Using Public Domain Books to Create New Books with AI

By | July 14, 2023

Members of my AI tools such as GPTDash and AI Children’s Book Maker have seen my tutorials showing how to create completely new and original books using AI.

Here’s another possibility: using old books to create new ones.

Specifically, I’m talking about tapping into the goldmine of existing public domain works to create new and exciting books using the power of AI.

Using public domain material can actually have a couple of benefits compared to completely AI-generated material.

1) Many of these public domain works are classic books filled with timeless stories. They are truly remarkable pieces of literature, the likes of which cannot simply be created from scratch by AI.

2) It is possible to leverage the fame and demand for many of these well-known authors and titles, by creating adaptations.

For example, Beatrix Potter stories will remain popular for the rest of our lifetimes. Because her work is in the public domain, it is possible to capitalize on it by adding a new spin.

Many famous books and movies of today are adaptations or retellings of old stories. Based on my initial research, it seems that we are early enough in the AI game that it has not yet been used much for this purpose. In other words, the market is wide open for AI-assisted modern adaptations of old stories.

Here is a free tutorial I created to show some ways to create new books using public domain works and AI:

Within this tutorial:
Overview of using public domain books 00:05
Amazon market research 08:37
Adapting an old short story into a children’s book 15:20
Adapting a poem into a children’s book 23:18
Adapting a novel or chapter book into a modern book 26:52
Disclaimer about content 30:45
Using AI to create new illustrations 32:13
Wrap-up 41:05

Recommended Resources from this Tutorial:

1000 Public Domain Children’s Books

1000 Public Domain Classic Novels

AI Children’s Book Maker

GPTDash Dashboard

Thanks for checking out those resources, and have a great day!

18 thoughts on “Using Public Domain Books to Create New Books with AI

  1. Mike Gorman

    A very interesting concept Eric, thank you for the tutorial – i might grap the PLR from your link to thank you, I think my eldest daughter could run with this, she has her 1st child and is looking for a lucrative side-hustle! Cheers from Perth Australia.

  2. Dave

    Hi Eric – thanks for this tutorial. Very interesting. Where are the prompts that you used?

    1. Eric Post author

      Rewrite this story in modern vernacular, in a casual tone tone as a typical American would speak. Write it for children aged 8-10, using only words and phrases that they would understand. This is an entertaining story for children. If there are items or words that children would not easily recognize, replace them with ones that children will understand.

      Rewrite this story as a children’s book for ages 8-10. Divide it into pages with page numbers inserted.

      1. Donna B

        Thank you Eric! The prompts are really helpful. I have both of your AI tools and they are FANTASTIC! GPTDash has quickly become my “go to” for … well, just about everything! Thanks for the tutorial, for sharing your prompts and for the best AI tools out there!

  3. Sheena Mai

    Hi Eric,
    It’s really a very useful video, just what I’m looking for! I just want to ask, do I classify this newly created book under “I own the copyright” or “Public Domain books” when I publish on Amazon KDP?

    Also, do I add “retelling of …” in the title of the new book?


    1. Eric Post author

      If you’re publishing the original text, call it “public domain” but if you’re rewriting it with AI I would say “own copyright”. (FYI- in the AI Children’s book maker there is a 9 minute video in which I discuss AI and copyrights).

      Regarding “retelling of”… I would say it depends on how you see it from a marketing standpoint. For example, if it’s a FAMOUS title like Peter Rabbit, then you might want to use “Retelling of…” because buyers are interested in the original story. If it’s a title that most people aren’t familiar with, then I wouldn’t take that approach. I’d just give it a new title and market it as something new.

  4. Sheena

    Thank you so much for your reply! Yes, I have your Children’s Book maker, I’ll check out that video again.

  5. Luke Indran

    Just because something is legal does not mean it is moral. Whether an author is dead, the author owns the work. Without the consent of the author, nobody has a right to adapt works of the author. Hence, creators of modern adaptations (such as 20th Century Studios’ Great Expectations, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, and BBC’s Sherlock) are guilty of theft. Actors are not permitted to record even audiobooks of classic novels. This time, the law is wrong!

    1. Eric Post author

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but public domain is not solely controlled by whether the author is dead or not. In some countries it is tied directly to the authors death + 70 years or more. But in the USA it has more to do with the simple fact of copyright expiration, or inability to copyright a work. I also tend to disagree with your moral argument. If we didn’t create modern adaptations, the public would forever lose interest in most of those old works and they would never be enjoyed again.

      1. Babu Rao

        Yes… The matter of Adaptation is all about Contextualisation. The master key to keep things relevant to the then generation. With time words, phrases ( etymology) change calling for an imperative need of fresh interpretation. Eric’s second part of the above response is powerful. This is another reason I don’t see that i am stealing or copying anyone’ exact work. This is my own ‘Original Interpretation’.

  6. Carlos Irady

    Hi Eric! Thanks a lot for your valuable help and expertise!
    I just wonder if I translated everything (prompts, content, etc.) into another language, e.g. Spanish or German, would I then get similar results with ChatGPT? The purpose is to reach other readers as well, not only English speaking readers…
    Regards from Spain!

    1. Eric Post author

      Yes, absolutely you can do that. Our GPTDash also works with Spanish and other languages.

  7. Corey Wilkinson

    Thank you as always super awesome. I purchased thru you link of course. Always a learning experience with you
    Corey Wilkinson

  8. Alistair Norburn

    What an interesting study of how to make money rewriting these old books. Time to get my bank card uot and dip in to more creating.


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