When GoodEReader interviewed Unglue.it president Eric Hellman about the concept behind ungluing books to make them readily available without limitation, the idea may have been equal parts intriguing and skeptical. Would readers really pledge money in order to strip a book of its DRM and copyright in order to thrust it into the public domain and make it available anywhere for library lending? A press release from Unglue.it this week proves that yes, readers will put up the money to unleash a book on the world.
Two hundred fifty-nine readers, to be precise. That’s the number of supporters who pledged donations in order to make Unglue.it’s first title ever free to the public. The title is Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa. While it’s not exactly the latest Stephen King novel, it is the first title to be given a Creative Commons Attribution license thanks to the fundraising efforts that paid out to the rights holder.
“Yesterday was amazing,” remarked GlueJar president Eric Hellman. “When Weezer (yes, the band) tweeted about us, we knew the momentum would be unstoppable. We had a flood of people from all around the world signing up to advocate and contribute. The entire team is deeply honored to help make this possible.”
One area of publishing that could readily stand to benefit from this method of freeing up titles to an open sharing platform is academic texts. Rupert Gatti, co-founder of Open Book Publishers, had this to say about the first successful ungluing campaign:
“The academic community is increasingly advocating Open Access publication of scholarship. This campaign goes to show that people recognize the importance of quality literature and research, and are prepared to pay to make these freely available to all. But this could not have been achieved without the well-coordinated platform provided by Unglue.it. We are excited by the possibilities Unglue.it presents, and look forward to working with Unglue.it again in the future.”