books previews. It also means that independent directors can adapt those books into films without paying millions for the rights, youth orchestras can afford to publicly perform those songs, and community theaters can screen those films.

Public Domain Books: New This Year

Below are a few notable titles that were added to the public domain as of January 1, 2020. To find more materials, including films and music, check out the Catalog of Copyright Entries . You can also use sites like Project Gutenberg , which offers more than 57,000 free eBooks from the public domain.

What Else Is in the Public Domain?

In addition to the rules outlined above, around 80% of all the books published between 1923 and 1964 are also in the public domain. That’s because prior to 1964, the copyright term for books was 28 years. Extending that term required a lot of paperwork, and, luckily for readers, a lot of authors and publishers just never filed.

To find some of those hidden gems, you can check out the Hathi Trust , a digital library similar to Project Gutenberg that has already uploaded many of the books that have recently been freed.

Are Public Domain Books Free?

Yes! Public domain books are free (and most importantly, legal!) to download, and they can even be reproduced, used, and built upon without the need for any special licenses or permissions.

They can be downloaded for free for your reading enjoyment, quoted extensively on your blog, or used freely for educational purposes—all things that usually aren’t legally possible with books that are outside of the public domain.

How Do I Find Out If a Book Is in the Public Domain?

The easiest way to tell if a book is in the public domain is if its publication date is earlier than 1923. After that, the rules can get a bit more complicated.

Thankfully, however, the New York Public Library recently paid to parse the information in the Catalog of Copyright Entries , and the old copyrights are now searchable, so we can see when and if they were renewed.

Most of the time, you might find an answer simply by doing a search on Google for the work’s title and the term “public domain.”

However, if you need to use a work for a large project and its status is unclear, you might want to consider contacting the Copyright Office and ask them to do the research for you. This comes at a hefty price, but at least you know their answer will be correct and you can rest easy knowing that no lawsuits are in your future.

More Free Ways to Read

The public domain is full of free treasures, and this is a secret that too few readers know. If you want an easy way to find free digital copies of some great titles, check out our list of the 29 best websites to download free ebooks.

You can also find plenty of free audiobooks to listen to around the house or on your way to work, which can be downloaded completely legally and at no charge.

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:

Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book Deals

Learn More About


self publishing with dale logo

Publishing Public Domain Books on Kindle

Is publishing public domain books something you should do? Is it worth it? By the end of this post, you will be able to make an informed decision for yourself.

For those who don’t know, b ooks in the public domain are in the state of belonging or being available to the public as a whole, and therefore not subject to copyright.

Table of Contents

How To Tell if a Book is in the Public Domain

The date of the book and age of the author will tell you.

A book is copyrighted from the moment it is put in a fixed medium or expression for 70 years after the author’s death even if it’s not published.

New works enter the public domain every year on January 1, and currently, works from 1924 and before are in the public domain.

Where to Find Books in the Public Domain

If you happen to own a book that fits the criteria above, it is in the public domain. Most of the books we have available to us online are scanned copies of print works including most of the free classics available for Kindle on Amazon.

I will include a long list of websites where you can find and download public domain works in the resource box at the end of this post.

The Public Domain Stigma

publishing public domain books

There’s a sort of stigma surrounding public domain publishing because you are basically attempting to sell something that the people already own for free.

The truth of the matter is that these works are available to the public for us to utilize however we see fit. The original work will always be there for others to use even if we take it and make a derivative work from it.

Many individuals and companies over the years have realized the value in public domain works. Even Amazon grabbed thousands of public domain books when they released their Kindle device in 2008 to flesh out their Kindle Store. So, the stigma of using such works shouldn’t exist if you are adding value more than seeking profits.

I can tell you that publishing public domain works is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a labor of love.

Most books in the public domain are scans of print books that have been done by volunteers over the last decade+. As one might imagine, these books aren’t always in the best format for digital reading.

To publish public domain works properly, you would need to utilize the normal Kindle publishing process with the exception of writing and editing.

You would still need to format the manuscript, create a book cover, and provide all of the metadata for the sales page.

How To Publish Public Domain Books on Amazon KDP

In order to be able to publish works from the public domain on Amazon, you must differentiate your version in one or more of the following 3 ways:



We’re not talking about Google Translate here. If you’re not fluent in a second language, this probably isn’t the avenue you should take unless you are willing to invest in a translator.

