Unglue.it seeks to set ebooks free

Eric Hellman on Gluejar's Unglue.it platform.


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Gluejar president Eric Hellman (@gluejar) likes to ask people the question, “Have you ever given anybody a book?” Everyone’s answer to that is “yes,” and Gluejar’s platform, Unglue.it, is an interesting model that sets ebooks free. Notice I didn’t say the books themselves are free. Similar to the Kickstarter model, there’s a minimum payment that must be made to the rights holder, but once that threshold is achieved, the ebook becomes freely distributable. This opens the door to all sorts of potential sponsorship deals as well as ways to give more visibility to slow-moving backlist titles.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • It’s not just for backlist — But the backlist is a logical starting point, especially those titles that may have already reached a sufficient revenue or profit level for the rights holder. And let’s not forget that some “long tail” titles are generating little to no sales at all. [Discussed at the 3:32 mark.]
  • What’s the licensing model for readers? — Unglue.it uses the Creative Commons license to give the reader the right to do a number of things with the econtent based on what options the rights holder selects. [Discussed at 4:15.]
  • Publishers have shown both interest and skepticism — Several projects are already underway despite the fact that many rights holders are content to let others be the guinea pigs with this platform. [Discussed at 6:40.]
  • Unglue.it could be a terrific solution for libraries — The economic model could be ideal for the library market as they navigate the transition from scarcity to a world of abundance. [Discussed at 7:26.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

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