Things to do with Public Domain Books and Periodicals

Last week I promised a post about using public domain stuff over the weekend, but then I got busy doing weekend stuff and forgot all about it, until an email from a reader reminded me.

Sooo… assuming you’ve got a book or two, and a scanner, here’s a list:

1) Let’s start with the obvious. Scan the book and add the whole thing to your website to generate traffic.

2) Typeset and PDF the book and sell it as a niche product — either as is or edited and updated.

3) Update sections of the book and use as articles a) on your own site, b) to submit to article directories, or c) to use as the basis for articles for InfoGoRound so you can get your membership — and the resulting benefits — for free.

4) Typeset and arrange for printing of the book, and a) sell it under your own imprint or b) sell it in bulk to corporate buyers, allowing them to imprint it with their logo. This works well with motivational/business books, of course, but also with cookbooks and other how-tos. For example, a outdoor supply store might be interested in adding their imprint to a wild game cookbook.

5) If you’ve got multiple books on the same topic, you might start there to create a niche ‘quotations’ book. Google searches for Project Gutenberg content with the same niche keywords (search: site:gutenberg.org mykeyword) , plus Amazon’s ‘Look Inside the Book’ feature, and Google Print content are also great places to get a quick collection.

6) Package elements as bonuses to encourage sales through your affiliate link. For example, victorian era magazines tend to have sweet, saccharine poetry. If you collect a number of these, or a number of pithy quotes, or jokes, consider offering them as a bonus if someone buys greeting card software (or folk art how-tos, or scrapbooking supplies/info) through your affiliate link. Have them email you with their proof of purchase to receive their bonus, and you can build your email list at the same time.

7) Scan and clean up images from those old books and magazines and create and sell topical clip art collections. Just be sure to add a ‘clickwrap license’ that says they can’t be resold as clip art, or each sale will create a new competitor.

8) Use the best images to create customized mousepads, t-shirts, mugs, christmas ornaments, coasters, etc to sell online or off.

9) Use a collection of images scanned at high resolutions as scrapbooking printables. Or use as a bonus (as in #6) or Joint Venture product with someone with a scrapbooking product or membership site.

10) Offer the whole scanned book or magazine with derivative rights to other marketers, enticing them with a list like that above of all the ways they can profit from it, and use the money to buy more public domain books and magazines to do the same thing all over again.

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