Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Set Books Free with!

Posted by Simcha 5:42 PM, under | 5 comments

Do you have a book that you love so much that you wish you could share it with everyone you know? Well soon that may be possible, with the help of, a new website that was launched last Thursday by Gluejar, Inc. aims to help readers buy the rights from copyright holders, to produce and distribute free e-book editions of particular books. Users can suggest and vote on books that they would like to see offered for free and then a price is negotiated with the copyright holders, after which interested parties can pledge money towards that goal.

Similar to the way that Kickstarter works, those who pledge money towards a campaign will receive certain rewards like having their name listed in the acknowledgment section of the book (with a $25 pledge) or getting a one-day writing seminar with the book's author (for a $1,500 pledge).

Currently there are five different campaign going on at, though I'm not familiar with any of the titles on the list. Some other, more well-known titles are possible contenders as future books, if enough people vote for them. These include The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ender's Game and A Brief History of Time. also allows you to log into the site and add your own favorite books to the wishlist, that you would like to see "unglued." I've been racking my brain trying to think of which books I would add and I'm having more trouble with this than I would have expected. I think I would go with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Louis.

How about you guys?

Which books would you like to see added to the campaign, to be distributed for free, world-wide?

You can find out more about at their website as well as in this article by The Huffington Post.


Geez, I'm very surprised I haven't heard about this before. I guess as long as authors or their estates get paid then it should be a wonderful chance for their books to be more widely distributed than before.

I tried bookcrossing but no books were released near me ever that were fun

Hello! I was wondering if you were open to review requests!

There are a couple of older art books I'd love to see it for free since it's almost old enough to be in the commons (I think it is, but I'm not sure), but a publisher snatched it up and is redistributing it. I'm not sure how the copyright works that way? Still, this sounds interesting and I'll have to check it out.

Thanks for your interest, everyone! We'd love to hear more about what books you'd be interested in, especially hard-to-find sci-fi classics. (If you make an account at and add books to your wish list, it'll help us see where demand is greatest so we can figure out where to prioritize our efforts in tracking down rights holders.)

@StephanieD -- we just launched two weeks ago; I'm gratified you heard about us so quickly! And yes, that's our theory; we work with the rights holders to set a price that will make them happy, and hope we can get them new fans and wider recognition while we're at it.

@Melissa -- copyright terms are super-complicated. In the US (not necessarily everywhere), works published before 1923 are public domain; works after that are subject to a complex set of possibilities which have changed several times. That's a big part of why we want to bring simplicity, by putting Creative Commons licenses on things so people KNOW they have the legal right to use them. And that's a big part of why our job is hard -- we have to determine whether works are in copyright, find the rights holders, talk to them, et cetera. At any rate, put those art books on your wishlist, and see if you can get your friends to do the same -- again, seeing demand for titles helps us decide where our work is most likely to be well spent.

I'm happy to answer any questions any of you might have.

Andromeda Yelton (the librarian at

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