How to Start a Niche Business on the Internet

How to Start a Niche Business on the Internet: Creating Without Writing

How to Start a Niche Business on the Internet: Creating Without WritingDid you know: you can gather content from the public domain, and create your product without writing a single word?

This is one of the most popular ways of creating information products. You can use all or a part of one (or multiple) public domain texts to piece together an entirely new book!

But there’s just one catch I want to warn you about…

You may have heard how “easy” it is to create products out of public domain material.

A lot of people make it sound like all you have to do is search online for an hour or two at places like Project Gutenberg (, download some documents, and then pretty them up in a PDF file.

This is simply not true.

First of all, there are still millions of works in the public domain which have yet to be digitized and placed online. Currently available internet archives house only a fraction of what’s out there.

Naturally, the academic types behind the digitizing of this material started off with the “classics” – things like Shakespeare and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. So, about 90%-95% of what you’ll find in the visible public domain will be useless to you from a niche standpoint.

Here’s what you need to do, and where you need to look:

Point your browser to

Locate your country and select the “Public Libraries” link. On the new page, locate your region (or the one closest to you) and select the appropriate link. Now, you should see a page listing all of the public libraries in your area.

Again, choose the link for the library closest to you.

Once you hit your library’s web site, you’ll need to dig around a bit and find the page where they list “Reference Databases”.

What you’re looking for is your library’s link to the World Cat (OCLC) database. The reason you need to access this via your library’s web page is because World Cat is a subscription-only database.

You get free access to the database via your library’s subscription.

Depending on how your library runs things, you’ll either have a link for remote (internet based) access to the World Cat or you won’t. If you don’t, you’ll need to make a trip to the library and access the database from there. For remote access, you might also need your library card number handy, so have that ready just in case.

Now, what do you do once you’ve got access to World Cat, and what’s so great about it?

Glad you asked….

The World Cat Database contains bibliographic records for every book ever published in the world!

Or pretty close to it. You probably won’t find that book of poetry your next door neighbor created, unless he bothered to copyright it.

When you search World Cat, you can apply all the necessary filters needed to return results of potential public domain materials related to your niche topic.

Let’s say you’re looking for material on “chess strategies”. You would enter “chess” or “chess strategy” as your keyword search, and then filter results by limiting publication date to works published before 1923.

As you scroll through the listings, you’ll find other valuable information as well, like author, original publisher, original publication date – and even better – how many copies of this work circulate in libraries worldwide, which libraries hold a copy of the work and whether that work is available at your local library.

Once you’ve spotted some titles of interest, you can request a copy of the work through the Interlibrary Loan System. The library holding the work will pull it from the shelves and mail it off to your library, and you can pick it up from there.

Now, here’s where things can get frustrating. The standard rule with most libraries is that you can only request about three books at a time through the ILS.

It may take only a few days for a book to arrive, or it may take longer. If you aren’t satisfied with the information in those books, you’ll have to use the loan system again to request new titles and play the waiting game for those.

It’s not a big deal, but it’s a pain if you’re excited and in a hurry to get started. You may want to use the extra time to accomplish other pre-launch tasks.

Regards, Coyalita

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