unglue (v. t.) 1. To pay an author or publisher for publishing a Creative Commons ebook.
unglue (v. t.) 2. To make a digital book free to read and use, worldwide.
unglue (v. t.) 3. To make it legal for a digital book to be used, distributed, archived and preserved by libraries.
unglue (v. t.) 4. For an author or publisher, to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an ebook.
unglue (v. t.) 5. To make your favorite books free to everyone on earth.
unglue (v. t.) 6. To reward authors and publishers for sharing books with the world.
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3 ways we can make ebooks free

Creators make ebooks in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF.
Ungluers love them for doing it.
Creators apply Creative Commons licenses to ebooks.
Ungluers read them at home, at a library, anywhere.
Creators ask downloaders to contribute what they choose.
Ungluers say thank you with their support.
Creators make ebooks in EPUB.
Ungluers love them for doing it.
Creators set a funding goal and a per-copy price.
Ungluers purchase the ebook to advance the campaign.
When the funding goal is met, Creative Commons licenses are automatically applied.
Creators set a funding goal and rewards for supporters.
Ungluers pledge to support the campaign.
When the campaign succeeds, We collect Ungluer pledges.
The ebook is created and rewards are distributed.
Creative Commons licenses are applied.
Ungluers read them at home, at a library, anywhere.


Latest Coverage


What? offers a win-win solution to readers, who want to read and share their favorite books conveniently, and rights holders (authors, publishers, etc.), who want to be rewarded for their work.

We run crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for specific, already-published books. When we reach goals set by the rights holders, we'll pay them to unglue their work. They'll issue an electronic edition with a Creative Commons license as specified during the campaign. These licenses will make the edition free and legal for everyone to read, copy, and share, worldwide.

At, book lovers can pledge money to support these campaigns; add books to their wishlist to tell the world about their favorites; discuss their favorite books; share their pages via social media; and find direct links to public domain and unglued ebooks that they can read right away.
As ereaders proliferate, more and more people are enjoying the ereading experience. However, their favorite books may not be available as ebooks. Their ebooks may come with DRM which makes them unreadable on certain devices, and difficult or impossible to lend to friends. Or they may not be able to tell if they have the legal right to use the book as they'd like. The situation is even more challenging for libraries, which cannot acquire some ebooks at all, and can only acquire them under legal terms and DRM restrictions which run counter to library lending.

When books have a clear, established legal license which promotes use, they can be read more widely, leading to enjoyment, scholarship, and innovation. By raising money to compensate authors and publishers up front, encourages the benefits of openness while ensuring sustainability for creators.

For more background, read our president Eric Hellman's thoughts on a public broadcasting model for ebooks (on why the numbers work) and the development of
Who? is a service of Gluejar, Inc. We come from the worlds of entrepreneurship, linked data, physics, publishing, education, and library science, to name a few. You can learn more about us at our about page.
When? launched May 17, 2012.
Gluejar is a New Jersey corporation, but its employees and contractors live and work across North America. The best way to contact us is by email,
What does it cost? is free to join and explore. Supporters pledge money only if they choose to support campaigns, and the amount is up to them. They are charged only if the campaigns reach their goal price. takes a small percentage from successful campaigns, with the remainder going to the author, publisher, or other rights holder.
What's your technology? is built using Python and the Django framework. We use data from the Google Books, Open Library, LibraryThing, and GoodReads APIs; we appreciate that they've made these APIs available, and we're returning the favor with our own API. You're welcome to use it. We use Less to organize our CSS. We process pledges with Amazon Payments. We collaborate on our code at GitHub and deploy to the cloud with Amazon EC2.
How does the license work? Why did you choose this license?
The default license is a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. This license makes the edition free and legal for everyone to read, copy, and share worldwide. It requires that the author be credited and does not allow commercial use or derivative works (such as film adaptations) without additional permission from the rights holder.

