Book Review: The Public Domain Publication Bible

Qualification: The Public Domain Publications Bible

Subtitle: How to Create Lifetime “Copyright” Income

Author: Andras Nagy

Editor: Murine communications

Publication date: 2011

ISBN: 978-0-982499412

I really enjoyed reading Nagy’s book. It’s a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide on republishing public domain books as a way to get started as a self-publisher. There is a great emphasis on starting and running a desktop publishing company on a very tight budget. There are many practical tips and resources for doing this. It was very helpful to read about how, what and why Nagy republished books that are in the public domain. This is a practical how-to book that will appeal to all budding entrepreneurs looking for a way to enter the world of publishing. I wish I had found this book before I started as a publisher of public domain books. I had to discover all this information on my own by doing a lot of research over a long period of time.

One of my favorite tips appears at the beginning of Nagy’s book when she recommends that a novice editor pick a genre they know something about. It should be a topic that you already like and that you can easily see yourself spending time and money on. Nagy suggests, “If you want to publish classical literary works, you should read and study their genre. If you like poetry, you may want to try that genre first.”

Nagy gives us another great piece of advice when she emphasizes that we should consider adding original content to the book without copyright. This will add value to the final book. This added content, such as “editorials, footnotes, and illustrations,” will help your readers more easily understand the content of the original book. It will also help the buyer choose their “value added” edition over all others that are available for sale that do not have the additional content.

In Nagy’s Foreword, he explains that “the cornerstone of using public domain information is to creatively build on existing ideas and works of art.” “With some fresh ideas and using this book, anyone can do what I have done with very little money. There are many aspiring authors who find it comforting to run a publishing house while working on their own creative literary impulses.”

As a publisher of public domain titles, I can personally testify that Nagy’s information and advice can work. My wife Michele and I own and run a medical training company here in New York. Most of our students are nurses. We found that many of them, especially the younger ones, had never heard of or read the works of Florence Nightingale. So we decided to republish Nightingale’s most famous book, Notes on Nursing. We added quite a bit of new content to make the book much easier to understand and use. We like to say that we made the book “student friendly and teacher friendly.” We added a foreword, section titles, focus questions for each chapter, a glossary, Nightingale citations, an index, footnotes, and a list of additional sources. The book was well received and has become required reading in many universities in the United States. We like to think that our book played a small role in the wave of renewed interest in Nightingale.

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