The "Public Domain" Is An Absolute Complete Waste Of Time?

41 replies
I keep hearing about people making money with the "public domain" but I don't get it. If everyone is selling the same old "copied" public domain books on Amazon= and other print on demand book publishers (like Lulu) then where is the value in that? How many compendium CDs/DVDs on ebay can there be for the same old clip art collections and old movies?

Seems to me the public domain is pretty much tapped-out. Unless you're going to re-invent something old or turn it into an absolutely new product, there's little value in churning out the same "me-too" stuff and just flooding it into a new distribution channel (ebay, amazon, bonanza, sell.com, etc.). Once your buyers realize it's "public domain" material they get mad and feel like chumps because they could have googled and got it for FREE.

Has anyone here found a way to milk the public domain in a way that every other info marketing monkey ISN'T doing it? I'd be interesting in hearing, otherwise my conclusion is that the public domain is a complete and utter waste of time. What do you think?
#absolute #complete #public domain #time #waste
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

    I keep hearing about people making money with the "public domain" but I don't get it.
    Commentary, collection, and presentation.

    Imagine that you take the public domain text of Beowulf.

    You read it, and you write down three pages of smart stuff about it.

    Now you bundle up your three pages of smart stuff with the public domain text, and you can go sell that.

    Then you go get some other public domain stuff, and you write a few pages of smart stuff about that, too.

    Bundle up all your public domain texts with your smart stuff, and you can sell that for more money.

    Now you take all that stuff you just collected together, along with your smart stuff, and you print it in a special easy-to-read font with pictures drawn by some awesome artist on thick, glossy, acid-free paper as a large-format hardback. You can sell that for a LOT more money.

    There's a term we use in the IT industry: "value-add." If you have the same thing everyone else has, like say the same damn copy of Windows Server on the same kind of processor with the same amount of memory, you need a value-add to make people want yours instead the other guy's.
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    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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    • Profile picture of the author lucidzfl
      Don't take this the wrong way, but who the heck would pay for a (likely) grade school level written 3 page essay on beowulf?

      I mean I understand you're positing a theory, but thats preposterous. how does a business plan come out of that?

      I really hope you know I"m not being argumentative, I swear. I'm just baffled by the concept.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by lucidzfl View Post

        Don't take this the wrong way, but who the heck would pay for a (likely) grade school level written 3 page essay on beowulf?

        I mean I understand you're positing a theory, but thats preposterous. how does a business plan come out of that?

        I really hope you know I"m not being argumentative, I swear. I'm just baffled by the concept.
        He's not talking about selling the three-pager by itself. He's talking about adding it to the PD book as a value-add and selling the bundle.

        With the right three pages of outside citations, interpretations and links, it would be a very attractive proposition to students looking for a head start on their own (high school or college level) reports and essays.
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        • Profile picture of the author lucidzfl
          A highschooler with a credit card to buy it though? A broke college student willing to pay for a 3 page headstarter?
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by lucidzfl View Post

            A highschooler with a credit card to buy it though? A broke college student willing to pay for a 3 page headstarter?
            Why do you assume that high schoolers don't have access to credit or debit cards? Or that all college students are broke?

            Also, don't fixate on Caliban's example of adding three pages to a book that shows up in Literature class reading lists all over the world. Maybe it's three pages, maybe it's ten, but students will pay for things they believe will give them either a shortcut or an advantage over other students.

            Heck, there was a thriving market for pre-written papers 35 years ago when I first went to college. One of the students in my freshman American Lit class complained loudly that he'd received an F on a paper he turned in, protesting that it was worth an A. The prof, who had a sense of humor, informed him that it was an A paper when the prof wrote it as a student, but since the current student didn't write it himself, it was an F. The cheater was lucky to get away with the F - he could have been expelled immediately.
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            • Profile picture of the author lucidzfl
              Just having a debate about possible monetization scenarios. I, and I think others, learn by use cases.