We chose this license because it's a worldwide standard that has been developed by legal experts and tested in court. It invites readers to enjoy the book while providing clarity about their legal rights. It strikes a balance between rights holders' interests in promoting their work today and retaining certain potentially valuable rights for the future.

Creative Commons offers a variety of other licenses, many of them with even less restrictive terms. is happy to use any of them, if the rights holder prefers.
I have more questions...
Please consult our FAQ (sidebar at left); join the site and explore its features for yourself; or email us,

Media Highlights Sets Books Free After Authors Get Paid (en)
TechCrunch - May 06, 2014 sets e-books free! (en)
Network World - May 01, 2014 teams up with De Gruyter
Polanka Blog No Shelf Required - Apr 10, 2013 teams up with De Gruyter (English)
Dan Eldridge TeleRead - Apr 05, 2013
Crowdfunding auf den Kopf gestellt (German)
buchreport - Apr 02, 2013
Librarian’s Book “Unglued;” Now Open Access
[zsreads] newsletter, Z. Smith Reynolds Library - Jan 06, 2013 libera un nuevo libro digital
Seven Reasons to Support
Public Libraries Online - Nov 29, 2012 Steve speaks with Eric Hellman and Andromeda Yelton from
Circulating Ideas: the librarian interview podcast - Nov 16, 2012
Can You Spare a Little Change? Open Access on the Local Level
Library Babel Fish (Inside Higher Ed) - Oct 23, 2012
Words on the Water
BoingBoing - Sep 20, 2012
Digitale Bücherrettung (German) - Jul 17, 2012 befreit Bücher (German)
Die Zeit - Jul 09, 2012 welke e-books wil jij de wereld schenken? (Dutch)
mijns inziens - May 18, 2012
Ebook Crowdfunding Platform Launched
Library Journal - May 17, 2012 A Crowdfunded, E-Book Liberation Project
Hack (Higher) Education (Inside Higher Ed) - May 17, 2012
Help me Unglue RIVERWATCH
Joseph Nassise - May 17, 2012
One of our inaugural rights holders on why he's ungluing his novel.
Está no ar o – Crowdfunding Para Direitos de eBooks (Portuguese)
Revolução E-Book - May 17, 2012
BTB #296: Free E-books Is Gluejar’s Mission
Beyond the Book (Copyright Clearance Center) - May 03, 2012
Listen to Eric Hellman explain the model in this podcast.
Re-Inventing Public Libraries For The Digital Age
Innovation (Techdirt) - May 03, 2012
Unglue.It: Crowd-Funding A Revolution In Libraries
Co.Exist (Fast Company) - Mar 09, 2012
Solutions and Services:
American Libraries - Feb 14, 2012
Unglue a Book: Crowdfunding to Liberate Published Works
Profhacker (Chronicle of Higher Education) - Feb 07, 2012 Crowdfunds Unlimited Licenses for Beloved E-books
Publishing Perspectives - Jan 23, 2012
Books Unbound
New York Times (Bits blog) - Oct 28, 2011
Readmill's About to Make Reading More Social
Wall Street Journal - Sep 01, 2011 announced a partnership with Readmill on October 5, 2012.
Publishing News: Week in Review
O'Reilly Radar - Apr 08, 2011

