The Crowdfunding of eBooks: Unglue.it Formally Launches This Thursday

Infodocket

A couple of days ago we posted a link to a new interview with the Founder and CEO of GlueJar (provider of Unglue.it), Eric Hellman.

Now, a blog post from lets all of us know that the Unglue.it site/database will formally launch in two days (Thursday, May 17, 2012) at Noon EDT but you can take a look around right now.

For those unfamiliar with GlueJar/Unglue.it here’s the bottom line direct from Eric Hellman’s Blog Post:

If you’ve not been paying attention, Unglue.it is an effort to crowd-fund creative commons ebooks. If you can find a way to cover the fixed costs, you can make the ebooks free to everyone, everywhere. Libraries, who can make possible the effective distribution of these ebooks, are tired of being shut out of popular ebook lending and need new ways forward.

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If you want, you can help us test the site. You can enter a pledge (remember, it’s real money!) and request premiums. Whether you pledge or not, you’ll end up with a real ebook with a CC BY-SA license. You can make derivatives, add content, make translations, experiment. (But you might need to wait a week or two to get it). We’ll use any cash we take in to cover some expenses (like the block of ISBNs that we bought. My lawyer says we can’t offer premiums that include alcohol, but she didn’t say I couldn’t let people hit me up for a beer.

We wish Eric, Andromeda, and the rest of the Unglue.it team the best of luck with this new and innovative venture.

See Also: Learn a Lot More About How Unglue.it Works

See Also: A Crowdfunded Approach To Setting E-Books Free (via paidContent)

Andromeda Yelton Speaks on The Future of eBooks at Computers in Libraries 2012

See Also: More Unglue.it Video Presentations and Press

(Via LJ INFOdocket.)

5 Comments on The Crowdfunding of eBooks: Unglue.it Formally Launches This Thursday

  1. Authors and publishers worth releasing their books like this won’t sell their copyright for a few thousand bucks so this start up is yet another waste of time on everyone’s part.

    Why don’t these brilliant idea types actually talk to the people who produce the works before they start soliciting funds?

  2. The quoted part of this blog (and Marilynn’s comment) led me to believe their default CC license was CC BY-SA, but by digging a little deeper into their site/FAQ, I found that their default license is a much more conservative CC BY-NC-ND. Neither CC license represents “selling their copyright”, and the BY-NC-ND doesn’t allow for commercial uses or derivative works, so it seems reasonable to me. I think the target Unglue.it seems to be aimed at is orphaned works and out-of-print works; trying to make these hard-to-get books available, as eBooks (which they otherwise might never be), and compensate the rights-holders in the process.

  3. The sad fact is derivative rights have no real value for a vast majority of writers so that wouldn’t sway an author one way or the other.

    And if a book is CC-licensed, that means its copyright has no value because the author can’t lease it to a publisher because publishers won’t touch a CC book. A copyright without value isn’t really much of a copyright.

    Okay, let’s look at the practical aspects of Unglue’s plan.

    Unglue has two ways to get books. The copyright owner volunteers his book, or they go out and find them then solicit the owner or his heirs.

    Books that are already CC are in the reading mainstream can be gobbled up. Books that are out-of-print (OOP) must be “bought” by Unglue.

    A majority of the authors/heirs who know about this service are savvy enough to know about self-publishing so they won’t be interested. Authors are dreamers, and a majority of us believe enough in our books to believe we can do better financially than what Unglue will offer. It’s our intrinsic nature.

    As Google discovered, it’s also not easy to find the owners of orphan works.

    And, if Unglue does find them, the important authors like the Grand Masters of sf, fantasy, and mystery already have their backlists either available or under conservership by an agent/heir so they won’t be interested.

    A vast majority of paperback books by those not in the top tiers of their genres have disintegrated to the point they don’t remain on anyone’s shelf or in most people’s memories so no one will be even looking for the authors.

    Even older hardcovers in libraries are being winnowed out by the truckload so those books are disappearing out of memory, as well.

    With all these books out of contention for Unglue, they will have a hard time creating anything that remotely resembles a library particularly in fiction.

  4. Authors and publishers — and all of us at Unglue.it have been authors or publishers — have a wide variety of both motivations and incentives. Some don’t have a lot of reason to experiment with an innovative business model; others do.

    We have indeed talked to the authors and publishers before soliciting funds. In fact, there’s no other way this could work — we couldn’t offer to license their rights if we didn’t already have signed agreements with them! We have five rights holders on board at launch and several more with whom we’re in negotiations, including some we’ve heard from since launching yesterday.

    I could give you theoretical reasons why authors and publishers might be interested in ungluing their works — for instance, in my case, the things I write are scholarly; I make very little from them, and once my rights revert I think both I and the world at large will be better off if my writing can be widely read. But I’d rather let one of our authors explain for himself the benefits that he sees. Joseph Nassise — a fiction writer — explained on his blog: http://josephnassise.com/help-me-unglue-riverwatch

  5. @Teel: yes, you’re correct; BY-NC-ND is our default, though we are happy to use any of the Creative Commons licenses, at the right holder’s discretion.

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