              And that is something this site is horrifically and tragically lacking in.
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              • Profile picture of the author yukon
                Originally Posted by lucidzfl View Post

                Just having a debate about possible monetization scenarios. I, and I think others, learn by use cases.

                And that is something this site is horrifically and tragically lacking in.
                I realize this is a year old comment but your not paying attention.

                Look around the web, it's full of real public domain content being monetized.

                Here's one example...

                The public domain book Barn Plans and Outbuildings was published in 1881/98 by Orange Judd & Company.

                Dover Publications changed the book title (Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings: A Practical Guide) & book cover art, currently sells on Amazon ($10.54) & Barnes & Noble ($10.43).
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    No two companies will market the same way. Two dozen publishers might take a shot at the same public domain piece, and sell collectively one million copies, of which 900,000 of them might be sold by just one of the publishers.
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    • Profile picture of the author BubbaJay
      I think in almost every market there's still "room"... be creative, be different - or you can just duplicate what works (for say one of the big guys) and get a small piece of the action.
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  • Profile picture of the author PPCprof
    E brian rose?

    i see your mails in my inbox.. lol

    seems familiar.
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  • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
    It can't be as simple as adding value, I mean how do you make yours look different than every other clone item out there? Sure better book covers help, but there's some marketing piece here missing. I guess finding public domain items (movies, books, photos etc.) that people will actually buy is step one. And then digging up fresh stuff and doing your own research not just copying Google Books or Gutenberg stuff over onto Kindle. I mean, actually going to the physical library, digitizing the book yourself then offering that. That way, it's "one of a kind" and unique to you. Am I on the right track? I am willing to give this a try but don't want to waste my time. I just see a lot of public domain clutter and "rags to riches" stories online that make me suspect to the whole ordeal.
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  • Profile picture of the author cage73
    Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

    I keep hearing about people making money with the "public domain" but I don't get it. If everyone is selling the same old "copied" public domain books on Amazon= and other print on demand book publishers (like Lulu) then where is the value in that? How many compendium CDs/DVDs on ebay can there be for the same old clip art collections and old movies?

    Seems to me the public domain is pretty much tapped-out. Unless you're going to re-invent something old or turn it into an absolutely new product, there's little value in churning out the same "me-too" stuff and just flooding it into a new distribution channel (ebay, amazon, bonanza, sell.com, etc.). Once your buyers realize it's "public domain" material they get mad and feel like chumps because they could have googled and got it for FREE.

    Has anyone here found a way to milk the public domain in a way that every other info marketing monkey ISN'T doing it? I'd be interesting in hearing, otherwise my conclusion is that the public domain is a complete and utter waste of time. What do you think?
    I think the public domain is not a complete waste of time and no where near tapped out. Your just seeing the same old tired public domain books for sale because these marketers are too lazy to look for the hidden gems, and yes, there are plenty of them still available.

    Give you an example, last week I was at the theater and saw a preview for an upcoming film. After seeing the preview I realized there was an old movie related to this film that I thought was in the public domain. To make a long story short, The film was in the public domain, I was able to obtain a copy of it, created a few DVD's, threw them up for sale and have made close to $150 on this one product alone, in less than a week from that one public domain product.

    You have to consider this too, the public domain is not just about old books, there is so much more.

    As far as people getting upset if they locate a free version via a google search or whatever, In all the years I have been selling products I have created via Public Domain, and I've been doing it for years, I have never had a customer get upset because they were able to locate a free copy elsewhere. Then again I'm also not selling the same old tired books that you can easily locate for free.

    You have to think outside of the box.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Gary nailed it. The public domain is far from tapped. I'm only guessing, but I'd say less than 1percent has been exploited in the last 10 years.

    No one has mentioned that you can use some types of PD material as a starting point, like PLR, to create new products. Use it as research instead of as is. You do know you can rewrite it, right? You wouldn't want to try to pass off a Shakespeare work as your own no matter how many times you rewrite it, but there is certainly plenty of little known material that could be exploited.

