Questions: Printing books for free distribution

Hello, everyone. Hope everyone is well.

As per the title, I have some questions regarding free distribution books. Not so much as to how they’re funded, but how they’re actually created. Does anyone have any information as to go about doing this on your own?

For example, say I wanted to take an old book, which is no longer eligible for copyright, and publish it under free distribution in print form. Sort of how monasteries give away books. How might one go about doing this? I realize this may just be a question about publishing books, but perhaps someone has experience doing this here.

Thank you.


You can see an example here:

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Thank you very much, @sabbamitta. I did use the search feature before making this thread, but I must have used the wrong terms.


Thank you in any case for making Dhamma books freely available! :pray:

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Long before I became serious about Buddhism, I was an old book nerd.

Make certain that your text is in the public domain before you begin. Then use the tools at, or another online print-on-demand service, to create a print-ready file, and then order yourself a book. I’ve done this with many out-of-print and hard-to-find titles, and it usually costs no more than the price of a paperback book, plus a few hours of work on formatting and layout. This work may test your word processing skills somewhat, but it’s doable, and once you have the skills, you’re free to bring new life to any text that you can find in digital format.

Lulu lets you sell them to others, which I’ve done with the compilations I’ve been making; I sell them at the lowest price that the site allows, which is at cost and no profit to myself.

If you’re interested in using Lulu, their help is generally quite good, but I’d also be happy to field more specific questions by private message, particularly if it’s an old dhamma book that you’re interested in reprinting.


Thanks, I didn’t know Lulu had tools to create print-ready files. I might fool around with them myself for making some Dhamma books (Thig, Thag, spiral bound English-Pali āgamas…)

@Gus, do you have any words of wisdom if I were to undertake something like that? Eg, how did you extract the translations from SuttaCentral (or did you use the SC GitHub)?


I copied and pasted them out of the browser, one sutta at a time. Nothing fancy at all.


Awesome reply, @Gus. I found myself on Lulu soon after creating this thread. I agree, it is definitely testing my word processing skills – of which I haven’t used since High School(and perhaps didn’t pay much attention to :smile:). I’m learning a ton though, and acquiring a new sense of patience. I’ve managed to use to make some book covers; it was a pain to figure out how to add them to LibreOffice Writer, but it was so simple! Figured out how to add a table of contents as well; I’m loving this process, creating books.

If other questions come up, I’ll be sure to send you a message, I’m grateful for your offer. :smiley:


One other piece of the puzzle: I used GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) to make the cover files. It’s free and functionally similar to Photoshop.