Amazon just let everyone know how they feel about the new ebook crowdfunding site Unglue.it. Amazon Payments has been the payment processor for Unglue.it since they launched in May, but last week they decided to pull the plug and halted all transactions from the site.
Apparently crowdfunding presents too many legal issues for Amazon to keep up with so they decided to reject all crowdfunding business in the future. The one exception to the rule will be Kickstarter, a general creative crowdfunding site that launched in 2009.
Unglue.it is a site that uses crowdfunding specifically for ebooks. The idea is to pool contributions from a large number of people that are interested in making an ebook freely available under a Creative Commons license. Each person contributes as much as they want toward the ebook campaign. The author or publisher that has the rights to the ebook then decides how much money it would take for them to be willing to make their ebook available under a Creative Commons license. If the campaign is able to raise enough money, the ebook will be available for free for everyone to read, copy, and share. The idea is brilliant since the authors and publishers will get the amount of money they want and readers will have access to free ebooks.
The concept is great for libraries as they can offer an unlimited number of unglued ebooks to their patrons for an unlimited amount of time. Libraries can even participate in campaigns to unglue books instead of trying to purchase ebooks. Just imagine how many books could be unglued if all the public libraries combined their ebook budgets and used the money in unglue.it campaigns.
It looks like we’ll have to wait awhile longer to find out. Unglue.it had to suspend all their campaigns once Amazon stopped processing their payments. They are actively working on switching to another payment processor.
In the meantime, visitors to the site can still register and vote for books they want to see in future campaigns. Unfortunately, the campaigns will remain stuck until Unglue.it can get itself unglued from Amazon.