Thursday, December 11, 2008

Print your own public domain book

In an earlier post I noted the large list of books in the public domain related to biblical studies that have been digitized and posted for viewing or download on such sites as Google Books or Internet Archive. Bob Buller (SBL) alerted me to the fact that you can, and in fact are encouraged, to print any of these books via Lulu or other POD (print on demand) providers. I had some issues getting things to work on Lulu (they seem to prefer PDF text rather than PDF images), but PublicDomainReprints.org is especially designed to work with Google Books and Internet Archive. You can search directly from their front page or enter in the URL of a book you have found. I found that a paperback version of a 150 page book would be about USD $8 and books with 250+ pages would be in the USD $13-20 range (not counting any shipping/handling/tax). If you really want that hardcopy in your hand, this is not a bad way to go.
PublicDomainReprints also has a blog if you want to keep up on latest news. One interesting tidbit I saw there was that the Boston Public Library apparently is the first library to allow scan on demand. Check their list of scannable books, make your request, and it is delivered 5-7 days later in electronic form. The service is even free, but donations are suggested. (And then you can use PublicDomainReprints to get it printed, if you want.) Look for other libraries to start offering this service.

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