An accepted translation would be unique and in a language the work doesn’t yet exist in.

Annotation would include unique annotations such as study guides, literary critiques, detailed biographies or historical context.

When I published my first public domain work, I created a workbook and included question and answer sections after each chapter of the work.

Later, I found out that annotation can be as little as a paragraph at the beginning of the book.

If you choose to go the illustration route, then you’ll need to provide 10 or more unique illustrations that are relevant to the book.

What Doesn’t Qualify as Differentiation

While these attributes are certainly user-friendly add-ons for the digital version of these public domain works, Amazon doesn’t consider them enough to differentiate the book from its original form:

While these things should certainly be included in a public domain work prepared for Kindle, they aren’t enough to set it apart from the original work.

Getting Started Publishing Public Domain Books

Once you have decided on which method(s) you want to use to differentiate your chosen public domain work, you’re ready to get started.

Most of these works are not going to be formatted. You will need skills to take scanned works and turn them into editable documents that you can then format for Kindle.

In my experience, most of the books have been scanned with an OCR scanner. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This means that the scanner has software to convert scanned images to text.

Needless to say, this isn’t infallible. There will be typos and weird things you will need to fix in the book. While you don’t need an editor, you do need to proofread the work to find these anomalies.

Most likely, you will end up with a mass of text to comb through and arrange in a way that makes it easy to read. 

Selecting and Formatting the Public Domain Work

Select the work you want to publish on Kindle. Some websites will have files in multiple formats available for download. Otherwise, you will need to transfer the text into a Word document by copying and pasting it.

If you’re translating, this is where you would get to work putting the manuscript into the second language. If you’re annotating, you would add in your notes as needed. Don’t go overboard. You can differentiate the text simply with a blurb as to why you are publishing the work.

For illustrations, you would need to prepare those and insert them in the manuscript.

Once you have the manuscript formatted, you can then go through the publishing process normally.

Keep in mind, you’ll need all of the regular metadata like the 7 keywords, description, and 2 BISAC categories.

Also worthy to note here, public domain works are only eligible for the 35% royalty option for Kindle eBooks, but retain the fixed 60% royalty for paperbacks.

Here’s the information on publishing public domain books directly from Amazon –

Here’s a list of websites where you can find public domain books and more!

That’s a Wrap!

As you can see, there’s not a lot of money in the public domain.

Sure, you can make money with it, but it’s more for those of us who love books and want to see them reach the next iteration.

Scanned books are great, but getting these books into digital formats and available on e-readers like the Kindle are truly what will get them in the hands of the next generation.

That’s what books and public domain are all about! 

For the full video about Publishing Public Domain Books , visit this link . 

publishing books in the public domain

Ebooks, Publishing, and Everything in Between

What Are Public Domain Books and How to Make Money Selling Them?

Isn’t it thrilling to find more ways to make money, especially if it doesn’t require much effort? One easy method to do this is by reworking and selling already published books. But for this to be totally legit, you have to focus mainly on publishing public-domain books.

If you’d like to know more about what public domain books are and how to resell them, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll cover everything about public domain books, how to make money from publishing them, and any possible restrictions on selling them.

what are public domain books

What Are Public Domain Books?

Public domain books are books that are not protected by copyrights. Such books were not created with a copyright license or the license expired and was not renewed. 

As soon as a book enters the public domain, it belongs and is available to everyone. In essence, it can be duplicated and shared by anyone. You may decide to publish a part or the entire book without encountering any legal issues.

When Does a Book Become Public Domain?

Each country has unique copyright regulations regarding public domain books. However, a book is usually copyrighted in most countries until 70 years after the author’s death . After that, there is a level playing field for anyone who wishes to use it, with a few exceptions .

It is worth noting that any book published before 1923 is automatically in the public domain . Moreover, most books published between 1923-1963 are now available to the public because the copyrights were not renewed. 

A book can also become public domain for different reasons, such as old publication date or the author’s death date. You can infer if an ebook is free to use by knowing the day it was published and whether the author is alive (in this case, how old) or if they are dead (in this case, how long it has been since they passed away).

Is It Legal to Make Money off Public Domain Books?

Yes, it is. As long as you are sure that the book is in the public domain, there are no restrictions. Just make sure it is unique enough and adds value to your readers so that people would want to buy it.

publishing public domain books

Where Can You Find Public Domain Books?

