July 31, 2014

Ebook Crowdfunding Platform Unglue.it Launched

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Unglue.it, the crowdfunding platform designed to encourage authors and publishers to make their ebooks available under a Creative Commons license, was officially launched on May 17, featuring campaigns for books from Michael Laser, Joseph Nassise, Nancy Rawles, Budding Reader, and Open Book Publishers.

Unglue.it works by allowing the rights holders of an already-published book to set a funding threshold—generally between $5,000 to $25,000—and a deadline for a funding campaign. If supporters pledge sufficient funding prior to the campaign deadline, the book will be released as an “unglued” ebook edition, free of digital rights management (DRM) software, and free to copy and share under a Creative Commons license.

Gluejar Inc., the company that developed Unglue.it, explained the motivation behind the concept in a release today, noting that “proprietary formats and [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.”

Following the soft launch of Unglue.it at the American Library Association’s Midwinter 2012 conference, company founder Eric Hellman met with LJ and explained that the first depository for “unglued” ebooks would be The Internet Archive. However, the DRM-free files can also be saved on a library’s own server, where they can be integrated into the catalog.

“Features that cater to libraries we are in the process of baking in,” Hellman said during the January meeting. “For example, there will be the ability for a library to put in a big list and put money on the list rather than on a single title.”

In an e-mail message today, Hellman told LJ that these features have not been fully integrated into the platform yet, but hinted that they will be coming soon.

“We’ve laid plumbing. Gotta save some goodies for ALA!” he wrote.

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Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Associate Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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