Unglue.it: Changing the future of E-books and Libraries?

Monday, January 23, 2012

My brother, Jeff, the famous juggler, ran with an extraordinary crowd.  The top performers at our Radnor High.  The electrical engineers and physicists of Princeton and then Stanford.  I never really knew what any of his friends were talking about, but I liked hanging out with them, feeling smarter than I was or ever will be, and if I sometimes typed a paper for one or the other or (amazingly) caught one of their Frisbee throws, they didn't mind too much if I later  joined them for bike rides in Palo Alto, walks through redwood forests, evenings on the glorious Princeton campus.

Eric Hellman was in the mix—a smart guy with a laconic sense of humor who went on to do bold things as a physicist before he fell in love with the idea of being a book entrepreneur.  Recently our paths crossed again as I became intrigued by Eric's newest business, something called Unglue.it—a new model for digitizing and sharing books that might, in the estimation of some, redefine the future of libraries...and of authors.

Today my feature story on Unglue.it runs in Publishing Perspectives.  I encourage authors who own the rights to books that have not yet been digitized to take a look.  There's opportunity here. 

Here's how my story begins.  Please consider reading the whole.
People, Eric Hellman is fond of saying, have a funny relationship to books. They’ll cram them onto shelves, stuff them several layers deep. They’ll talk about their love for them, defend them, take them to bed. They’ll buy several copies of their personal favorites and parcel them off to friends. Maybe books aren’t people and people aren’t books. Still: The line is thin.
My other stories for Publishing Perspectives can be found here:

The Value Rubric:  Do Book Bloggers Really Matter?

The Attraction-Repulsion of International Literature: My conversation with Alane Salierno Mason

Transforming Children's Book Coverage at the New York Times: My conversation with Pamela Paul

Success is when the world returns your faithMy conversation with editor Lauren Wein

Between Shades of Gray:  The Making of an International Bestseller 


Melissa Sarno said...

This is a fascinating concept and I will be interested to see how it shakes out. In a way, I think it is like Sundance, because it's not about finding the funding for project itself but investing in its distribution. I wonder, in this case, what is the return on that investment? But I like this kind of vision, this idea that people want to pay money to gift a book, not just to a friend or family member, but to the world.

Mandy said...

I really love your posts on Publishing Perspectives. I've enjoyed following along with them. This concept is interesting. I can see the potential tho I'm curious about how the pricing will work out. Will authors overvalue or undervalue their work?

Mandy said...
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Serena said...

I will have to check this out.

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