    You can also think in terms of compilations, or themed sets. You just have to be creative in your approach.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Ignore everyone else. Your first instinct is right. Public domain is a complete waste of time. The market is saturated. Amazon restricts it. Just don't bother with it. Run far, far away.

      Feel free to send me all the public domain materials you've researched and acquired. You don't need that clutter. I'll, um, take care of them all for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Do some footwork for people. For example, look through old reciepes and select some that are "diabetic friendly" and compile them into a single publication.

    Or, take a bunch of old public domain movies, go through each and cut out scenes of old cars and make a movie featuring "Old cars in movies".

    Or take an old fairy tale, and add some animated graphics...

    And you don't have to sell them, you can simply use them as incentives to collect email addresses.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Do some footwork for people. For example, look through old reciepes and select some that are "diabetic friendly" and compile them into a single publication.

      Or, take a bunch of old public domain movies, go through each and cut out scenes of old cars and make a movie featuring "Old cars in movies".

      Or take an old fairy tale, and add some animated graphics...

      And you don't have to sell them, you can simply use them as incentives to collect email addresses.
      Oh I like that. But maybe we could go one step further - "Rare Collectible Cars Featured in the Movies". Or "Rare Cars That Were Only Seen in Movies". Or even "Nitrous-Boosted Cars Seen in Old Movies". or "Whatever Happened to These Rare Cars Featured in Old Movies?". And "Make-Out Cars Featured in Sixties Movies".

      I could go on all afternoon.

      This is pretty cool - Eleven Famous Cars From the Movies | Booth Reviews
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Do you realize almost every single thing that "dover publications" sells, is public domain? A very small percentage of what they sell is original content.

    Walk into almost any book store or crafts store in the USA & you'll see them selling public domain content.

    [source]
    The company publishes more than 9,000 titles (including a wide variety of paper dolls) in about 30 special interest categories such as philosophy, art, and history. It also produces related items such as children's activity books, music scores, and clip art. Dover sells its products to bookstores and mass merchandisers, as well as specialty retailers such as gift and craft stores. In addition, the company sells books directly to customers through catalogs and its retail Web site. Now owned by book manufacturer Courier Corporation, Dover Publications was originally founded in 1941 by Hayward and Blanche Cirker.
    Dover is a subsidiary of "Courier Corporation" which is traded on the stock market CRRC.

    The trick with public domain is you need to re-package the content into a better product than already exist. Example Dover collects public domain clip art from thousands of books, then creates a new book cover, combines all the clipart into a new book. No text, just thousands of cliparts.

    You could do the same as Dover, for example collect thousands of public domain poems, create a new book cover, etc... & sell the book on Amazon, etc...

    Still think public domain content can't be sold?

    Your job is to verify the content is public domain.







    Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

    I keep hearing about people making money with the "public domain" but I don't get it. If everyone is selling the same old "copied" public domain books on Amazon= and other print on demand book publishers (like Lulu) then where is the value in that? How many compendium CDs/DVDs on ebay can there be for the same old clip art collections and old movies?

    Seems to me the public domain is pretty much tapped-out. Unless you're going to re-invent something old or turn it into an absolutely new product, there's little value in churning out the same "me-too" stuff and just flooding it into a new distribution channel (ebay, amazon, bonanza, sell.com, etc.). Once your buyers realize it's "public domain" material they get mad and feel like chumps because they could have googled and got it for FREE.

    Has anyone here found a way to milk the public domain in a way that every other info marketing monkey ISN'T doing it? I'd be interesting in hearing, otherwise my conclusion is that the public domain is a complete and utter waste of time. What do you think?
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    • Profile picture of the author roblawrence
      Why can't you just buy the Dover books then, re-assemble their clipart into a new book and sell that? Isn't that the danger of selling public domain material, that people will simply buy your item then go into business AGAINST you and steal you future customers and drive the price of the item down? I see this all over Ebay with those compendium CDs/DVDs of material. They just steal from each other and drive sales down to a penny and try to make money on the shipping.
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

        Why can't you just buy the Dover books then, re-assemble their clipart into a new book and sell that? Isn't that the danger of selling public domain material, that people will simply buy your item then go into business AGAINST you and steal you future customers and drive the price of the item down? I see this all over Ebay with those compendium CDs/DVDs of material. They just steal from each other and drive sales down to a penny and try to make money on the shipping.
        You can't do that!

