Selling Public Domain Books

By Nate McCallister

Last Updated June 1, 2021


Looking for a unique way to add some flare to your business this year? In this article,. I'm going to show you how to legally profit from the content of some of the greatest authors of all time. You can  do this thanks to something called "pubic domain books."

Public domain books are books with expired copyrights. This means that you can use them without paying royalties or facing lawsuits.

The beautiful thing is that there are 100s of 1,000s of these books out there in the public domain. This means that there is likely something int he public domain that could be relevant to your unique niche or business.

For example, if you own a blog about cooking, you could give away public domain  cookbooks as lead magnets to grow your list!

The potential here is limitless. In fact, you might have noticed that I'm doing this exact same thing here with a free copy of "Think and Grow Rich" as a pop up. 

When Does a Book Enter the Public Domain?

In the United States, all books published before 1926 are in the public domain. 

Other than that, book copyrights last for 95 years

In the United States, all books published before 1926 are in the public domain. 

Other than that, book copyrights last for 95 years

An author automatically claims copyrights to the works they publish, but some authors release books straight into the public domain.

Public books are books available to everyone for free but there is no law that states you can't still profit from them.

Where to Find Classic Books

Now that you know about public books, you're surely wondering where you can find them. You can do a Google search to find books available to the public, or you can go to websites dedicated to public books.

Here are my favorites. 

There are dozens of options but these are the best I've found. 

Selling Classic Books

No matter the business you run, you find books related to what you sell and place them in a visible location. Offer specials and discounts to gain traction, or bundle your books with other items to increase the perceived value of your products and services. 

Offering Classic Books as a Bonus

Offering classic books as a bonus is another smart way to utilize public domain books. People are much more likely to buy from you when you increase the perceived value of the sale, and offering a bonus does the job. You can take this tip a step further. List your book for sale so that your customers see the value of the free bonus.

Marketing Your Classic Books

Marketing your classic books is not as hard as you might think, but it takes some planning. You want to know your audience and how receptive they are to your books, and you will be off to a great start.

Many people market their books on Facebook and other social media sites, which is a great option. You can also post your books for sale on your website if you have one. Use Google and other search engines to give your book the exposure it needs to achieve higher levels of success, and you will be off to a fantastic start.

Publishing Your Titles on Amazon

Amazon lets you publish public books if you follow their guidelines. You can publish normal copies of your book or sell Kindle versions of it. Amazon reviews each book you publish before putting it on the market. If someone else already published the book you want to sell, Amazon might decline your book. It does not hurt to try publishing it and to see what happens.

Additional Considerations

Keep these additional considerations in mind if you are not sure where to go from here. If you have trouble publishing your book, edit and improve it for better results. By adding or updating content, you make a public book unique, and you earn a better response. Also, ensure the book you publish is really in the public domain before taking action. You don't want to make mistakes when it comes to copyright laws.

About the author

Nate is the founder and main contributor of EntreResource.com. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his four kids Sawyer, Brooks, Van and Lua with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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