How To Use Alibris To Find Public Domain Books
By Steven Chabotte
The very best way to be sure the materials you are using are truly public domain
is to go right to the original published book. But finding an original source
book can be quite difficult. Alibris makes it much easier.
What is Alibris?
In their own words:
Alibris connects people who love books, music and movies to thousands
of independent sellers around the world. Our proprietary technology and advanced
logistics allow us to offer over 30 million used, new and hard-to-find titles
to consumers, libraries and other institutions.
Basically if you know Amazon, you understand Alibris. The crucial difference
is that Alibris allows you to do searches based on publication date and that
makes it very valuable indeed.
How to search.
To start a search, you want to go to the Advanced Search page. Just to to alibris.com
and click on their advanced search button right where it says books. It is located
right below the basic search in the left hand corner of the home page.
This brings you to a page with many input options. In addition to the standard
title, keyword, etc. inputs is one very valuable input near the bottom of the
form. It is called Publication Year - and one of its options is labeled
Before. And that is very powerful.
Lets say you were looking for a book on baseball that was in the public domain.
Put the word baseball in the title and in the publication date/before field
This particular research pulled up over 200 possible books that you have the
opportunity to purchase and turn into a product.
A word of warning
The search results are only as good as the data input by the sellers. This
means that a certain percentage of books will not match your search terms and
a certain number of dates will be wrong - specifically I see lots of books with
a publication date of 1900 which is clearly wrong. (I'm guessing that 1900 is
the default if no date is entered.)
Therefore, before purchasing a book, it is generally a good idea to send a
note to the particular seller to verify the publication date before investing
money in the book.
While I would much prefer seeing the book before making a purchase to verify
that it meets my needs, if the price is reasonable enough, I figure it is just
part of the cost of researching for the product.
Oh, and this is also a good way to search for available books published after
1922 that are in the public domain. For instance if you are looking at doing
a diet related product, you could search for books say before 1960 and then
when you find books with interesting titles, you can then do a copyright search
as discussed in another article on this site (link at end) to see if the book
fell into the public domain. And who knows, this could result in finding a diamond
in the rough. In fact, at least for diet books, there have been several bestsellers
in recent years based on either a public domain book or a government publication.
Good luck with your searching.
About the Author
Steven Chabotte is the webmaster of http://www.thehistoricalarchive.com and http://www.mycitytravelguide.com and a student of the traits of success. Visit http://www.chabotte.com for a complimentary copy of Think and Grow Rich and learn from the masters.
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| Some other articles by Steven Chabotte|