Free Public Domain Books

by: Ed Zivkovic

Is it Sinful to Take Public Domain Books and Sell them for Profit?

Public Domain Books and Free Electronic Texts

When a work is in the public domain, it means that the work is free to use without paying royalties.

Some people publish and sell public domain titles and make a good living out of it while other creative plagiarizers wrap their own words around the original work and get rich by re-naming the work and claiming it as their own. This is commonly known as creating derivative works.

These resources are handy if you want to read free books online or wish to publish a regular book or an ebook. It helps if you know what you are looking for. For example, if you know that a particular title's copyright has expired, it's pretty easy to find it by title or author.

On the other hand, if you have defined a market for a particular interest, you can just browse around the public domain sources to create a product that matches your market. For example, if your target market is health and fitness, you might find an old classic diet or fitness book and could easily re-package it into eBook, DVD, or audio book format.

Public Domain and Free eText Sources

Here is some resources where you can locate free public domain books and free electronic texts. I have had to remove a couple of resources from this page recently because they became worthless. They just enjoyed a free link from this page for a few years.

Project Gutenberg

    Project Gutenberg claims to be the Internet's oldest producer or ebooks or electronic texts. You can search their database by title, author or subject. The subject field comes in handy if you are looking to create products for a target market. The site has full instructions on how to define your search and files can be viewed in text format online or you can download zipped texts to your hard drive.

Internet Public Library

    Has over 20, 000 titles you can browse. Search by author or title. The books can be viewed online in txt or html and zip versions of each format can be downloaded. The download links do not open in a new window so you might like to right mouse click on the download links and select the "save as" option to download.


    Alabris is an Online bookstore (not free) which sells physical books. Rare and Collectible Book Search

    How To use Alabris To Find Public Domain Works

    Let's says you used Gutenberg or some other source to find a title you know is in the Public Domain but you are not sure that the electronic version is the original.

    Because you know that a modified version is no longer in the public domain, you have to be sure right! Even if the new publisher changed a few words here and there, that new work now belongs to the new publisher.

    You would then go to Alabris and do a Rare and Collectible book search for the Author, Title or both.

    If you put the max year of publication at 1923, you will find an original work (a used book) in the public domain. You would then need to convert the book to electronic form in order to sell it Online.

    Be aware that some rare books can fetch pretty high prices. For example, I recently did a search for a book that I know is in the public domain (and is difficult to find even at Gutenberg) and was surprised to see the price at $1250.00.

Free Public Domain Books Education

    Reveals how to find, re-package and sell public domain content as your own money making information product while at the same time offers some very useful tips about the legal issues involved when trying to determine if a work is really in the public domain. A very handy course indeed.

PLR - A Public Domain Alternative

Depending on what you want to achieve, and how quickly you want to achieve it, PLR Content (Private Label Rights) can be used as a sensible and flexible alternative to Public Domain because it saves a lot of time.

If you are in a hurry to create a product to sell or to give away in an autoresponder sequence, PLR Content can be considered because just like Public Domain books, you can make your own edits and put your name as the author.