New Crowdfunding Initiative to ‘Unglue’ Ebooks Launches in Alpha
by Paula J. Hane
Posted On January 30, 2012
Imagine this: a site that wants people to donate money for a book they love so others can read and enjoy it. It’s an altruistic public-broadcasting kind of model called Unglue.It that its founder says can work for making ebooks more accessible. Unglue.It hopes to offer a win-win solution to readers who want to read and share their favorite books conveniently and to rightsholders who want to be rewarded for their works.
Eric Hellman, the founder and president of Gluejar, Inc., the company behind Unglue.It, says, “eBook distribution is even cheaper than radio, because you don’t have to pay for transmitter power, and you don't have to own a frequency license. It’s the monetization machinery that costs money: the ecommerce systems and the DRM. If the producers of ebooks had some way of covering their fixed costs (with profit to make it worth their while), ebooks could work just like free radio.”
Unglue.It is free for users to join and explore. Anyone can go to the website and create a list of books they’d like to be “unglued.” Supporters pay only if they choose to support campaigns, and the amount is up to them. Unglue.It takes a small percentage from successful campaigns, with the remainder going to the rights holders. The books will be issued with a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. This license will make the edition free and legal for everyone to read, copy, and share, noncommercially, worldwide—i.e., unglued.
Here’s how Hellman says it works: “In the Gluejar model, the ebook doesn't go public/free until the rightsholder’s price has been met. A very popular author might set the price at a million dollars; an author that just wants to cover digitization expenses might set the price at just a thousand dollars. In any case, Gluejar only collects its percentage if the price is met and the book is released into the public commons.”
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