Unglue.it and Open Book Publishers launch new campaign

Happy to see another campaign being launched at Unglue.it.  This title is really unique.  It’s an English language book about Mumbai’s unique Dabbawala food delivery co-operative, Feeding the City.  Below is more from the press release:

Unglue.it is pleased to announce a second crowdfunding campaign from the nonprofit UK company Open Book Publishers for the first English translation of Sara Roncaglia’s Feeding the City, an ethnographic study of the dabbawala co-operative system of lunch delivery in Mumbai.

Unglue.it is a crowdfunding site that lets book lovers pay authors and publishers to make their already-published books free to the world under a Creative Commons license.
This is the second campaign from Open Book Publishers, who released the Unglued Ebook of Oral Literature in Africa by Ruth Finnegan in September 2012, which can be downloaded at http://unglue.it/work/81834/.  (More than 3,000 total CC-licensed ebook copies of Oral Literature in Africa have been downloaded from sites all over the world since publication.)

In this new campaign OBP wants to make this the ebook of another unique ethnographic study available for free, forever, to the world:  If $7,500 is raised from Unglue.it supporters by May 31, 2013, the English translation of Feeding the City will be released as a free, Unglued Ebook by July 2013, along with the hardcover and paperback editions to be sold by Open Book Publishers.

The dabbawalas of Mumbai were cited by Forbes magazine in 1998 as a Six Sigma success story and have consequently become a Harvard Business School Case study.  Nevertheless there is no single book devoted to this cooperative example that would be available outside academic libraries or freely available to those in India and other countries.  As a consequence, those who might most benefit from understanding the multi-faith and intercultural uniqueness of this long-standing indigenous Mumbai enterprise cannot read more about its history and its cooperative philosophy.

Sara Roncaglia’s Feeding the City, originally available only in Italian, will help remedy this lack of access.  In India, the number of speakers of English is second only to Hindi. With the English open access version of Feeding the City we can ensure that as many of those 125 million people as possible can read about the Mumbai dabbawalas.   Furthermore, the CC BY license allows for further translation from English into indigenous languages.

Work as Worship

Sara Roncaglia makes clear that the dabbawalas are not only an example of effective logistics but of ethnic, religious and class cooperation.  Giving employment and status to thousands of largely illiterate villagers from Mumbai’s hinterland the dabbawala co-operative has been in operation since the late nineteenth century.  In the 21st-century it still provides one of the most efficient delivery networks in the world: only one lunch in six million goes astray.  In Feeding the City Sara explains how the dabbawalas cater to a diverse and increasingly global city, where the preparation and consumption of food is pervaded with religious and cultural significance.

As the current President of the dabbawala association says:
We distribute food to everyone we meet. We must help everyone. We protect our neighbours. If you have much, then give to the poor. God also gave life to the poor. Do not set them aside. God will give them something good. Everyone has feelings in their minds. Everyone should earn together and share. Eat together, putting things together, living together.
— Raghunath Medge, President of  Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust

More information on Dabbawalas

Thomke, Stefan H., and Mona Sinha. “The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery, Every Time.” Harvard Business School Case 610-059, April 2011. (Revised from original February 2010 version.)

“Amazing story of Mumbai Dabbawalas:”
“In 1998, Forbes Global magazine, conducted a quality assurance study on the Dabbawalas’ operations and gave it a Six Sigma efficiency rating of 99.999999; the Dabbawalas made one error in six million transactions.”

About Unglue.it:
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, noncommercially, worldwide. Find out more: https://unglue.it/press.

Contact Information:

For Unglue.it
Eric Hellman
President, Gluejar Inc.

For Open Book Publishers:
Alessandra Tosi
Managing Director, Open Book Publishers

40 Devonshire Road
Cambridge CB1 2BL
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 339929

About Open Book Publishers: Open Book 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 booksto 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.