Before going through the process of republishing, you must find the particular book (or books) that you want to use. Many sites provide you with enough public domain books to use at your disposal. Here are a few examples:

Other sites like Europeana , Feedbooks , and Loyal Books also provide public domain books, and the list goes on. 

How To Choose Public Domain Books For Republishing

With this amount of free public domain ebooks, the next thing you need to know is how to choose the ones that you want to republish. Don’t worry; the best thing to do is to start thinking to yourself: What would you love to read? What would you be interested in?

Examples of Public Domain Books

Below are some examples of the most well-known and exceptional public domain books.

All these are exciting stories that you can republish.

publishing books in the public domain

Steps of Legally Publishing a Public Domain Book

After deciding on which books to publish, it’s time to create a copy of this book that people will be willing to pay for. Here’s what you have to do:

1. Make It Unique

For you to publish your version of a public domain book on ebook publishing platforms , such as Amazon, it must be unique. Since everyone has the right to publish the book, adding sprinkles of originality here and there will distinguish it and capture the readers’ attention.

To properly differentiate your book, you need to do one of the following: translation , annotation , or illustration . Consequently, authors are required to specify one of these in the title field.

Here are some examples of things Amazon considers unique when adding it to your public domain book.

There are, however, some things Amazon doesn’t consider unique, such as:

2. Include Interactive Elements

One of the best ways to make a public domain book unique and attract more readers is to add interactive content. From simple links, audio files, or videos to more advanced interactive ebook apps , the possibilities are endless.

For example, if you decide to publish a public-domain historical novel, you can add maps that show where the events of the story take place. Or you can choose to republish a Dr. Seuss book and add animations and music to it.

Important read: How to Create an Interactive Ebook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Interactive Alice in wonder land

3. Ensure It’s Well Formated

You should cross-check your book’s texts to ensure that the formatting is right. You can use ebook editing software or tools or do this yourself, or you can use a formatting service . If you choose to do it yourself, ensure that:

4. Create a Distinctive Ebook Cover

Your ebook cover is one of the ebook’s first selling points and it can make your book stand out from other versions of the book. In order to create an outstanding cover, you can either hire someone to design it or you can do it yourself if you have some design skills. You can use software like  Photoshop or Canva to design the cover if you decide to do it yourself. You can also purchase covers from Damonza or eBook Launch .

Vintage book covers

5. Add Final Touches

Before you publish your ebook, you’ll need to write a captivating description for your potential customers, choose the book’s category and keywords , then set a reasonable price . Furthermore, you need to choose an appropriate format for your ebook, which we’ll cover in the next step.

6. Choose the Right File Format

The format you choose for your ebook depends on many factors, such as where you want to publish it, whether it’s static or interactive, and the devices the book will be read on. Most publishing platforms accept the Epub format, as it allows for static and interactive content and can also be viewed on most devices. If you aren’t sure which format works best for your needs, you can use Kotobee’s consultation service to speak with an ebook expert who’ll guide you along the way.

You can understand more about ebook formats by reading this article: Ebook Formats Explained for Beginners .

7. Publish Your Public Domain Book

Here comes the last step, publishing your public domain book. The process is just like publishing a regular ebook, except when it comes to the copyrights part. On some platforms, you’ll find these options:

Since it’s a public domain book, you pick “ This is a public domain work ”.

old books

Where Can You Sell Public Domain Books?

You can publish public domain books on your own website, or you can go the self-publishing route and choose from one of the many digital publishing platforms . It just has to meet their required standards. Here are a few examples of these platforms:

There may be other platforms that allow publishing public domain books; just make sure to read their policies carefully before you proceed.

Can You Place a Copyright on Your Content When Publishing a Public Domain Book?

Yes, you can place copyrights on your unique public domain book. However, it doesn’t cover previously published content; it only covers your original content/input.

Although public domain books aren’t seen as exceptionally lucrative, their publication provides writers with a fascinating new route. As an author or a publisher, you realize that the bulk of the creative work has been taken off you, and you’re left with only the polishing. And if you do it right, you’ll find that there is a decent amount of money there as your refurbished book will grab people’s attention. 

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Currently you have JavaScript disabled. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser.


Kotobee is the complete end-to-end ebook solution for you and your business. Export multiple formats. Deliver securely.

