I just received a press release from Eric Hellman of Unglue.it, the crowdfunding-to-release-free site for e-books. The release announces that Unglue.it is trying a slightly different model for its latest book release. Instead of seeking pledges and releasing the book when it reaches that amount, the site is trying a model called “Buy-to-Unglue,” in which e-book purchases are the crowdfunding mechanism.
“Every ebook downloaded comes with a future dated Creative Commons license,” the press release states. “Each purchase brings that Creative Commons effective date, the date the ebook becomes free to everyone, closer to the present.”
The first book to be sold under this program is called Lagos_2060, the result of eight African writers (or at least, so I assume from their names) taking part in a workshop to imagine the future of Lagos, Nigeria in short stories. It needs to sell $30,000 worth of e-books to meet its goal. The books are priced at $6 each.
It is an interesting new model, and it certainly addresses my biggest problem with the site’s original pledge-to-Unglue model: the idea of not actually being able to buy the book when you pledge. Of course, most of the other books the site has tried to Unglue in the past have been available as e-books from elsewhere. This one is not, though has a paperback edition available for $18.64 from Amazon. That will help, as will the inexpensive $6 asking price and the fact that, in return for that price, you get the book to read now rather than at some nebulous point in the future when or if people have contributed enough to meet the goal.
That being said, Unglue.it has been successful at ungluing a handful of books already, all of which are available for free download from the Unglue.it site. Best of luck to the site with its new “Buy-to-Unglue” model!