Unglue.it celebrates the first successful campaign

Congrats to everyone at Unglue.it for the first successful campaign.  Here is the official press release:

Two hundred and fifty-nine supporters pledged a total of $7,578 to a campaign to “unglue” Ruth Finnegan’s 1970 classic, “Oral Literature in Africa”. The campaign, which lasted 33 days, topped the campaign’s target at 12:30AM EDT on June 20 with a little under two days to spare. As a result the book will be issued as an ebook with a Creative Commons Attribution license, opening it up to free use and reuse by scholars and readers around the world.

Unglue.it, the website that hosted the campaign, launched on May 17th with the goal of “giving ebooks to the world”.  Unglue.it allows rights holders of already published books to present “ungluing campaigns”. Site members can then pledge towards making the book available as Creative Commons licensed ebooks. If the campaign meets its goal, the ebook becomes freely available to everyone.

Unglue.it launched with five campaigns, but Finnegan’s book quickly emerged as the most attractive to Unglue.it‘s base of support in the library world. As Robert Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development at Columbia University, noted in the campaign comments, “If this new edition were published by standard means, Columbia’s library would almost certainly buy it at any reasonable price”. A surge of support emerged as the campaign neared its end, with 20% of the total coming in the 24 hours before reaching the goal.

The new edition will be published by Open Book Publishers of Cambridge, England, and made available to the world through the Internet Archive. Rupert Gatti, a co-founder of Open Book Publishers, commented: “We are very grateful to the hundreds of “ungluers” who have contributed to making this classic work and associated archival material freely available for the world to use, and re-use – and look forward to now making it happen.”

“The academic community is increasingly advocating Open Access publication of scholarship. This campaign goes to show that people recognise the importance of quality literature and research, and are prepared to pay to make these freely available to all. But this could not have been achieved without the well-coordinated platform provided by Unglue.it. We are excited by the possibilities Unglue.it presents, and look forward to working with Unglue.it again in the future.”

Eric Hellman, President of Gluejar, Inc., the company behind Unglue.it, added: “Yesterday was amazing. When Weezer (yes, the band) tweeted about us, we knew the momentum would be unstoppable. We had a flood of people from all around the world signing up to advocate and contribute. The entire team is deeply honored to help make this possible.”

About Unglue.it: Unglue.it (http://unglue.it) is a crowdfunding platform which rewards rights holders for making their ebooks available to the world under a Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org).  Unglue.it runs campaigns for previously published books, allowing book lovers to pledge toward giving them to the world.  When rights holders’ target prices are reached, they receive funds in exchange for issuing an unglued ebook edition which can be freely read, copied, and shared, worldwide.  For more information, seehttp://unglue.it/press .

About Open Book Publishers: Open Book (http://www.openbookpublishers.com/) is a scholarly publisher that is changing the nature of the traditional academic book.  Their authors range from early-career academics to eminent scholars, chosen on the basis of academic merit and public value through a rigorous peer review process.  As a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, they offer free online editions of their books to benefit scholars worldwide, while also selling traditional print and electronic copies.  This supports Open Book’s mission to spread educational materials to everyone, globally, not just to those who can afford it.

For more information please contact:
Eric Hellman
President, Gluejar Inc.

Rupert Gatt, Rupert.gatti@openbookpublishing.com
for Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth Finnegan
Alessandra Tosi, Managing Director,
40 Devonshire Road
Cambridge CB1 2BL
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 339929