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Bookshelf PH Launches Public Domain as a Service

Philippine publisher releases non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for what it calls public domain as a service (PDaaS), as part of bid to pioneer a sustainable model for releasing timely content into the public domain.

Recognized annually on January 1st, Public Domain Day marks the occasion when the copyright of some creative work expires. Once in the province of public domain, people can freely use and consume the work, which is beneficial as many of them are historically, culturally, or artistically significant.

While the public domain is extremely beneficial for great historical fiction, it is less so with topical non-fiction. Such is unfortunate as recently published books may provide readers insight and information into current events, major trends, and relevant skills, but will not be accessible for a very long time (copyright expiration in the United States is the date of the author’s death, plus seventy years, for example). This knowledge thus remains kept in a kind of walled garden, accessible to only the readers with the disposable income to buy books.

Bookshelf PH, an online marketplace and boutique publisher for books, eBooks, and audiobooks in Manila, Philippines, wants to challenge this notion. The organization is launching 17 individual non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each representing a chapter from its recent local bestseller, The E-Hustle: What the Country's Best Digital Leaders Can Teach You About Launching and Growing Your Online Business.

These NFTs will be auctioned on OpenSea, the largest marketplace for NFTs in the world and one that has drawn significant attention on account of users transacting in such high volume and often large value for its digital art, collectibles, and other items.

The NFTs for The E-Hustle will also involve digital art - a holographic adaptation of the original chapter cover, which will belong exclusively to the purchaser - as well as a utility: One a person or group buys a particular chapter, Bookshelf PH will release it to the public domain, making it freely available for anyone to read.

This new model, which Bookshelf PH likes to call public domain as a service (PDaaS), aims to achieve the twofold goal of democratizing access to important content, and at the same time provide authors, publishers, and other content creators a sustainable incentive to continue doing so.

Ada Ortega, the managing editor of E-Hustle, feels that The E-Hustle was particularly appropriate for a release as an NFT with a public domain as a service utility.

“We started with The E-Hustle to encourage other authors, publishers, and content creators to explore using NFTs as part of new models of distribution for certain titles. We believe there is a world of other similar non-fiction that can be made more accessible through NFTs. These works will likely be prescriptive non-fiction built around actionable information and insights,” said Ortega.

Apart from empowering digital entrepreneurship and social mobility, people who buy The E-Hustle NFTs will also unlock other benefits. Each purchaser will be credited as a presenting sponsor for the chapter before it is released into the public domain, ensuring that the supporting individual or group gets publicity as an ecommerce enabler in the Philippines in particular and emerging markets in general.

Bookshelf PH will support presenting sponsors with a year-long marketing and public relations campaign, E-Commerce for Everyone, from November 2021 to November 2022, as part of a bid to get the book into the hands of 1 million Filipinos. The focus of this thrust will be groups underrepresented or new to ecommerce, such as students, women, and the differently abled.

Though anyone can purchase an NFT for The E-Hustle, Kyle Nate, the deputy editorial director of Bookshelf PH believes it would be most fitting for local forward-thinking, inventive brands. These organizations would get to showcase their brand as a champion for inclusive innovation, both through promoting ecommerce through The E-Hustle as well as the public domain through the new PDaaS model.

In the larger picture, Nate hopes this spurs more interest and conversation around NFTs and the social good.

“We’re developing a specific utility around putting original, relevant works into the public domain, long before their copyrights would have naturally expired. We hope this spurs other individuals and organizations in other emerging markets to look at ways that NFTs can support the social good,” said Nate.

The NFTs for The E-Hustle can be found here:


Bookshelf PH aims to promote great Filipino books, eBooks, and Audiobooks in fiction and non-fiction. The goal is to produce a rich Filipino literature that will contribute to individual empowerment, and in the aggregate, nation-building. At the core of these aspirations is the belief that the surest and simplest path to personal and professional growth is through reading.


For many Filipinos, online business seemed like a novel idea. And then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Now that e-commerce is driving the local economy, thousands of new Internet entrepreneurs are wondering where to start. The E-Hustle shows the way forward, taking a deep look into the vast ecosystem of Philippine e-commerce.

Learn how its top players used different tools and technologies—from digital payments to live streaming—to carve out success. Learn the business secrets of the Philippines’ biggest online companies, and discover the best strategies for establishing a digital store, building a supply chain on a mobile device, and making the most out of social media marketing. Grab a copy of The E-Hustle, your all-in-one guide to all things e-commerce.

Featured leaders:

  1. Steve Sy - Founder and CEO of Great Deals E-Commerce Corporation

  2. Charles Ryan Sy - President of Dropify

  3. Dannah Majarocon - Managing Director of Lalamove PH

  4. Martha Sazon - President and CEO of GCash

  5. Dino Araneta - Founder and CEO of Quad X

  6. Martin Yu - Director of Shopee Philippines

  7. Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera - CEO of Colourette Cosmetics

  8. Kim Lato - CEO of Kimstore

  9. Ben Wintle - Founder and CEO of Booky

  10. Ace Gapuz - CEO of Blogapalooza

  11. Hiyasmin Neri-Soyao - Co-Founder and CEO of Shoppertainment LIVE

  12. Francis Plaza - Co-Founder CEO of PayMongo

  13. Mario Domingo - Founder of Neural Mechanics Inc. and DARC Labs

  14. Agnes Gervacio - CEO of MDI Novare

  15. Zen Han - Vice President for National Sales of OPPO

  16. Stefano Fazzini - Co-Founder and CEO of MetroMart

  17. Michael McCullough - Founder of KMC Solutions



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