Create, publish, and sell ebooks with ease

Kotobee es la solución completa de ebooks de extremo a extremo para usted y su empresa.

Cree, publique y venda libros electrónicos con facilidad

publishing books in the public domain

Recent Posts

How To Publish Public Domain Books on Amazon – The Candid Cashflow Podcast – Episode 46

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Ava

show notes

Cashflowers! I have sure missed hanging out with you! So, my mom went into the hospital on October 10, 2018 for a simple heart valve replacement. She was only supposed to be in the hospital for a couple days, but she suffered a stroke which was the first of several complications, so I have been MIA for the last 3 weeks!

publishing books in the public domain

I’m so happy to be back, and I’m also pleased to report that Mom is home and doing fairly well. We are not out of the woods by any means, but we are home and that’s HUGE!

You just never know when you’re going to be ripped from your comfortable routine! You also don’t know how much stress you can handle until something like this happens and sometimes you feel like you are definitely not handling it!

Anyhoodles, I’m so happy to be back with you this week! This episode is kind of different because it’s not necessarily something I would encourage you to do on an ongoing basis as a means to make money, but it’s good information to know.

In fact, I’m certain most self-publishing gurus would tell you to steer clear of what I’m about to share with you, and I actually avoided it for a long time. I’m talking about republishing public domain books. Yes, taking a book that is out of copyright and republishing it on Amazon.

If you want to know more about publishing works from the public domain, then stay tuned!

So, I recently hooked my parents up with cell phone service from Ting . Ting is a mobile provider where you only pay for what you use, and phone lines are only $6 per month! If you’d like to find out more about this revolutionary cell phone service, then visit !

I’ve seen marketers who push publishing from the public domain as a money-making method, and I want to be clear that is not what this episode is about.

The things I do online are often fueled by my personal interests and passions. I think this is the way to go! Why try to make money in an industry or niche you aren’t interested in? I would burn out very quickly.

I first came across the book I’m going to be talking about in 2010. I got a Kindle for Christmas and this book was free, so I downloaded it. At the time, I was working 3rd shift monitoring commercial and residential security systems. I had a lot of down time, so I actually read the book.

university of hard knocks

There is a ton of real-world wisdom in that book which was published first in 1913! I was astonished that something that old would still be applicable, but I guess the truth is that wisdom is wisdom. It doesn’t matter when it was dispensed.

I actually devoted an entire podcast episode to this book not too long ago. It was Episode 37 of The Candid Cashflow Podcast . That episode was EPIC! Be sure to grab the show notes for a link at

Selecting a Public Domain Work for Republishing

how to find public domain books to publish on amazon

Both versions were not the most reader-friendly formats. The paperback had page numbers on the INSIDE of the left pages! You can see a picture in the podcast episode I mentioned above. I knew I could do better, and more importantly, I could give this work the stellar look it deserved.

There are many versions of  The University of Hard Knocks on Amazon including a few adapted from the original and some old hardbacks. I felt that I had something to offer here and an opportunity to add value to the book.

So, based on my passion for the book and my ability to produce a better product, I selected  The University of Hard Knocks  to publish from the public domain.

Amazon’s Requirements for Publishing Public Domain Works

amazon's policy for publishing public domain works

I went with the path of least resistance and decided to annotate  The University of Hard Knocks .

I want to mention here that if you’re a self-publisher with the ability to translate or illustrate public domain works, then you absolutely should! By translating or illustrating the work, you are enhancing the work and expanding its reach. That’s valuable! I simply added some questions and activities to the end of each chapter to transform my version of  The University of Hard Knocks into a workbook. This allows readers to skip my annotations or put them to good use. Either way, I’ve added value to the work by formatting it properly.

The Self-Publishing Process for Public Domain Works

The self-publishing process for public domain works is pretty much the same as what you would go through to self-publish your own work except you must acknowledge the work as coming from the public domain in KDP.

how to publish from the public domain on amazon

You won’t be able to participate in options like KDP Select and the Lending Library because the work is in the public domain.

Once you submit the book, you will most likely be contacted by KDP to verify some information about the work you are attempting to republish. I had to provide:

The review period was also significantly longer than usual. Normally, I’m given a 12-hour period in which my book will go live. With the public domain, it was 36 hours instead.

Once I provided the requested information, I had ZERO problems publishing the public domain work on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats. Links will be in the show notes.

