Unbound is an interesting new service that can help authors guarantee a minimum market for books before writing them. It’s similar in some ways to some of the services I discuss in Funding for Creation and Innovation in an IP-Free World, such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and The Point (used recently by Austro-libertarians Bob Murphy (to challenge Paul Krugman to a debate–$56k pledged so far) and Vijay Boyapati to raise almost $20k for the Mises Institute–see Jeff Tucker’s The Age of Micro-Patronage)).
Unbound is a new way of connecting with writers. Most of the writers on our site will be well known, others will appear here for the first time.
What’s different is that instead of waiting for them to publish their work, Unbound allows you to listen to their ideas for what they’d like to write before they even start. If you like their idea, you can pledge to support it. If we hit the target number of supporters, the author can go ahead and start writing (if the target isn’t met you can either get your pledge refunded in full or switch your pledge to another Unbound project).
There are several levels of support, each with different rewards. The higher your pledge, the greater the rewards you’ll receive, from your name in the back of the book to lunch with the author. Plus you can alert your friends and earn Unbound credits on the site when they support a project too.
But that’s not all. As soon as you make a pledge to support an Unbound project you gain access to the author’s private area or ‘shed’. Here you can get updates on the book’s progress, watch exclusive interviews, read draft chapters, find out information about the author’s backlist and join discussions with the author and other supporters. It’s a portal into to a new community of writers and readers: a place to comment on and contribute to a work in progress.
Then comes the exciting bit. The book is written, designed, edited and printed and we send it to you, either as an e-book or a beautifully bound, limited edition hardback (or both). For the first time, you will be able to hold in your hands a book that wouldn’t have existed without you.
See also my posts Examples of Ways Content Creators Can Profit Without Intellectual Property; The Creator-Endorsed Mark as an Alternative to Copyright; Innovations that Thrive without IP; also Triangulation Interview with Cory Doctorow (various creative ideas for making money from book publishing).