        Notice I said,

        A very small percentage of what they sell is original content.
        Dover is smart to protect what they publish.

        They do create some of their own content, so the problem is you have no idea which content is protected & not public domain. A single book can contain protected & public domain work, again, you have no idea which is which.

        They might have maybe 10% of the book that isn't public domain (artwork or text).

        You can't just copy their new book. They did the research to find the public domain content for their books, you have to do the same, unless you enjoy being sued (I don't).
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    • Profile picture of the author mrozlat
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Your job is to verify the content is public domain.
      How may this be done?
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

        It can't be as simple as adding value, I mean how do you make yours look different than every other clone item out there? Sure better book covers help, but there's some marketing piece here missing. I guess finding public domain items (movies, books, photos etc.) that people will actually buy is step one. And then digging up fresh stuff and doing your own research not just copying Google Books or Gutenberg stuff over onto Kindle. I mean, actually going to the physical library, digitizing the book yourself then offering that. That way, it's "one of a kind" and unique to you. Am I on the right track? I am willing to give this a try but don't want to waste my time. I just see a lot of public domain clutter and "rags to riches" stories online that make me suspect to the whole ordeal.
        Rob, everything you mentioned as a possible "value add" really isn't. Adding a new cover, get-rich-on-Kindle style, doesn't add anything for the reader.

        Finding an old text and digitizing it? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how many other versions are floating around.

        You seem to be looking for ways to exploit (and here i use the term with affection) PD material without having to exercise any skull sweat of your own. There are enough ideas in this thread alone to make you a rich man if you do it right.

        Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

        You wouldn't want to try to pass off a Shakespeare work as your own no matter how many times you rewrite it, but there is certainly plenty of little known material that could be exploited.
        Dennis, I got three words for you...

        West. Side. Story.

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  • Profile picture of the author Targeted Traffic
    Well it is part of the common cultural and intellectual legacy and is a good source of online inspiration, imagination and also discovery for new and old creators. I dont think its a waste of time
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    One more thing...

    A wee, tiny bit of creative thinking goes a long way in the PD field. Do something no one else is doing. For example, turn a popular public domain book into an audio book. Audio books are popular, and I don't see many people exploiting the public domain that way.
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    Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone changes the rules.

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    • Profile picture of the author dark witness
      It sounds to me like you are tricking your brain into thinking there has got to me more to it when the reality is.... there isn't.

      There is a lot of great info being shared.

      you could always create a website hosting content and then add a content locker on it so they fill out a cpa offer or something. I am sure there are many many ways if you think about it, but that is what I would do.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChasHicks
    I have used PD content for years and continue to do so every chance I get. I started with a series of books back in 2006 - some of the same ones many other folks were using. But I packaged it differently, had audio books made of them, sold them in both printed books and downloads, etc. Most of those were books written back in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

    In the last 5 years I have created a whole range of products in 3 different niches. Plus, I use PD content as bonuses and/or upsells. I also use PD content for blogs and articles. Sometimes I use it as-is, other times I change it up a little to make it unique.

    Most recently (last week), I researched two different consumer niches and used PD content from current government sites to create and launch 2 Kindle books.

    Also - I use PD photos, movies, articles, etc. - both old and new - all the time across many niches. I have created one membership site strictly from PD movies. And another one that is about 30% PD content.

    I assure you, there are thousands of opportunities to use PD content. Much of it "as-is" or used in conjunction with some of your own content, additions, etc.

    I could go on...but you probably get the idea.

