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Thursday, October 27, 2005

A free halloween image

Adapted from a cartoon in the Indianapolis Star, October 30, 1910, this graphic shows a police officer looking with dread at a calendar with October 31 circled, and the word BEWARE scrawled across the month.

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The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, Part 2: The Baker

Cookbooks and Recipes are a unique case in copyright law, since lists of ingredients can't be copyrighted. So, any recipe is fair game as long as you completely re-write the directions.

However, a quick recipe for content might contain Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, by Miss Leslie , Ice Creams, Water Ices, Frozen Puddings Together with Refreshments for all Social Affairs and Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes and Home Made Candy Recipes from Project Gutenberg.

Also on Gutenberg are a few volumes from "The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences", namely Essentials of Cookery; Cereals; Bread; Hot Breads and Salads and Sandwiches; Cold and Frozen Desserts; Cakes, Cookies and Puddings; Pastries and Pies

You'll find many, many cookbooks in the public domain in bookstores as well, It appears that few cookbooks had their copyrights renewed.

For a few sure things, check out the Royal Baker and Pastry Cook (1911), Cakes for Bakers (1922) and The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer (1908).

Old cookbooks can get pricey, as cookbook collectors drive up the prices. On the up side, that also means that once you've made your scans, if you're careful not to do any damage to the book, you can probably make a profit by selling the original on Ebay.

If you have any gaps you want to fill in your recipe collection, a FANTASTIC source is old newspaper archives. The largest searchable collection online is at NewspaperArchive.com. There is a fee for access, but it's very reasonable for such a huge and wonderful resource that can serve so many purposes.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 3:45 AM
Edited on: Thursday, October 27, 2005 3:48 AM
Categories: Topic Research

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Public Domain Photos

The Public Domain Clipart Blog offers a sample of royalty-free, copyright-free, high res images from various sources.

The current post is a great vintage thanksgiving photo. I'm off to peruse the other great stuff there now.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 6:57 PM
Edited on: Thursday, October 27, 2005 3:25 AM
Categories: Graphics, Use This Free

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, Part 1: Meat Cutting

Yup, I'm going out for a three part book search post. Why? I don't know. It just came to me while I was reading a book of rhymes to my son.

So, here are some books for the butcher in you.

There's not much this week in the pre-1923 section, but there are some GREAT finds with later dates published by various departments of the U.S. Government, so here are my picks:

  1. Technical Manual - Cutting Of Beef (1943) from the U.S. War Department. 70 pages, includes photos, and is $3.00
  2. Technical Manual - Cutting And Preparing Lamb (1943) again from the US War Department. This one's a little shorter -- 32 pages -- I suppose because lambs are smaller.
  3. The Meat Handbook of the United States Navy (1945): From the foreword, "The Meat Handbook of the United States Navy,published for the training and use of commissary personnel, comprehensively covers the subject of meat utilization at naval activities. The detailed instructions for cutting meat, supported by photographic illustrations, will give practical 'on-the-job' help to personnel in the commissary branch who are charged with stowing, issuing, cutting, and cooking meat for messes ashore and afloat"
  4. Beef On the Farm: Slaughtering, Cutting, Curing (1950) U. S. Department of Agriculture - a small booklet for under $20 bucks. The description of this one states: "Laid in is a 5-page mimeographed report by T. O. Meyer, Department of Animal Husbandry State College of Washington entitled, Selection, Packaging and Freezing of Meat."

Elsewhere, you can grab some freebie diagrams showing cuts of beef, veal, mutton, venison and pork from The White House Cookbook from Project Gutenberg. You might also find The Book of Household Management has some useful information. In fact, depending on where you want to take your topic, the entire Home Economics section of Project Gutenberg should be one of your top bookmarks to see what's new each week or month.

Searching for information on meat cutting at US Government sources might also produce some results. The first item I found on the Google search was this article on Food Processing Occupations.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 5:27 PM
Edited on: Monday, October 24, 2005 5:49 PM
Categories: Topic Research

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Lost Files -- A Review

I've been a member of Russell Brunson's "The Lost Files" for several months, and have gotten a feel for the quality and types of ebooks offered there.

With the site about to be re-launched, I thought I'd pass along some thoughts about the site for those who are hoping to get in the 'second wave' of memberships.

Ratio of Pre-1923 to Renewal Eligible Books:

Of all the books offered to date, only two of them were published after January 1, 1923... the date before which no research is necessary to determine the copyright status of the work.

