Unglue.it, a crowdfunding site that lets book lovers pay authors and publishers to make their already-published books free to the world under a Creative Commons license, was launched today.

“The ebook technology revolution creates new opportunities for innovative markets that support readers, authors, publishers, and libraries,” said Eric Hellman, President of Gluejar Inc., the company behind Unglue.it. “Our crowdfunding platform will help the books that we love join the public commons for all to enjoy and cherish, while still respecting copyright and creators’ livelihoods,” said Hellman, a Montclair resident.

Here’s how it works: if supporters pledge an amount chosen by the books’ rights holders before a given deadline, those books will be released as “unglued” ebook editions.  The deadlines vary from approximately two to six months, and funding goals from approximately $5,000 to $25,000.

From the press release:

As the popularity of ebooks skyrockets, readers have been discovering both their convenience and their disadvantages.  Proprietary formats and digital rights management (DRM) technology lock ebooks to specific devices and make it hard for people to keep reading their books as technology changes.  Many ebooks cannot even be lent by libraries.  Unglued ebooks solve these problems.  They have no DRM and can be copied and shared without infringing copyright due to the Creative Commons license. Instead of receiving royalties, rights holders are paid one licensing fee of their choosing in advance. Book lovers pledge toward this fee using the Unglue.it platform.

The first five campaigns launched are the following (and include a book by Montclair resident Michael Laser):

  • Michael Laser, 6-321
  • Joseph Nassise, Riverwatch
  • Nancy Rawles, Love Like Gumbo
  • Budding Reader, Cat and Rat
  • Open Book Publishers, Oral Literature in Africa, by Ruth Finnegan.



3 replies on “Unglue.it Crowdfunds ebooks”

  1. So the books aren’t actually “free” at all. They simply become available to all others if a certain minimum is raised. (Reminds me, sort of, of an IPO.) So this isn’t the return of The Diggers of either the 1960’s or of 17th century Engalnd.

    And thus a book may become a “best seller” only after its rights have been bought away and paid for. It’s tempting to term this a truly harebrained scheme, but I’ll content myself here by viewing it as an idea whose time will probably never come, of little real “commercial potential.”

    Note to whomever wrote this item, too: you’ve really got to learn to write more clearly. And a little explanation of what the first five books actually are about might have helped too. (Plus, if the author of this item was journalistically enterprising, some inquiry as to who on earth would actually pay $5000-25,000 to get these books out free to the rest of us would have been welcome. Uh, thanks…I maybe think.)

    Proof, too, that today is clearly a slow publishing news day.

  2. So it’s like Kickstarter, but without the incentive to donate since the product already exists. I don’t see how this will work.

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