    Charlie
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  • Profile picture of the author ladywriter
    You just have to use your brain a bit.

    Public domain materials =/= automoney. You do have to make it different and palatable to a customer.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    It's possible that parts of these Geico commercials are public domain. I havn't checked, just saying they use a lot of old video in their commercials. Some of the video is new & blends in with the old video, example, the cat & dog chase.

    Warren Buffett is the worlds 3rd wealthiest person & owns Geico.






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  • Originally Posted by roblawrence View Post

    I keep hearing about people making money with the "public domain" but I don't get it. If everyone is selling the same old "copied" public domain books on Amazon= and other print on demand book publishers (like Lulu) then where is the value in that? How many compendium CDs/DVDs on ebay can there be for the same old clip art collections and old movies?

    Seems to me the public domain is pretty much tapped-out. Unless you're going to re-invent something old or turn it into an absolutely new product, there's little value in churning out the same "me-too" stuff and just flooding it into a new distribution channel (ebay, amazon, bonanza, sell.com, etc.). Once your buyers realize it's "public domain" material they get mad and feel like chumps because they could have googled and got it for FREE.

    Has anyone here found a way to milk the public domain in a way that every other info marketing monkey ISN'T doing it? I'd be interesting in hearing, otherwise my conclusion is that the public domain is a complete and utter waste of time. What do you think?
    Hi Rob,

    What a great thread you've started and such compelling questions.

    However, the Public Domain area is a VAST, VERY VAST AREA to tap into. So, my answer to your question is NO. It is not a waste of time, nor has it been totally tapped out. Far from it.

    You don't necessarily have to use old books, you know!

    You can use images and create a plethora of gifts. Let me give you some examples of what you can do:

    You can create ORIGINAL AND AUTHENTIC PIECES SUCH AS:

    Puzzles
    Post Cards
    Posters
    Hand Bags
    Hats
    T-Shirts
    Recyclable Grocery Bags
    Fashionable Hand Bags
    Neck Ties
    Shoes
    Skateboards

    The list goes on and on.

    I hope I've sparked some ideas for you to use instead of re-publishing books, if that's not your bag.

    Like others have said, "you need to think outside of the box".

    By the way, here's a video on a couple of young business guys that didn't like to wear ties that made their millions by selling neckties. It was aired on an MSNBC episode of "How I Made My Millions".

    I hope you find some Unique and Creative Public Domain Ideas and Inspiration from this video:

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=1588628098

    If you need any further help, please let me know. I will be more than happy to help you.

    Happy Public Domain Hunting!

    JMB
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Rob:

      "where is the value?"
      "same old clip art collections and old movies"
      "public domain is pretty much tapped out"
      "once your buyers realize it's public domain material they get mad"
      "they could have googled and got it FREE"
      "public domain is a complete and utter waste of time"

      Rob, you have to open up your mind a little bit.

      You sound as though you're writing off public domain because you're looking at it without applying any real work or creativity. When you approach it in a "lazy way" like that (i.e. copy the manuscript, turn it into a book, and try to sell it like everyone else) you are bound to get disappointing results.

      Here is a list of ten ways I've used PLR:

      1. Break up a book into "single idea" articles and post them with your own keywords and branding so that you get backlinks and some visitors to your web site.

      2. I love vintage graphics and so do others (see all the big sellers on eBay). But don't just make a collection of graphics -- use them in your advertising, as ebook illustrations, in banners, etc. It's easy to strip old text from great graphic images. You can also simply get some great ideas from vintage ads for your own modern-day creations without actually using the graphics.

      3. There are millions of old music sheets available that are a real novelty and many people (singers, musicians, patriots, Christians, etc.) will buy them to get access to forgotten or unknown tunes.

      4. Pick the right kind of "evergreen" content to go after. Things like home remedies, survival tactics, and gardening still work today just like they did a hundred years ago. The lesson is -- public domain is hot in certain niches so you must do some work to find out what niches still excite people and sell best.

