Readers often wonder why e-books come with price points similar to print books, but with fewer rights to lend and share. In academic circles, some ask why scholarly and professional e-books are not published as Open Access (OA) texts, a publishing model which removes access and reuse barriers by granting those rights to readers upfront via licensing. While some publishers are releasing OA e-books, often in conjunction with a print version, the OA publishing model for e-books has not yet been widely explored.
One innovative solution comes from the team at Unglue.it which aims to “liberate” e-books. “Unglue.it crowdsources funding to payout the right holders, so that the work can be released freely to the world,” said Lauren Pressley, head of instruction at Z. Smith Reynolds Library. After meeting the campaign goal, the e-book is released as an open access e-book under a Creative Commons license.
Pressley’s So You Want to Be a Librarian became one of the most recently unglued e-books after reaching its campaign goal on Dec. 29, 2012. The book is now freely available to anyone worldwide, without restriction by platform, file type, or DRM (digital rights management, which prevents lending to others, switching e-reader platforms, etc.). When asked why she decided to do this, Pressley said, “I really believe in the importance of sharing information freely.”
While working as the microtext assistant at ZSR, Pressley realized that she wanted to become a librarian, and now, nine years later, Wake Forest is bidding her farewell as she departs for a new position at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech as the Associate Director for Learning and Outreach. Her library colleagues helped her unglue her e-book as one small way to thank her for her dedicated service to ZSR and Wake Forest.
“Though I might be working somewhere else, I’ll still think of my WFU family,” Pressley said. “I will really miss my colleagues, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, and the Wake Forest community. I have been involved with some really interesting and meaningful work, and was able to work with some of the best colleagues imaginable.”
Her last day at Wake Forest will be Friday, Feb. 8.
(Adapted from Z. Smith Reynolds Library Winter 2013 Newsletter)
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