Unglue.it is a crowdfunding platform for ebooks. It rewards authors and publishers for making their ebooks available to the world under Creative Commons licenses. According to Unglue.it’s website, to “unglue” is “to make it clearly legal for a digital book to be used, distributed, archived, and preserved by libraries.”Librarians should be paying attention to this.
After you’ve read up on how Unglue.it works, if you’re still wondering why you should support Unglue.it, then read on.
1. Unglued books are free to read and free to share, legally, for everyone, everywhere in the world. Unglue.it provides a means for book lovers everywhere to do good together.
2. Rights-holders can choose to be compensated in the amount that makes sense for them. The Unglue.it team works with rights-holders to decide on fair compensation for releasing a free, legal edition of their already-published books, under Creative Commons licensing. If and when pledges reach that threshold, then pledged funds are collected, rights holders get paid, and the unglued digital edition is made available.
3. Unglued ebooks are better than other ebooks. Imagine an ebook free of Digital Rights Management (DRM), which you can put on any device you want, in any format you want, and which you can legally copy and share with your friends and read online or off, without your reading activities being tracked. It sounds farfetched, doesn’t it? Unglue.it makes this scenario realistic.
4. The Unglue.it ebook model is starting to catch on—they’ve already “unglued” their first ebook. In June, Unglue.it announced their first successful campaign to unglue an ebook, Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa. Now Finnegan’s unglued ebook is available free of charge not only at the Internet Archive but also at Amazon!
5. Unglue.it balances the interests of rights-holders and readers. According to the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association, librarians and information professionals should strive to “respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.” Andy Woodworth argues that Unglue.it is important because “it provides a method and a means for authors to get paid for their works while expanding their audience and retaining other important creator rights.”
6. The Unglue.it ebook model upholds the core values of librarianship. Unglue.it’s librarian, Andromeda Yelton, argues that current ebook models bring library values into tension and force librarians to choose which values to advance. While other options available to libraries threaten traditional values such as privacy, sharing, preservation, and access, the Unglue.it model offers an alternative that strengthens those values.
7. Unglued ebooks are library-friendly. Early in 2012, Unglue.it’s Eric Hellman was quoted as saying, “Features that cater to libraries we are in the process of baking in….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.” Jan Holmquist asserts that Unglue.it’s goal of ungluing ebooks is “very librarianish.”
So how do you decide which Unglue.it campaign to support? Why not support the campaign to unglue a book for prospective librarians?