      5. There are tons and tons of great resources put out be the federal government, some as new as this year. I know a guy selling a 30 page report to small businesses on a tax related topic -- it came straight from the IRS and anyone could get it FREE. The point is, he found it, marketed it, and is now reaping the reward. Lots of freely available stuff on the Internet is never found by folks because they don't know where to look or they are fine with paying a small fee to have it handed to them on a silver platter. That is especially true with collections of tightly niched resources (like a package of 50 ebooks on how to raise chickens).

      6. Did you know that there are many magazines in the Public Domain? Talk about a goldmine of resources. These articles could make great "how to" information, content for a niche membership site, short report content, and on and on ...

      7. Most marketers do nothing but pitch sales messages to their email lists. Why not present great niche content to your subscribers as a way of nurturing your list? Good public domain materials take very little re-writing. Your customers will appreciate it given to them freely and will probably not know that it's PD.

      8. There are lots of pulp fiction stories from tabloids in the public domain. These are the exact kinds of content that could make short 20-40 page Kindle books selling for $1.99. You'd be surprised how good some of these are at drawing interest (and most have a "national enquirer" type graphic and headline that you can also use.)

      9. I have found dozens of collections of "royalty free" artwork on DVD that can be used for any purpose. The images could be used on note cards, calendars, posters, wall art and even things like tee shirts and tote bags (think Etsy or Zazzle.)

      10. Why not find an obscure niche and hunt for related public domain material to compile into a collection and sell? Cooking is a great niche and how much has it changed over the years? Yes, there have been some innovations in equipment, but you could focus on 100-year-old fantastic recipes made from all natural ingredients just like great grandma used to make. Sell 500 recipes on a DVD with associated artwork.

      This is just a scratch on the surface of what's out there. I've said too much, I suppose. Can't give away all my secrets! Now go out and be creative and find your sources -- they are freely available to anyone who is willing to put in a little effort to uncover them and then turn them into something unique and desirable.

      Good luck,

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author celente
        Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

        Rob:

        4. Pick the right kind of "evergreen" content to go after. Things like home remedies, survival tactics, and gardening still work today just like they did a hundred years ago. The lesson is -- public domain is hot in certain niches so you must do some work to find out what niches still excite people and sell best.

        Steve
        WOW steve, you gave some great tips, although I like your 4th one there.

        Lots of people try 1 niche and fail and then claim this IM stuff is BS and a scam. But you really do have to pick the right niche to get some good results. The niches you recommend are good, along with relationship, financial niches, and health and wellness niches. These have worked well for us in the past.

        But if you are going to do work in teh public domain or use, it, you better do a lot of homework first there is alot of junk out there ready to be grabbed. SO it takes a bit of sorting.
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        • Profile picture of the author ForeverMoore
          Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

          "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
          Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. patent office, 1899
          Wow, the arrogance, the short sightedness, the irony, the unmitigated gall is just unbelievable in this assumption.
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  • Profile picture of the author rickfrazier1
    The big problem isn't with public domain material, it is with the expectation that is set by certain vendors that you can grab a bunch of PD material (or PLR) pop a cover on it (or not) and post it, then sit back and wait for the millions to roll in.

    Not gonna happen!

    Though many folks put PD and PLR in the same mental category, they are entirely different animals.
    PD is in the Public Domain, and can be used by all. PLR is Private Label Rights material, and is sold to you with the right for you to relabel it as your own (if you purchase resale rights), or resell it to others unmodified (if you purchase master resale rights). PLR is NOT PD, though you can find a fair bit of PD in PLR packages...

    PD content, in and of itself is a goldmine of information and inspiration. Properly used as source information for new publications (books, ebooks, reports, tutorials, audio and video programs, etc.) PLR is often just as valuable.

