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Publishing Public Domain Content

A public domain book is one that is not covered by intellectual property rights or copyright, usually because the rights have expired. Once a book enters public domain, it can be reprinted and distributed without the need to get permission from the original author.

Our program allows the selling of content that is in the public domain; however, we may ask you to provide proof that the content you submitted is in the public domain. We may refuse public domain content that's already available through our program or other retail sites. If a free version of a public domain title is available in our store, we will only publish a differentiated version. Differentiated works are original and must meet one or more of these requirements:

  • Translated: Original translations
  • Annotated: Original annotations (additional content like study guides, literary critiques, detailed biographies, or historical context)
  • Illustrated: 10 or more original illustrations relevant to the book

Books that meet these requirements must include (Translated), (Annotated), or (Illustrated) in the title field. For example, "Pride and Prejudice (Annotated)" is acceptable; "Pride and Prejudice (with an Introduction by Tiffany Gordon)" is not. The product description must also include a summary of how the book is original in bullet point format at the beginning of the product description (maximum 80 characters). An acceptable product description would be formatted like the following:

This fully annotated edition of "Pride and Prejudice" includes:
  • Explanations of historical context
  • Literary comments and analyses
  • Maps and illustrations of objects and places mentioned in the novel
  • Citations from Austen’s life, letters, and other writings
Note: Books that are translations of another work must credit the translator in the contributor field. If the work is not a new translation and the translator is unknown, the publisher should list the translator as "Anonymous" in the contributor field. 

It's possible that other features make books unique. However, we only consider public domain titles that meet the requirements listed above to be differentiated. Examples of features we don't consider to be differentiated include:
  • A linked table of contents
  • Formatting improvements
  • Collections
  • Sales rank
  • Price
  • Freely available Internet content

You can choose between two publishing rights’ options in the Book Details section of the title setup workflow:
  • I own the copyright and I hold the necessary publishing rights: Choose this option if your book is under copyright and you hold the necessary rights for the content being published.
  • This is a public domain work: Choose this option if you're publishing a public domain book. Keep in mind that the duration of copyright varies between countries or regions.

To select publishing rights:
  1. Go to your Bookshelf
  2. Next to the book you want to update, click the ellipsis (“…”)
  3. Choose Edit details.
  4. In the Publishing Rights section, select the publishing rights option for your book.
  5. Go to the bottom of the page and click Save and Continue.
  6. At the bottom of the Pricing page, click Publish.

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