Public Domain Works on Other Platforms

publish public domain books on amazon

After that, I usually opt out of KDP Select and publish to other booksellers via Draft2Digital . In the case of public domain works, I’m unable to do that because Draft2Digital doesn’t currently distribute books in the public domain.

If you’re interested in expanding your public domain work to a wider distribution , then PublishDrive is an option. Unlike Draft2Digital, they will consider distributing public domain works and their rules for doing so are pretty much the same as Amazon’s.

Be sure to grab the show notes at because I’m including a ton of links to information in this episode to help you decide if publishing from the public domain is something you want to do.

Benefits of Publishing Public Domain Books

benefits of publishing public domain works

Whether you have annotated, translated, or illustrated the book in order to differentiate it, you’ve still put in the work. In my case with  The University of Hard Knocks,  I chose to annotate it. I added workbook-type sections after each chapter. The reader can skip these sections if they choose or use them.

I was able to produce what I feel is a better product, and I put in the work to do that. The direct result and benefit of that work is being able to turn a profit from it through self-publishing. However, that was not my main objective.

My main objective and benefit for publishing a public domain work was furthering the reach and quality of a book that has touched my life in a positive way.

Public domain books are classics for a reason. They enhance any bookshelf, and if you truly can add to a work in a meaningful way, then you absolutely deserve to reap the benefits of publishing from the public domain.

Problems with Publishing From the Public Domain

how to publish from the public domain on amazon

KDP bans are irrevocable.

Yes, it’s harsh, but Amazon has made a blatant decision to not waste their employee resources on arguing copyright. The bottom line is if you get a copyright complaint on your books, that book gets blocked…end of story.

If you do so repeatedly, you could get banned. I think the ban is an IP ban, so there are loopholes for creating a new account, but if Amazon finds you, they will ban you again even if you have not repeated the previous offense.

These are the risks you should understand as a self-publisher.

If you get thumped with a copyright dispute that goes to court, you could be charged with infringement like Moppet Books. They decided to create picture books for kids based on classics from Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and more. They ended up with 9 counts of copyright infringement to be exact .

As I said early in this episode, publishing from the public domain has been promoted as a money-making scheme, and it’s been done over and over by companies with far better marketing platforms than you or I. To go into this thinking of it as a get-rich-quick scheme is just ignorant.

Let me put it in perspective for you. When Amazon launched Kindle in 2008, they imported tens of thousands of books from the public domain to be available for free on their platform. This was one of their main marketing strategies, and it worked!

There is NOTHING new under the sun, my friends.

Also, public domain books have lower royalty percentages by default. Amazon will only give you 35% royalty, Kobo is even less at 20%, and Apple comes in at the absolute bottom with only 9%.

There’s no real money in the public domain. It’s already been squeezed dry. So publishing in the public domain should only be considered a passion project in reality.

That’s a Wrap!

It feels amazing to be back with you! If you’re publishing from the public domain or considering doing so, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at or leave a comment!

If you liked what you heard, please consider subscribing in your favorite listening app at !

Don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of the show notes so you get all the links and goodies at

I want to give a shout out to Scott J. Marshall II from! Scott was scheduled to be our guest in October, and I had to bail on him at the last minute. We’ll reschedule after the first of the year, so be looking forward to that!

Thanks for listening, and a HUGE thanks to the 404 of you who downloaded episodes in October even though there was no new content for 3 weeks! You are AWESOME!

Remember, I release a new episode each Wednesday barring natural disasters and family emergencies!

Until next time, turning your passion into cashflow!

8 thoughts on “How To Publish Public Domain Books on Amazon – The Candid Cashflow Podcast – Episode 46”

' src=

Ava thank you for giving the details on this book publishing art form. What moved me is your honesty about the potential for sales and your honesty in explaining this is activity of passion. With so many publishers pushing overnight money, this is so refreshing. It sounds like you love the art of writing and have respect for the art form. Taking a well known classic and adding value is what’s needed in this industry. Wishing you the best with your book sales. I’ll check you out over at Amazon.

' src=

Oh wow, Sandy, thanks so much for your comment! I appreciate your kind words.

Gosh. Sorry to hear about your mom. Sending positive thoughts and energy over to you both. You’re right: life is delicate. Each day is a true gift, often overlooked.

