On July 4, 1971, Michael Hart made the text of the Declaration of Independence available on the arpanet (which is now the Internet). Although books in digital form certainly existed before that, many of us regard the beginning of Project Gutenberg as the birth of the ebook.
We have a bit more than 6 months until Unglue.it turns 10 so we thought it appropriate to look at where we are.
As of the end of June, the Unglue.it database of free ebooks included 95,181 titles. We should be over 100,000 by the end of the year. Of these, 61,941 come from Project Gutenberg and 28,708 from the Directory of Open Access Books; 4,532 from other sources
4.83 million ebooks have been downloaded from Unglue.it; we’re currently on a 3 million per year pace. So that’s a few.
Development on Unglue.it continues. To date, our open development repo has racked up 6,932 commits, or code improvements. There’s lots that we’d love to do , but haven’t had the time. Let us know if you’d like to help out.
Helping scholars unglue their books
We’re pleased to announce The Free Ebook Foundation Open Access Monographs Fund.
Scholars write books to spread their ideas, so it makes sense to make them free and available. We refer to these books as “monographs” because they usually embody the scholarship of a single author. Already, over 28,000 of these books are available to download from the Unglue.it database. Sadly, many more books are locked up behind paywalls – not because their authors want to make money, but because the publishers of these books need to recoup the cost of editorial work and design. Many new books will remain unpublished because the publishers who are committed to Open Access have insufficient resources to publish all the books deserving of wider audiences.
As a small step towards addressing these needs, we’re offering donors a chance to help us unglue more of these monographs by donating to a special fund. The fund will be used to match contributions to qualified ungluing campaigns on Unglue.it. To participate, authors should first work with a publisher to establish a campaign target, and then create an ungluing campaign. To get started ungluing your peer-reviewed book, follow the steps at our right holder tools page. Our staff will verify that the book has been or will be peer-reviewed and advances scholarship, science and learning. Resources from the fund will be allocated to maximize the success of the eligible campaigns. If you’d rather donate to a specific campaign, just donate to the campaign directly.https://unglue.it/rightsholders/
For a concrete example of a scholar we’ll be assisting, check out “As the Bandit Will I Confess You“. The book, the first comprehensive, critical overview of the early Christian interpretation of the story of the “Good Thief” in Luke 23.39-43, is a revised version of the author’s PhD dissertation at the University of Virginia.
The author, Mark Bilby, now a Scholarly Communication Librarian in the California State University system, is a passionate advocate for Open Access. His hope is that a successful campaign will inspire other scholars to start similar campaigns to unglue their books into Open Access.
So if you haven’t gotten a fiftieth birthday present for the Ebook, we think a donation to the FEF Open Access Monographs fund would be the perfect gift!