What is a public domain work?

A public domain book is one that was either never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. It might be a novel like Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (first published in 1851), an ancient work like Aristotle's observations on bees, or any one of the millions of scholarly, practical and entertaining works written since the days of clay tablets and papyrus scrolls. These books represent a wealth of knowledge that often is not easily discovered, so we're excited to help our library partners share these works with the world. Books that we have determined are in the public domain are fully available in Google Books - that is, you can page through the book from start to finish.

Please be sure to read our recommendations for reuse if you want to make use of these works.