Thanks! Prayers alone have sustained us through this difficult time. Thanks again for taking the time to leave your comments today. They are much appreciated!

' src=

Then what about the 70% commission in kdp ?. I want to publish an e-book in public domain and i want to know whether i can write my name too as an author? In kindle digital book?. I want to publish a “how to do” information on a particular software. Every image and information will of my own. But can i mention my name in it?.. and how to publish ebook in kdp amazon at public domain category? I havealready created an acount with bank details. I will appreciate any information . Thankyou nice article. And will be glad if replied 🙂

Thanks for your question, Alekha. I’m happy to answer. What you’re talking about publishing isn’t a public domain work if you’re creating all of the content. You would be eligible for the 70% royalties.

Publishing a public domain work would be taking a book by another author that is out of copyright due to age, and publishing it as your own derivative work. You specify that a book is public domain during the publishing process. There’s a checkbox.

I hope this information helps you out.

' src=

Hi. I was reading your article. Did you have any trouble marketing your public domain books on Kindle?

Nope, no troubles at all.

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

publishing books in the public domain

It’s Yours Now: 2020 Public Domain Books

publishing books in the public domain

The end of every year brings with it a few things: holidays, changes in weather, gift giving (or not), and news of what’s hitting the public domain in the coming year. This year marks the second year we’ll get a slew of new titles published first in English in 1924. Let’s take a peek a the 2020 public domain books and get excited about the possibilities that exist for these titles.

Before that, a primer on the public domain.

publishing books in the public domain

2020 marks the second year that January 1 means we receive new titles into the public domain. It used to happen annually, but in 1998, the Copyright Term Extension Act added 20 years to all copyright. With those extensions expiring, though, new titles will continue to enter annually.

The public domain means that material belongs to the general public. There’s no fear of copyright infringement on books, movies, and other media that hits the public domain, meaning that anyone can do anything creative they wish—this is why we’ve seen things like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in the past. There’s tremendous opportunity for remixing and playing with original works when they enter the public domain, and for creators, January 1, 2020, will prove to be more than just the new year.

Additionally, works in the public domain become easier to access and distribute, meaning that organizations like Project Gutenberg can add more books to their collection. Publishers can also rerelease these books with new covers.

This year, due to discoveries related to paperwork filing, more works were made available to the public domain. As Cory Doctorow explains at Boing Boing: “[U]ntil the 1976 Copyright Act, US works were not copyrighted unless they were registered, and then they quickly became public domain unless that registration was renewed. The problem has been to figure out which of these works were in the public domain, because the US Copyright Office’s records were not organized in a way that made it possible to easily cross-check a work with its registration and renewal.” The New York Public Library and HathiTrust are working to make them accessible . A flavor of the variety of works in the public domain can be found through the Secretly Public Domain bot .

Given the reality of publishing in 1924—the copyright year for which books will be made public domain—this isn’t an especially diverse collection of titles. But the opportunity to reimagine these works with inclusivity in mind is especially exciting.

There are some big radical works hitting the public domain, furthering the excitement for what can be done with them.

2020 Public Domain Books

As always, before embarking on creating with these titles,  double check  that they’re part of the public domain. You can do that here , but note the current chart linked to on their guide hasn’t yet been updated for 2020 (i.e. when authored works published in 1924 or prior are public domain).

publishing books in the public domain

You Might Also Like

8 Books That the Authors Regretted Writing



You are accessing a machine-readable page. In order to be human-readable, please install an RSS reader.

All articles published by MDPI are made immediately available worldwide under an open access license. No special permission is required to reuse all or part of the article published by MDPI, including figures and tables. For articles published under an open access Creative Common CC BY license, any part of the article may be reused without permission provided that the original article is clearly cited. For more information, please refer to .

Feature papers represent the most advanced research with significant potential for high impact in the field. A Feature Paper should be a substantial original Article that involves several techniques or approaches, provides an outlook for future research directions and describes possible research applications.

Feature papers are submitted upon individual invitation or recommendation by the scientific editors and must receive positive feedback from the reviewers.

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

publishing books in the public domain


Article Menu

publishing books in the public domain

Find support for a specific problem in the support section of our website.

Please let us know what you think of our products and services.

Visit our dedicated information section to learn more about MDPI.

JSmol Viewer

The landscape of scholarly book publishing in croatia: finding pathways for viable open access models, 1. introduction.