The ratio 6:1

Niche Diversity:

1 sports/fitness

1 health/nutrition

1 love/romance

1 art/design

10 self help/self-mastery

Usability of Books Offered

There are a number of people on the membership forum currently discussing the distinct lack of sales of the products when they sell them 'as is'

I have not tried to sell any of these books, so I can't say if that's because of poor sales technique, or merely because they aren't saleable in their original form.

I can relate the AdSense earning potential of the books. And the answer to that is... it depends.

Many of the older works are difficult for contextual advertising systems like AdSense to deal with because of the arcane language. With a little effort -- some searching and replacing of words with more modern keywords and phrases, keyword strong page names, AND if you already have a site in the same niche, then it is possible to generate a semi-respectable Adsense commission from the book pages. Not huge, but almost worthwhile.

Setting up an AdSense site specifically from these books -- especially the self-help ones -- is less promising.

Best use, I'd wager, is as a bonus for another offer, or as an offering in a membership site.


I am barely, just barely, making enough from my Lost Files purchases to make it worth while. And the only reason I'm succeeding that much is that I have a few popular sites that are related enough to some of the topics that I could get the content spidered and ranked before anyone else putting the files online, and Adsense ads that lean toward my site's topics, even if the content is a little off.

The Verdict:

If you're confident in your ability to utilize old, old books in the self-help/self-mastery genre, sign up when the site begins to accept memberships again.

If you're not sure, it's probably best to head elsewhere, like EasyNicheProduct.com or NichePD.com.

The former is not public domain, but is very niche oriented, offering three different 'themed' offerings each month. The books are in desperate need of editing as-is, but the niches are ones that have far more potential than the ones from The Lost Files.

The second, NichePD.com, I have not tried yet, but I will join and offer a summary once I get a good feel for what's being offered.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 5:37 AM
Edited on: Monday, November 07, 2005 2:26 PM
Categories: Subscription Sites

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two interesting new books at Project Gutenberg

"The First Book of Farming" by Charles L. Goodrich has just been placed online in the last 24 hours. The HTML version has lots of pictures, and who knows what sort of use it could be put to.

For a more general, and probably more profitable book, check out P.T. Barnum's "The Art of Money Getting". It's a classic book with invaluable advice on earning and retaining wealth.

Finally, I put a new book online at my flagship site.

While Madame le Fontaine's "How to Write Love Letters" is too dated to be of much use to lovers in the age of email and text messaging, it's a great resource for historical romance authors to model their character's correspondence after.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 4:52 AM
Edited on: Thursday, October 20, 2005 4:55 AM
Categories: Use This Free

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Finally got a sales page/download/registration script working

Well, it's been a long time, but I guess some time in the next two weeks PDE will be release to the public. It probably has a few bugs, and a few things that could be added to improve it, but overall, it's done a wonderful job of finding public domain books for me.

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 4:47 AM
Categories: Book Search

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hand Made Rugs

Crafty subjects seem to work well for niche sites, and good collections of patterns can also sell well on Ebay, if packaged right.

So, today I searched for hand-made rugs. Not that I've ever made a rug, or even had the desire to, but I found a pattern for a small rug in an old Harpers Bazar magazine from the late 1800s that prompted my curiosity on the topic.

I found one possibility in the pre-1923 list of my search:

The Craft of Hand-Made Rugs authored by Amy Mali Hicks. The first link is a 1920 edition for $12. There is also a 1914 edition on sale for $17, if the cheaper copy has been sold. If they're both gone, do a new search on the title for any recent additions to the database.

There are also many copies available from the 1930s and 40s, that don't appear to have had their copyrights renewed, but I would stick to the older editions rather than get a new one without an official copyright search.

On the pricey side, I found "History and Manufacture of Floor Coverings" from 1899, which is currently being sold for $90.

As for later books without apparent copyright renewal records, I found one entitled "Handmade Rugs" by Ella Shannon Bowles from 1937, "Hooked Rugs and How to Make Them" by Anna M. Laise Philips from 1925, and "New Ideas for Handmade Rugs" by Elizabeth Varick from 1940.

[Although none of these appear to have a renewal record in the database, I would recommend you first ensure that 1) they were published in the US by 2) an American author and 3) have a qualified attorney or the Copyright Office ensure there is no copyright under a different title or rights holder before re-publishing.]

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Posted by Public Domain Explorer at 9:31 PM
Edited on: Friday, October 21, 2005 2:49 PM
Categories: Topic Research