I know some really good books which are extremely long (e.g. 1000++ pages). It would be good if more people can know the content of those books. Unfortunately, they did not even start to read them unless they were much shorter, which is reasonable, not everybody have the time and/or discipline to finish such a long books.

What were the legal bounds or ethical issues if I created a shortened/summary version of those books (let's assume I do not copy any sentences from the original books, but I may use some of the examples of theirs and the logical structure of the books would be the same) and I self published them on Amazon.

I would recommend to my readers to read the longer/original version of the books if they liked mine or if they need more detailed information.

I feel that there is a lots of work to reduce the content of those books (again, I do not intended to just delete some paragraphs but I would write new books) and the best would be that if I do not have to deal with the original publishers.

1 Answer 1


Expect (in the words of Terry Pratchet) the input to a large town's water treatment works to hit the industrial wind farm.

What you are proposing is a very clear breach of copyright.

Obviously, if the work is out of copyright, for example War and Peace, it's fine. On the other hand if you tried it with a Harry Potter book, Bloomsbury would have lawyers all over you.

  • 2
    Citation: Twin Peaks Prods. Inc. v. Publications International, Ltd
    – user3851
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 14:47
  • I more likely think of a book like Code Complete which is a software engineering best practice collection. My original idea was a series of blog post mapped to one of the chapters, but it would be better if you could keep them together and of course if you could get some compensation (but this is not my primary intention. I assume that if I publish it for free I can still be in trouble if it is illegal). Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 14:49
  • 2
    Compare with Gyles v Wilcox (fair abridgement)
    – user3851
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 14:51

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