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.
Learn more

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

Mellon & NEH and CC licenses
Library Journal - Mar 04, 2015
Funding for CC licenses like those on


What? works to make free ebooks sustainable.

We provide distribution infrastructure for free ebooks - we're a bookstore for books that want to be free. We're building a database of free-licensed ebooks.

We help archive books that are already free, and we help readers find and download them. We help creators ask those readers for support.

We run crowdfunding campaigns to raise money to make ebooks free. In Buy-to-Unglue campaigns, the creators set a revenue target that triggers the free release of the rbook. In Pledge-to-Unglue campaigns, rights holders set the amount needed for ungluing, and if enough reders pledge there support, the book becomes free.
Most books have a greater purpose than just making money for the creators. In many cases, that purpose is best served by making the book free to read. And it's that greater purpose that drives us.

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 support authors and publishers, encourages the benefits of openness while ensuring sustainability for creators.
Who? is a service of The Free Ebook Foundation. 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 its first crowdfunding campaign on May 17, 2012. Buy-to-Unglue launched in January of 2014, and Thanks-for-Ungluing launched in April of 2014.
The Free Ebook Foundation is a New Jersey non-for-profit corporation, but its employees and contractors live and work across North America. The best way to contact us is by email,
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 Stripe. We collaborate on our code at GitHub and deploy to the cloud with Amazon EC2.
What licenses are supported?
We support the Creative Commons licenses in all of our programs. Ebooks with these licenses are free and legal for everyone to read, copy, and share worldwide and requires that the author attribution.

We support a additional Free Licenses in our Thanks-for-Ungluing program.
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

Mellon & NEH and CC licenses
Library Journal - Mar 04, 2015
Funding for CC licenses like those on 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


Nov 2014
Eric Hellman at "Shaking It Up".

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.


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