Unglue.it’s innovative model hopes to resolve sticky situation of e-book access

Unglue.it’s innovative model hopes to resolve sticky situation of e-book access

Posted by Christina Powers on June 21, 2012 in Blog, Featured.

After years of hovering beyond the budget of most university libraries and scholars, Ruth Finnegan’s out-of-print text, Oral Literature in Africa, will soon be available for download as a free and legal e-book—thanks to a new startup in the library universe. This platform, Unglue.it, works by setting up crowdfunded campaigns to release e-books of already-published works under Creative Commons licensing. The campaign to unglue Finnegan’s book has already exceeded its original goal of $7,500 dollars, the amount needed to release an electronic edition of the text. The success of this inaugural campaign has demonstrated how this self-proclaimed “for-profit company with a public-spirited mission” may just revolutionize the way readers worldwide access e-books.

Unglue.it’s model is a novel approach to e-book publishing and distribution. The startup first enters into agreements with rights holders to set a fair price for releasing the work as an e-book, and then hosts crowdfunding campaigns on its website to reach that agreed upon amount. For the Oral Literature in Africa campaign, participants could pledge various levels of donations: whereas a single dollar would deliver the e-book to your inbox, a pledge of $200 would upgrade you to benefactor status, guarantee you a paperback copy of the text, and provide you with a discount on future purchases from Open Book Publishers. Once the donation goal is reached, the “unglued” e-book is released to the world and its rights holders—along with Unglue.it—are compensated.

Unlike Amazon’s Kindle lending library or the often messy system of e-book borrowing in public libraries, Unglue.it streamlines the process of obtaining rights to and subsequent compensation for texts in a single online platform. It places the power of e-book access in the hands of readers, rather than a web of publishers, librarians, authors, and similar stakeholders. The Unglue.it model is one that, with the initial success of the Oral Literature in Africa campaign, may radically democratize texts for readers around the world, while compensating authors for their creative efforts.

To learn more about Unglue.it and help support its ongoing campaigns, visit https://unglue.it/landing/.

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