This, for example, is what he means by “unglue,” the concept that lies at the heart of Gluejar: “unglue (v.t.) For an author or publisher to accept a fixed amount of money from the public for its unlimited use of an e-book.”
Hellman wants us to consider, in other words, a world in which those who hold the rights to books agree to license them through a Creative Commons arrangement that protects author/publisher copyrights, enables the rights holders to maintain or pursue additional licensing agreements, and at the same time creates an environment in which public funding helps “unglue” the books for digital distribution.
Crowdfunding — something already in play within organizations as diverse as the Nature Conservancy, NPR, and Kickstarter — provides the fiscal fuel, making sure that both the creators of the book and Gluejar get compensated for their efforts.
1) Print publishing now has a cash-out Exit Strategy if this comes to pass.
2) Writers dumped by their publishers could have a new way to reach new readers. Think of their books so freely available, not locked into any one format, free from all public libraries too.
3) What if all public libraries pooled into one fund each year 1-2% of their budgets for this? They could compile a list of books they’d like to get and have their patrons vote for them. Also, patrons could also add to the fund out of their own pockets. Such active participation in public libraries could save them.
4) Those who hold rights to currently not-in-e and out-of-print books could have a way to bring them back to life by having the market decide their value up-front.
There are many, many more implications to this. Those are off the top of my head. But this has to be the most exciting books-related proposal I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s the first thing that has given me hope for both books and especially for public libraries.
I’d like to see this happen.