There's one self-publishing endeavor though that I hadn't ever considered--fair use/public domain material. The bloggers over at Personondata brought this to my attention (via Publishers Marketplace):
It surprises me that this idea never crossed my mind, as I love classic literature and find physical books fascinating. I'm constantly rooting around used and rare books bookstores and trying to analyze the design decisions that were made. (I took a class in college that tackled the subject and since then have been obsessed.)
Niche publishers like The Folio Society have been re-purposing publishing content into finely re-worked books for many years. These titles have expressly designed covers, often come slip cased and contain commissioned illustrations that were never in the original versions. They are beautiful objects but they are also one person's representation of design and manufacturing and other than the high quality there is only minimal uniformity across the titles. On a different level other titles from series such as Everyman's Library are similar in format but not of the unique quality as The Folio titles.With not too much work you could create your own collection of titles.
For someone like me who values the book as an object, creating my own title list of classic books with covers and interiors designed by me could become a viable avocation and source of deeper engagement in reading.
Read more HERE
If I had the money, this self-publishing classics idea is one I would absolutely consider doing. The only question is, what classics would I pick?
I think I'd start with these five:
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck