I love the public domain, as do many of my readers.
Never more so, in fact, than when I find someone making a positive fortune from products every person in the world could claim completely free of charge… and only one person is allowed to sell them.
That person should be you!
Exclusive and very high profit margin products can be obtained from the public domain – a place where everything is out of copyright and belongs to no one – and those products can be recreated and listed on eBay and other marketplaces. Sometimes multiple copies can be priced at and sold for hundreds of pounds each. And even a great deal more, too.
The most important ingredient to making extraordinarily high profits on public domain items is to locate original source products that are rare and possibly unavailable to anyone but you to copy and sell.
For example, the three bound volumes containing 125 true crime magazines from 1904 I bought recently for £22.50 plus auctioneer’s premium.
I’ve now sold those issues individually, priced between £10 and £40 each, and as multiple issue combinations on CD for between £10 and £100 per sale.
I’ve achieved similar results many times in the past for numerous different subject magazines and single book volumes, too.
My secret? Simply, when I see what I think might be rare or even unique publications, I Google worldwide for similar items. If I find just a few or no other copies available at major sites like Amazon, eBay, AbeBooks – and Alibris, I research demand for similar subject books – and if demand is high I buy those rare source publication/s and scan their pages.
Then I enter the image file for each page into a ‘Word’ document and convert it to a PDF file. That file is then sold as print on demand physical books and in digitised format.
My technique is almost certainly used by most people selling public domain reproduction publications priced in the thousands of pounds that mention rarity in their product listings.
This is justification for the otherwise inexplicably high prices for a product that might take less than a day to create and a couple of hours to produce materials to market and list it for sale.
These are the easiest and potentially most profitable ways to recreate and sell public domain products bearing high price tags…
a) As print on demand products where, as the name implies, you only print a customer copy when an order has been placed and payment made.
b) In eBook format presented on CD or as digital download or email attachment. eBooks and other digitised publications are electronic versions created as a PDF (or other suitable format) and designed to be printed off or read on a computer screen.
Incredibly, I’ve seen some print on demand and digitised copies of publications from the public domain priced at thousands of pounds per copy.
There are also publishers with incalculable public domain-sourced items listed for sale on their own websites, and from middleman portals such as eBay, Amazon, AbeBooks, Alibris and others.
Among suppliers of digitised products, for instance, there’s E-Books Delivery Service of Cleveland, Ohio, with 772,985 eBooks listed at AbeBooks.com and MilSpecManuals with 13,688 digitised publications at the same site.
Staying with AbeBooks, a search for ‘print on demand’ will return several million listings, some priced $30,000 plus per copy!
Apart from rarity – even uniqueness – and possibly having more money than sense, there’s just one main reason people pay thousands of pounds for a book hot off the press… the information contained in the book, because the original book is rare or unique, is unavailable from any other source.
Is this a pie in the sky opportunity, or am I the only person who thinks print on demand and digitised products represent a hugely profitable business opportunity devoid of any real start-up costs and lots of places to list your products for sale?
There are no pastry products falling from the clouds going by an article I discovered today. It reveals a long list of ‘non-traditional publishers’, including some publishing unlimited numbers of public domain titles in print on demand and digital format. Have a read of the article by clicking here.
Facts about sellers mentioned at that site, include”
“BiblioBazaar / BiblioLife … ‘Published’ over 250,000 titles in 2009. Ugly covers, but text is reproduction of the original, rather than an OCR conversion.”
You don’t even have to edit the contents of your source product to make a big splash in this business.
Read more about BiblioBazaar and their recipe for success by checking out the article at this link.
“Quill Pen Classics has over 900 public domain titles at Amazon.”
So many titles and so little time taken to recreate and list them online… Now that’s what I want and I’m sure you’d like the same.
And that brings me to two very important prerequisites for making a great living selling high profit products created from public domain material.
1) You must use original items that don’t appear to be available from any other source.
Your source product might be an original unpublished handwritten or vintage typewritten text, for example, or something issued in very low numbers where most other copies are likely to have perished over the years (like my crime magazines).
Also, look out for low subscription newsletters and bulletins issued to professionals like vets, doctors, lawyers, and so on, or covering a subject only the very rich could pursue.
You may have to pay high prices for some of these items but the investment should always pay off.
The best place to find these items is where they are being overlooked by specialist dealers and knowledgeable buyers. At jumble sales, for example, and out of the way auction salerooms lacking an internet presence.
Here are more places to find them:
– Major antiques and collectors fairs where you will sometimes find people selling bric-a-brac and mainly low value items. As they don’t specialise, you will find some of those sellers offering rare publications with low price tags.
– Country house sales where you will sometimes find handwritten items, such as recipe books and military journals, also family histories.
– Out of the way auction salerooms lacking an internet presence, like the one from which I bought those crime magazines.
– Some scrapbooks and journals are handwritten accounts of historical events, some are directly copied from newspapers from one hundred years or more past by people perfecting their writing skills or having nothing better to do with their time.
2) Make sure your recreated version cannot be legally copied and sold and create unwanted competition for you. That might happen where your reproduction version has been recreated with no changes made to its original format – by scanning pages, for example, or retyping the text word for word.
In such a case, your own version might still belong to the public domain and anyone is allowed to copy and sell it.
You circumvent the problem by making significant changes to the original item, by rewording outdated language, for instance, or inserting images where none existed previously. Make sufficient changes and the new version becomes a ‘derivative’ item possessing its own copyright.
You must let potential copycats know your derivative item has copyright protection. Do not reveal what changes have been made from the original or copycats will remove your revisions and reproduce what’s left. All you have to do is include something like this in your product:
‘Copyright XYZ Books 2016. Extensive updates and modifications made to the original published in 1899. No parts of this item may be reproduced without written permission from the copyright owner, XYZ Books. All breaches will be pursued at law.’
And best of all…
Amazon’s CreateSpace platform is where we can have our print on demand products created with little or no upfront investment.
Even better, Amazon’s platform distributes your products for sale on Amazon and numerous other marketing platforms.
Digitised products can be created on almost any home computer. It’s a business I know you’ll love and which I am benefitting from already.
Soon I’ll pass my secrets on to you in the monthly newsletter and in a comprehensive product-sourcing course I am working on right now.
The course will be ready in late October or early November and will only be available through Canonbury Publishing, so keep an eye out for more details in these eletters!
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