3.1. Publishers of Publicly Subsidised Books

3.1.1. awarded public subsidies, 3.1.2. size of publishers (according to number of titles and received funding), 3.1.3. types of publishers, 3.2. open access for scholarly books in croatia, 3.2.1. commercial publishers and open or paywalled e-books, 3.2.2. publishers of open access books in croatia.

4. Discussion

5. conclusions, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

Share and Cite

Melinščak Zlodi, I. The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways for Viable Open Access Models. Publications 2023 , 11 , 17.

Melinščak Zlodi I. The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways for Viable Open Access Models. Publications . 2023; 11(1):17.

Melinščak Zlodi, Iva. 2023. "The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways for Viable Open Access Models" Publications 11, no. 1: 17.

Article Metrics

Article access statistics, further information, mdpi initiatives, follow mdpi.


Subscribe to receive issue release notifications and newsletters from MDPI journals


  1. How Public Domain Publishing Can Grow Your Business

    publishing books in the public domain

  2. 15 Authors Share Their Stories & Advice

    publishing books in the public domain

  3. Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon

    publishing books in the public domain

  4. Free Books in the Public Domain

    publishing books in the public domain

  5. Distributing Public Domain Books: Should You Do It?

    publishing books in the public domain

  6. Best Practices for Publishing Public Domain Books on Kindle

    publishing books in the public domain


  1. JUST WILLIAM by Richmal Crompton

  2. Public Library Hacking

  3. Page Publishing Book Club Episode 3


  5. Publishing Insights

  6. #Metzengerstein by Edgar Allan Poe on #MartinLuther (#HolidaySpecial)


  1. Publishing Public Domain Content

    This is a public domain work: Choose this option if you're publishing a public domain book. Keep in mind that the duration of copyright varies between countries or regions. To select publishing rights: Go to your Bookshelf Next to the book you want to update, click the ellipsis ("…") Choose Edit details .

  2. How to Publish Public Domain Books and Why You Should

    As of this writing, that means anything published before January 1, 1926 is public domain in the United States. That date shifts at the beginning of every year. There are some books published after 1925 that are also in the public domain, if the publishers did not extend the copyright after the initial 28 year period.

  3. Reprinting and Selling Public Domain Books: What to Know

    Publishing public domain books offer an opportunity to recycle or repurpose existing works, such as the classics, while adding a new dimension to your writing career. That's right—an author can benefit financially from publishing public domain books, or those books with expired copyrights.

  4. How to publish public domain books?

    And @All: yes, before 1923 is in the public domain (for US publications, as noted above). Other countries who (also noted above) have somewhat different copyright protections, so if considering something published outside the US, you need to check what their terms are. For instance, in the UK the rule is author's death date + 70 years.

  5. The Ultimate Guide to New Public Domain Books

    Project Gutenberg is perhaps the best-known destination for public domain books, and certainly one of the oldest. But both Hathi Trust and Internet Archive also have huge digital repositories, containing millions of titles, and Standard Ebooks is a great source for beautifully formatted and typeset ebooks. When do books enter the public domain?

  6. Books Entering The Public Domain in 2023

    Other Titles Entering Public Domain in 2023 Include: Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop. Countee Cullen, Copper Sun. Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

  7. How to Sell Public Domain eBooks: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Provide 10 or more unique illustrations that relate to the book. 5. Confirm that the work is in the public domain. Don't assume that because you found a book on the Internet that it is in the public domain. Also, you shouldn't assume a work isn't copyrighted because it lacks a copyright notice.

  8. Books Entering the Public Domain in 2023

    But you're here for the new books entering the public domain, and that includes every book published in 1927, as of January 1, 2023. To be exact, books published in 1927, films released in 1927, other works like magazine articles published in 1927, and unpublished work whose authors died in 1952.

  9. Book Publishing in Public Domain

    When publishing a book in public domain, it is important to understand that works enter public domain in more than one way. The owner could deliberately place it under public domain, the copyright may be out of date, or the author might have neglected to follow the correct protocols to acquire the copyright.

  10. Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon

    Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon 364: Public Domain Publishing: $100,000 Selling Classic Books on Amazon Side Hustle Nation is dedicated to improving your personal profitability. To do this, we often partner with companies that share that mission.