Other Coverage

Unglue.It: Books That Want to Be Free
American Libraries - Feb 06, 2014
Startup Vom Buchbefreier zum Buchverkäufer (German) - Jan 21, 2014
Leia mais (de graça) e “dê ao mundo” o seu livro favorito (Portuguese)
Super Interesante - Aug 19, 2013
De Gruyter, Work Together to Crowdfund Open Source Textbooks
Mercy Pilkington Good-E-Reader - Apr 03, 2013 releases two more free ebooks
No Shelf Required - Jan 22, 2013
Lauren Pressley wants to give you her book!
Hack Library School - Nov 29, 2012
Unglue: Giving books to the world
Tame the Web - Oct 14, 2012
Research Intelligence - Unbound possibilities
Times Higher Education - Oct 11, 2012
First Book Comes Unglued
Open Folklore - Sep 12, 2012
First Book Comes Unglued
The Digital Shift (Library Journal/School Library Journal) - Sep 12, 2012
Giving ebooks to the world –
Crowdfund it! - Aug 29, 2012
Transparency, Secrecy, and Copyright for the Modern Age
Contrary Brin - Jul 01, 2012
Science fiction author David Brin is a Hugo and Nebula award winner.
Buzzwords from BookExpo
Good EReader - Jun 07, 2012 (And Why It Matters)
Agnostic, Maybe - May 29, 2012
Finding the (market) value in freeing books
Everybody's Libraries - May 28, 2012 crowdfunding ebooks
Neverendingsearch (School Library Journal) - May 23, 2012
Unglue.It — a service to crowdsource book licensing fees — launches
Disruptive Library Technology Jester - May 18, 2012 befreit Bücher mittels Crowdfunding (German)
scinoptica - May 18, 2012 libera libros digitales (Spanish)
Contenidosenred - May 18, 2012
Pay to Free a Book
Roy Tennant: Digital Libraries (School Library Journal/Library Journal) - May 17, 2012 a punto para su lanzamiento (Spanish)
I+D de la Lectura - May 17, 2012
A New Approach for Backlist Titles
PubWest Endsheet - Mar 09, 2012 Was wäre, wenn… (German)
Plan3t Info - Feb 08, 2012
Anche con il crowfunding sembra sempre editoria (Italian)
Apoge Online - Feb 06, 2012 Maakt Ebooks Gratis Door Crowdfunding (Dutch)
eReaders - Feb 03, 2012
Gluejar to Make Soft Launch of Website at ALA Midwinter
The Digital Shift (Library Journal/School Library Journal) - Jan 16, 2012
Ebooks: A Brief Fix On a Moving Target
The Plugged-In Librarian - Nov 01, 2011
Vom mai citi cărți? Sau altceva? (Romanian)
Chip Online - Oct 31, 2011
Nueva propuesta para el acceso abierto a los libros electrónicos (Spanish)
I+D de la Lectura - Sep 07, 2011
EdLab Review: Gluejar
EdLab blog - Sep 02, 2011
New Technologies, New Directions Emerge at ALA 2011
American Libraries - Aug 13, 2011


June 2012
Eric Hellman at Book Expo America.

March 2012
Andromeda Yelton; "The Future of Ebooks" panel at Computers in Libraries.

February 2012
Eric Hellman on the Tools of Change podcast.

November 2011
Eric Hellman, "The Network is Overrated"; talk at Books in Browsers 2011.

June 2011
Eric Hellman explains the Gluejar model to David Weinberger at LOD-LAM 2011.


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300 ppi screenshot of a book page on Features include links to the book, where available, at Google Books, Open Library, GoodReads, and LibraryThing; social sharing options; tabs with user comments and more information; and an explore bar linking to other books and users. The user list is dynamically generated, reflecting others interested in the same book.


300 ppi screenshot of a supporter page. Supporters can readily see all the books on their faves list and filter for active or successful campaigns. Icons show how many other ungluers have faved a book or, for active campaigns, their progress toward completion. Unglued and public domain books have links to freely available copies. Supporters can link to their home page and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and LibraryThing (note icons in upper right), as well as import books from their GoodReads and LibraryThing accounts to their wishlist.


300 ppi screenshot of a supporter page in panel view. This displays the same information as the list view, but in a less information-dense, more visually arresting format. Supporters can toggle between views.


300 ppi screenshot of a search result page, powered by Google Books. Users can add books to their wishlist with one click, or click through for more information. Books with active campaigns display a progress meter. Where possible, books that are already unglued or in the public domain link to freely available copies.


300 ppi screenshot of a search result page, in panel view. As with the supporter page, users can toggle between views.

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