Frequently Asked Questions

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Unglued Ebooks

General Questions

So what is an unglued ebook?
An unglued ebook is a free ebook, not an ebook that you don't pay for!

Unglued ebooks use a Creative Commons or other free license to counteract the stucked-ness of "all rights reserved" copyrights. Sometimes, payments are made to the author, publisher, or other rights holder to facilitate the ungluing.

What does this mean for you? If you're a book lover, you can read unglued ebooks for free, on the device of your choice, in the format of your choice, and share them with all your friends. If you're a library, you can lend them to your patrons with no checkout limits or simultaneous user restrictions, and preserve them however you think best. If you're a rights holder, you retain copyright in your work.

Using Your Unglued Ebook

What can I do, legally, with an unglued ebook? What can I not do?
All unglued ebooks are released under a Creative Commons or other free license. The rights holder chooses which license to apply. Books that we distribute in a Buy-to-Unglue Campaign have creative commons licenses, but the effective date of these licenses is set in the future.

Creative Commons licenses mean that once the license is effective you can: make copies; keep them for as long as you like; shift them to other formats (like PDF); share them with friends or on the internet; download them for free.

Under NC (non-commercial) licenses, you cannot: sell unglued ebooks, or otherwise use them commercially, without permission from the rights holder.

Under ND (no derivatives) licenses, you cannot: make derivative works, such as translations or movies, without permission from the rights holder;

Under all CC licenses (except CC0), you cannot: remove the author's name from the book, or otherwise pass it off as someone else's work; or remove or change the CC license.
Are the unglued ebooks compatible with my device? Do I need to own an ereader, like a Kindle or a Nook, to read them?
Unglued ebooks are distributed with NO RESTRICTIVE DRM, so they'll work on Kindle, iPad, Kobo, Nook, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux... you get the idea. Whether you have an ereader, a tablet, a desktop or laptop computer, or a smartphone, there are reading apps that work for you.
Do I need to have a library card to read an unglued ebook?
No. (Though we hope you have a library card anyway!)

If your library has bought an ebook as part of a Buy-to-Unglue Campaign, you may need your library card if you want to borrow them.
How long do I have to read my "buy-to-unglue" ebook? When does it expire?
If you're reading a "buy-to-unglue" book purchased by a library, your borrowing license expires after 2 weeks. But otherwise there's no expiration. And you delete the file on the honor system.

If you're reading a "buy-to-unglue" book you've purchased , you may keep it as long as you like. There's no need to return it, and it won't stop working after some deadline. You own it.

If you're reading a book that's been unglued, you can keep the file forever AND you can make copies for friends.
Can I download ebooks directly from
If you've purchased an ebook from, you'll by able to download it through the website. All formats are included (where available), and you can download the ebooks for your personal use as many times as you need to. provides links to download thousands of previously unglued books, creative commons licensed books, and public domain ebooks. You don't need our permission to host these free ebooks on your own site, but you must abide by the book's license terms

Ungluing and Copyright

Are Unglued Ebooks in the Public Domain?
No. Books in the public domain, because their copyrights have expired, or because they were created by the US government, are already free for you to copy, remix, and share! If a book is in the public domain, it doesn't need to be unglued, it's already unglued. But lots of other books are free-licensed even though their copyrights are still in force; if you don't adhere to the license terms, you are infringing that copyright.
How can I tell if a book is in copyright or not?
Unfortunately, it can be complicated -- which is why wants to simplify things, by making unglued ebooks unambiguously legal to use in certain ways. The laws governing copyright and the public domain vary by country, so a book can be copyrighted in one place and not in another. In the United States, the Library Copyright Slider gives a quick estimate. lists a book that I know is already Creative Commons licensed or available in the public domain. How can I get the link included?
If you are logged in to, the "More..." tab for every work lists the edition we know about. There is a link for every edition that you can use to tell us about Creative Commons or public domain downloads. We require that these books be hosted at certain known, reputable repositories such as Internet Archive, Wikisources, Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg, Github or Google Books.