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How to Turn an Out-of-Print Book Into an E-Book

Updated February 21, 2017

Step 1

Determine the copyright status of the book. Before reproducing any book, you must determine if you have the legal rights to republish. If it is your work, and you already own the copyright, then there is no problem. Many older works are no longer under copyright protection. Visit the copyright website (link in Resources) to learn more, or consult an attorney.

Step 2

Reproduce the original book. There are three basic ways to do this. The book can be retyped into a word processing document or you can eliminate typing and scan each page of the book, using the scanner to create a PDF document. It is also possible to take digital images of each page with a digital camera, and compile the files into a PDF document.

Step 3

Create a portable document format (PDF) file for the e-book. Do this by converting the document you typed, or by combining the images you scanned or shot into one PDF file. If necessary, use PDF editing software to add pages you deem necessary. To convert a word processing format to a PDF format, use PDF conversion software or visit one of the free online converters, where you can upload your document file, and they will email you the PDF file for free (link included in Resources).

Step 4

Sell or distribute your eBook online if you are not violating any copyrights. Upload your PDF file on your website or blog to distribute the eBook for free. Join a site such as Tradebit (link in Resources) to sell the e-book online.

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Things Needed

  • Copy of the out-of-print book
  • Scanner
  • Computer with word processor
  • PDF conversion software

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.