    The largest problem with PD and PLR is ensuring you really do have rights to use the content. With PD, it isn't all that difficult to find out if something is actually in the Public Domain. However, with PLR, it can be nearly impossible sometimes to determine if the seller (you are buying from) actually has the rights to resell to you. It's really a big bag of worms with Information Marketing topics, because there are so many similar methods being sold by a huge variety of folks. Most of the content I've seen lately is only a small variation of a very common theme, and perhaps the only thing different is the method of presentation.

    Given a decent niche, you can use PD material to and create new publications by re-writing it, or creating a synopsis or compilation and do pretty well.
    I know there's money to be made using PD and PLR as source material, but if you have the idea you can slap a new cover on a PD title, post it and make a ton of money, I'd suggest you don't hold your breath waiting for the checks...
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    • Profile picture of the author Laurie Rogers
      I was actually watching a few people use PD content for their promo vids on youtube to push new products. They took some old movie clips, added in some sound effects and voice overs, looked pretty snazzy to me. And Frank Kern posted a vid about this a while back, where some dude used PD content to make late night commercials that ran on TV. Although he wasn't talking so much about the content, as he was about experimenting with buying ad spots on late night television, it was pretty interesting none the less.
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  • Profile picture of the author waywrite
    As for opportunities...you create your own with Pd...look at "The Secret" it has made millions. You can take known material, do some research, rewrite and repackage, invite known experts to interview and make comments on video and voila you have a new creation with legitimate value. Every year the same fairy tales are retold with new artwork and not only sell but win awards. It is work like anything else, but can be done.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
    Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. patent office, 1899
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    • Profile picture of the author adamj2
      There are literally infinite things you can do with PD stuff.

      It is so much more to do than just reselling a classic eBook on eBay for $0.99!

      People will be prepared to pay money just to have an audio book version of a well known public domain book.

      Let alone the possibilities to repackage it into your own unique product and sell it for good money.

      It is like PLR in a way and it cuts out the research for you.

      But the quality is likely to be better as public domain books (how to guides etc.) were once sold as a product and are therefore of very high quality, so if you can update them to make them relevant to modern times then you can have an excellent product on your hand.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve King
    I have been selling PD vintage Images as reproduction photo prints for just over a year and have had some reasonable success. It's a business model that is evergreen, don't cost a great deal to get started with and has good margins.

    I am now looking at other ways to sell the images - perhaps table place mats, or printed t-shirts, maybe greetings cards or calendars...something that no-one else is doing

    And no matter what I choose to do as long as I back it up with great service and support I'll do ok

    PD is a great business model if you take the time to research what works and find an audience that wants to pay for what you have
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  • Profile picture of the author duplication
    What you see as an obstacle others see as an opportunity!
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  • Profile picture of the author freedom132
    I'm sure there's value in public domain, but I'd prefer using PLR and combining it with other information to make it more unique.
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  • Profile picture of the author peare7
    There is great value in the Public Domain. More and more I am seeing people taking snippets and story-lines from the Bible (there are Public Domain versions) and incorporating the content into their movies. Even nursery rhymes take from the Public Domain what the bible has to offer. For instance, Mary had a little lamb ... it followed her etc. In the Bible it says that the virgin Mary had baby Jesus and while she was not initially happy that He did not follow her back home from the Temple at age 12 we see in Revelation how the 144,000 follow the Lamb (Jesus) wherever He goes! The nursery rhymes have twisted it a bit. I even did a university thesis once showing how one celebrated Spanish novelist took Revelation's 22 chapters and twisted the details to make his apocalyptic novel 22 chapters long. For example, Rev. 4 says that there was a door open in Heaven and there was thunder and lightning. The Spanish author in chapter 4 of his book says that two men were trying to get a piano through a door but the piano fell and the noise it made was like thunder and lightning. Every chapter of that novelist's book was a parallel or contrast of the corresponding chapter in Revelation. Now, I'm not saying to twist the Bible. I am just showing how one novelist used a Public Domain book written thousands of years ago (not just decades), a book that many have maligned, created a new product and the world considers him a literature genius for his style and originality.
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