Unglue.it was set up in May to “unlock” hard-to-find titles and get them back into the hands of passionate readers. A Kickstarter for literary types, unglue.it crowdsources appreciation for classic books, soliciting donations from superfans with the aim of acquiring the rights and releasing them as free ebooks. Its first success, Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Literature in Africa, an authoritative study unobtainable for many years, was released a couple of weeks ago, and is now available to anyone, for free, with a host of new updates including audio material. For its author, its new availability to an African audience is particularly gratifying: “It is wonderful to think that it will now be freely read in the very continent it discusses.”
Publishers’ willingness to experiment makes a change from the insistence that price be determined by the effort that goes into producing something, and no doubt they’re enjoying the roaring sales. But by letting their ebooks practically be given away, they are complicit in eroding the value of their product. Macmillan’s CEO, John Sargent, recently warned that books are “in danger of becoming roadkill” in a digital war. It will be hard to tell who ran them over.
Hmm, smells like a bit of hand-wringing going on. I seriously doubt books are going to be devalued that much. Look at the market for music. People are willing to pay more for quality work or contribute to a Kickstarter campaign if they know what they are getting is quality work. Sure there are a lot of cheap books out there but readers aren’t stupid. They know the difference between crap and good writing. Freebies (or low-cost titles) are a good way to get people’s attention. Why do certain artists release free mixtapes periodically, along with full length albums? Because if someone is really into your mixtape or EP, they are more than likely to buy your full length work when it becomes available. I know I’ve become fans of particular artists because of free releases and have gone on to buy their work because I want to support their efforts. Many others have done the same thing.
I don’t care for the overly-dramatic headline but this is a very important piece of news. I can’t say I know much about Waterstones but I could see why they would do something like this. The publishing world is changing so rapidly that many bookstores are being forced to make tough decisions for the sake of their business. Hopefully for them, it will be the right choice for them
Article from the Guardian about the “e-book bubble.” Morrison makes some interesting points but I can’t say that I agree that it is a bubble. Especially since there is a bit of evidence out there that readers are starting to associate higher-priced titles with better-quality books and passing up cheaper books. I know that I didn’t start writing because I wanted to make millions as fast as possible. I wanted to make a living wage. That has always been my ultimate goal. Hopefully I will get there.
Born in the Central Valley, Renee has always been a strange person. When she's not busy writing, she can be found glued to her laptop, pestering her cat, rolling her eyes at the tv, or singing at the top of her lungs.