UPDATED Dumped by Amazon, Unglue.it chooses Stripe as new payment processor
Hellman realized that the business models for ebooks and libraries was a challenge, particularly one of available content.
“What I decided was important was to find a new way for books to enter the public commons,” says Hellman. “Because copyrights last so long, things aren’t coming into the public domain in a timely way.”
Hellman looked to the success of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter for inspiration. “I thought that one possible way for books to enter the public commons was for people who care about them, people who want to share those books, to pay the rights-holder" to make them available through a creative commons license.
Unglue.it launched in May with five campaigns. One of those, Finnegan’s “Oral Literature in Africa,” took off and was published on Sept. 12. (Download it here.)
Hellman says Unglue.it's focus is on backlist titles, those whose rights have reverted to their authors. He adds that academic books are a good match for Unglue.it “because people write them not to make money but as part of their academic work. It’s a good fit with the authors’ motivations. There are a number of publishers who are starting to experiment with open access in that market, and those markets tend to be easy to reach,” says Hellman. “The communities are relatively close-knit and we can reach them without too much difficulty. It’s hard to know what other areas might work. We really don’t know yet.”
Unglue.it’s main challenge at present is finding a new payment processor after Amazon Payments discontinued working with the company, claiming it was no longer “boarding fresh crowdfunding accounts at this time.” (Amazon processes payments for Kickstarter and had been doing the same for Unglue.it.)
The company’s adopted an “onward and upward” attitude toward the dust-up, proclaiming on its blog: