Creative Commons has become quite popular in many fields, but it so far hasn’t had much luck with recently published books. Lack of compensation is the central issue. To solve this problem, Unglue.it has come up with an innovation way to pay authors in exchange for releasing their work under the Creative Commons license.
Crowdfunding is the key. Unglue.it negotiates with rights holders to find a one-time sum they’d be willing to accept in exchange for releasing their books under the license. The book is then listed on the service’s website and fans can pledge donations in support of the goal.
As is the case with other crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, larger donations usually result in additional benefits. Donating $25 could place your Unglue.it username in the “supports” section of the resulting ebook, while donating $1000 might buy you one-on-one time with the author. The exact benefits of donation vary from book to book.
So far only one book of the five books listed, Oral Literature In Africa, is close to its goal. All other titles (which have larger goals between $11,000 and $25,000) currently have reached 5% of the required total or less. The site has just launched, so it’s hard to say if this is a service that people want to pay for or if there’s not much interest in making books available under the Creative Commons.
What do you think? Would you donate a few bucks to make a book free for everyone?