  11. Where Can I Download Free Public Domain Books? (HUGE List Of Resources

    The Internet Archive is a top free public domain books download resource! This is digital repository of over 5 million public domain books and other items from 1,500 collections. The collections include the Library of Congress, public libraries, and university libraries. The website is free to use and browse, and you can read the books online.

  12. Books Entering the Public Domain in 2021

    2021 Public Domain Books Given the publishing landscape of 1925, this year's public domain works are predominantly white and male. But now that these works are finally free and clear of copyright, they can be reimagined, modernized, and diversified.

  13. Rewriting Public Domain Books: Everything You Need To Know

    Determine If A Book Is In The Public Domain A work is protected by copyright for the life of the author plus seventy years. So if a person dies in 1960, the book will be copyrighted through the year 2040. You will need to search the internet to see if the book's copyright has expired.

  14. Distributing Public Domain Books: Should You Do It?

    If you decide to publish a public domain book, you still have to have a copyright page: this shows that you created this specific edition. Your copyright page should include "Published by Your Name Ⓒ 2017". Please also include copyright information of the cover and illustrator if applicable.

  15. Public Domain

    The copyright has expired: As of January 1, 2021, works legitimately published prior to 1926 are in the public domain under United States law. After a multi-year freeze which expired in 2019, each year, this "wall" moves, so, in 2022, works legitimately published before 1927 are in the public domain; in 2023, works legitimately published before ...

  16. Public Domain Books: What's New This Year?

    What Is the Public Domain? The public domain includes all of the creative work (such as images, films, books, or music) for which there are no exclusive intellectual property rights. The rights might have been forfeited, expired, waived, or inapplicable. In the United States, every work that was published before 1923 has been in the public ...

  17. Publishing Public Domain Books on Kindle

    How To Tell if a Book is in the Public Domain. The date of the book and age of the author will tell you. A book is copyrighted from the moment it is put in a fixed medium or expression for 70 years after the author's death even if it's not published.. New works enter the public domain every year on January 1, and currently, works from 1924 and before are in the public domain.

  18. Can I publish books in the public domain?

    As a self-publishing service, Blurb doesn't review, edit or monitor the content of books published using our services. This means we can't tell you if a specific book is in the public domain or otherwise legal for you to use. It's up to you to ensure you have the rights to publish the work in question. And if you're selling the book in our ...

  19. Public Domain Books 2022: 10 to Look Out For

    The list of public domain books 2022 below does have a few big names on it, though on the whole next year won't be a big bonanza for suddenly available classics. ... Cather's eighth novel, published in 1926, traces the depressingly bleak fortunes of a number of intertwined, ill-fated people. Or, as Laura Winters more academically puts it ...

  20. Provide the public domain books publishing and formating kdp by

    I will provide you self illustrated or annotated public domain books mostly people don't have the knowledge of books editing or do the same mistakes or publish free books in result they get block permanently. I am 100 percent sure you earn passive income by public domain books. My offer Includes with. 1: Cover Image. 2: Book Title. 3: Description

  21. What Are Public Domain Books and How to Make Money Selling Them?

    You can publish public domain books on your own website, or you can go the self-publishing route and choose from one of the many digital publishing platforms. It just has to meet their required standards. Here are a few examples of these platforms: Amazon KDP Kobo Writing Life Google Play Books Smash Words Wattpad Lulu

  22. How To Publish Public Domain Books on Amazon

    Benefits of Publishing Public Domain Books The most obvious benefit is that you didn't have to write the book. Writing books is a process that can take a lot of time and effort. When you publish works from the public domain, you are able to circumnavigate that process.

  23. It's Yours Now: 2020 Public Domain Books

    2020 Public Domain Books. The Land That Time Forgot and Tarzan and The Ant Man, both by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Man in the Brown Suit and Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie. A Gentleman of Courage by James Oliver Curwood—among the bestselling books of the 1920s. Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey.

  24. KDP Help Center Home

    Public domain The 70% royalty option ... is for in-copyright works only. Works in the public domain or consisting primarily of public domain... or publish an original translation so that your book is not primarily public domain, then it would ... be eligible for the 70% royalty option. Learn more about publishing public domain content. Did this ...

  25. The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways

    Open access to scholarly books is almost entirely in the domain of non-commercial publishers. Most open access titles are available on the websites of their publishers. (4) Conclusions: The analysis of the data from these two sources have resulted in an overview of the current state of book publishing in Croatia.