Wow, what a year!
59,932 unique visitors
2,678 registered users
12,462 dollars pledged
3 unglued books
If you took part in unglue.it in 2012, by registering, by pledging, by helping to spread the word, by reporting bugs, or by offering your works for ungluing, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It is a great honor to serve as your instrument of change in the world of reading and creating books, even if just a tiny bit.
Here’s what happened:
We unveiled a preview of the website in January. We were immediately reminded of the importance of optimizing slow database queries.
We got a lot of good response, but we waited and waited for PayPal to approve our business. It was very frustrating for us, but in retrospect, the delay allowed us to get the website to a good place.
We switched to Amazon Payments, and at long last, on May 17, we launched. Of the 5 campaigns we were running, one of them really took off. The campaign for Oral Literature in Africa succeeded one month later with 259 pledges totaling a bit more than $7,500.
The remaining campaigns suffered a bit from summer doldrums, but the rug really pulled out from under us when Amazon told us we couldn’t do crowd-funding any more. In the ensuing uproar, we gained over 800 registered users, even while we were closed for business! So there’s always a silver lining.
In September, we helped to release the unglued edition of Oral Literature in Africa.
On October 17, we relaunched with Stripe as our payments provider. We like Stripe a lot, and we hope you do, too.
December saw two campaigns succeed. The unglued edition of The Third Awakening is ready to read, for free. So You Want to be a Librarian will be available soon. Next up is National Book Award winner Love Like Gumbo.
The three books could not be more different from each other. Oral Literature in Africa is an academic classic. The Third Awakening was self-published through Smashwords. And So You Want to be a Librarian is book for prospective library school students from an independent publisher. We don’t know yet what genres of books will best fit the unglue.it model. Trying is really the only way to find out.
I am frequently reminded of the scene in Return of the King where Pippin asks Gandalf if there is still any hope for Frodo and Sam. “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope” says Gandalf.
It turns out that what we’re trying to do together with your help is really really hard. When we talk to people our model, we find that our task is to create new understandings of what books can be. We have to help people and institutions open themselves to the new possibilities. This sort of change is not easy.
Much change will come to pass in the coming year. Some of that change will be of our own devising, but more of it will come from you, and from people who have not yet heard of unglue.it.
Things are now set in motion that cannot be undone.