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Basics

How It Works

What is Unglue.it?
Unglue.it is a a place for individuals and institutions to join together to make ebooks free to the world. We work together with authors, publishers, or other rights holders who want their ebooks to be free but also want to be able to earn a living doing so. We use Creative Commons licensing as an enabling tool to "unglue" the ebooks.
What are Ungluing Campaigns?
We have three types of Ungluing Campaigns: Pledge Campaigns, Buy-to-Unglue Campaigns and Thanks-for-Ungluing campaigns.
  • In a Pledge Campaign, book lovers pledge their support for ungluing a book. If enough support is found to reach the goal (and only then), the supporter's credit cards are charged, and an unglued ebook is released.
  • In a Buy-to-Unglue Campaign, every ebook copy sold moves the book's ungluing date closer to the present. And you can donate ebooks to your local library- that's something you can't do in the Kindle or Apple Stores!
  • In a Thanks-for-Ungluing Campaign, the ebook is already released with a Creative Commons license. Supporters can express their thanks by paying what they wish for the license and the ebook.
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is collectively pooling contributions (or pledges) to support some cause. Using the internet for coordination means that complete strangers can work together, drawn by a common cause. This also means the number of supporters can be vast, so individual contributions can be as large or as small as people are comfortable with, and still add up to enough to do something amazing.

Want to see some examples? Kickstarter lets artists and inventors solicit funds to make their projects a reality. For instance, webcomic artist Rich Burlew sought $57,750 to reprint his comics in paper form -- and raised close to a million.

In other words, crowdfunding is working together to support something you love. By pooling resources, big and small, from all over the world, we can make huge things happen.
What does it cost?
Unglue.it is free to join. Many of the things you can do here -- discovering books, adding them to your ebook list, downloading unglued books, commenting, sharing -- are free too.

If you choose to support a Pledge Campaign, you may pledge whatever amount you're comfortable with. Your credit card will only be charged if the campaign reaches its goal price.

If you choose to buy or download an unglue.it ebook, you can read it anywhere you like - there's no restrictive DRM.

If you hold the electronic rights to a book, starting campaigns is free, too. You only pay Unglue.it a fraction of your revenue. For the basics on campaigns, see the FAQ on Campaigns; for more details, see the FAQ for Rights Holders.
Who can use Unglue.it?
Anyone! We're located in the United States, but we welcome participants from all over the world.

To fund a campaign, or buy an ebook, you'll need a valid credit card. To start a campaign, you'll need to establish yourself with us as a rights holder, including demonstrating that you have the rights to the content you want to unglue. See the FAQs for Rights Holders for more.
Why should I support a book at Unglue.it when I can just buy it somewhere else?
When you buy a book, you get a copy for yourself. When you unglue it, you give a copy to yourself, reward its creators and contribute towards making it free to everyone.
What do I get when I unglue a book?
You get a better ebook. Your unglued ebook has no restrictive DRM: you can put it on any device you want, in any format you want. You can read it on the network or off, with no one tracking your reading.

You may get premiums as part of a Pledge Campaign, depending on the amount you pledge. Each Pledge Campaign has its own set.
Does Unglue.it own the copyright of unglued books?
No. When you unglue a book, the copyright stays with its current owner. Unglue.it does not buy copyrights. A Creative Commons license is a licensing agreement. As with other licensing agreements, it grants certain rights to others but does not affect the status of the copyright.

Just like many traditional publishing transactions, ungluing is about licensing rights. We use Creative Commons licenses which allow creators to choose the ways in which their works can be copied, shared and re-used.

If you are a copyright holder, you retain your copyright when you unglue a book. Creative Commons licenses are non-exclusive, so you also retain the right to enter into separate licensing agreements. You can read more about these licenses at the Creative Commons FAQ.
If I'm a rights holder and my book is unglued, does that mean I can never make money from it again?
No! You are free to enter into additional licensing agreements for other, non-unglued, editions of the work, including translation and film rights. You may continue to sell both print and ebook editions. You may use your unglued books as free samples to market your other works -- for instance, later works in the same series. You can use them to attract fans who may be interested in your speaking engagements, merchandise, or other materials. You absolutely may continue to profit from ungluing books -- and we hope you do!
Why do authors, publishers, and other rights holders want their books unglued?
Lots of reasons:
  • To publicize their other books, gain new fans, or otherwise increase the value of an author's brand.
  • To get income from books that are no longer in print.
  • To have a digital strategy that pays for itself, even if they don't have expertise in producing ebooks.
  • To advance a cause, add to the public conversation, or increase human knowledge.
  • To leave a legacy that enriches everyone, now and in the future.
Does Unglue.it publish books? Can I self-publish here?
Unglue.it is not a publisher. If you self-publish, Unglue.it can help you distribute your ebooks, if they meet our technical quality standards.
What's a rights holder? How can I tell if I'm one?
A rights holder is the person (or entity) that holds the legal right to copy, distribute, or sell a book in some way. There may be one entity with all the rights to a work, or the rights may be split up among different entities: for example, one who publishes the print edition in the United States, another who publishes the print edition in the EU, another who holds electronic rights, et cetera. For ungluing purposes, the rights holder is the entity who has uncontested worldwide commercial rights to a work.

If you have written a book and not signed any contracts about it, you hold all the rights. If you have signed a contract with a publisher to produce, distribute, publish, or sell your work in a particular format or a particular territory, whether or not you still hold rights depends on the language of that contract. We encourage you to check your contracts. It may be in your interest to explore launching an Unglue.it campaign jointly with your publisher.

If you haven't written a book but you have had business or family relationships with someone who has, it's possible that you are a rights holder (for instance, you may have inherited rights from the author's estate, or your company may have acquired them during a merger). Again, this all depends on the specific language of your contracts. We encourage you to read them closely. Unglue.it cannot provide legal advice.

If you believe you are a rights holder and would like to your works to be unglued, please contact us at rights@gluejar.com.
I know a book that should be unglued.
Great! Find it in our database (using the search box above) and add it to your favorites, so we know it should be on our list, too. And encourage your friends to add it to their favorites. The more people that fave a book on Unglue.it, the more attractive it will be for authors and publishers to launch an ungluing campaign. You can also contact us at rights@gluejar.com.
I know a book that should be unglued, and I own the commercial rights.
Fabulous! Please refer to the FAQ for Rights Holders and then contact us at rights@gluejar.com. Let's talk.
Is there a widget that can be put on my own site to share my favorite books or campaigns?
Yes! Every book page has an "Embed" option. Click that and copy/paste the HTML code wherever you like.