Google Books: how to get the full text of public domain books

Found a rare old book on Google Books, but the full text is not downloadable? This way you can get the full PDF.

Google Books: how to get the full text of public domain books

While Google Books has digitised millions of books all over the world with the help of thousands of libraries as part of the Library Project, not all of those digitised books are freely available on the website. Books that are still in copyright cannot be consulted in full-text, even though you might see a snippet preview.

Sometimes, however, Google has not assessed the copyright correctly and the book is not publicly available, although Google has scanned it and it is out-of-copyright. That is the case with all books published before 1900 and some books published between 1900 and 1930.

When you know that Google Books has a scan of a book available, and you believe that the book should be in the public domain, you can ask Google to re-evaluate the copyright situation of that publication. The Google Books team will give you an answer in a couple of days.

Follow these steps to request a copyright re-evaluation on Google Books:

  1. Make sure the book is digitised by checking the bottom part of the Google Books page. If it is digitised it will say “Original from [library]” and “Digitized [date]”.
  2. Click the link “Report an Issue“ in the page footer.

3. A contact form opens. Choose the option “I have a question or feedback about a book“.

4. Under “Categorize your issue”, choose the option “I’d like to see the entire book, and I believe the book is in the public domain“.

5. Under “How can we help you?”, write a short comment like “I think this book is out of copyright and in the public domain. Can you please make the full text available?

The Google Books team will get in touch with you after a few days and usually replies with two emails, informing you first that they have started a copyright review, and finally that the book is now fully available on Google Books.