Unbound: A Reader’s Dream

A couple weeks ago the final cinematic installment of the world famous Harry Potter series was released. This was the culmination of an impressive and elaborate effort by the J. K. Rowling. I will personally confess to staying up until midnight to purchase the latest books (even though I had already found bootlegged copies on the internet). I was caught up in the mystique and aura of the Hogwarts glow, eager to discover what would come next. She did not disappoint. Unless you consider *SPOILER ALERT* killing half the characters in the end, disappointing. ‘Twas a bit dark for my tastes but brilliant none the less. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another book by J. K. Rowling.

When it comes to reading books from our favorite authors readers are completely at the mercy of the authors and publishers. In a slightly different realm the fabled installment of the Duke Nukem Forever was over a decade in the making. Its tardy arrival was an ongoing joke among gaming enthusiasts. I can only imagine if that happened for the last book in the Harry Potter series. It was bad enough waiting until the announced release date.

What if there was a way to be more intimately involved in the book writing process? Where you could be the first to know when your favorite author is considering writing a new book. Or you could see drafts of chapters, exclusive interviews, and join discussions with the author and other avid fans. As it turns out these things have always happened. They’ve been the exclusive privilege of trusted friends and professional correspondents. Until now. Unbound is a new site that opens up the opportunity for people to support their favorite authors in upcoming books and become actively involved.

The way Unbound works is you first select an author and book that’s of interest to you. The authors are hand picked and most typically limited to those who are already published. All are welcome to apply though. In this case we’ll select Amy Jenkins, a romance novelist who’s planning the book, “The Art of Losing.” The book page consists of an intro video, description, excerpt, and bio of the author. It also has a timeline for gaining supporters, goals for how many supporters to attain, and progress indicators. If you’d like to join just click on the contribution level you’d like to offer to secure your position in the support club for that book.

The contributions are financial donations that people can make. Each level gives an increasing number of rewards. The most basic package permits you to be the first to receive the e-book. The most advanced includes two invitations to the book launch party, lunch with the author and Unbound founders, goodie bags as selected by the author, 2 signed personally dedicated editions of the 1st edition of the book, and 2 e-book editions. Contribution amounts range from £10 to £250. Unbound is based in the UK and all lunches and launch parties occur there.

The other sections of the book page include News, the Shed, Supporters, and Promoters. News includes general news for everyone to follow. The Shed contains the good stuff with draft chapters, interviews, and other notes from the author. Supporters is the equivalent to the long lines in book stores of fans waiting for the next edition to come out. You join this group when you contribute. The Promoters section encourages people to rally for more supporters. If people refer supporters they get a £1 credit and are recognized on the Promoters page.

Unbound is an intriguing site for those who find themselves enraptured in the upcoming works of their favorite authors. Sometimes it’s just not enough to wait for the book to arrive in the mail or pick it up at the store. They want to watch the action unfold. They’d like to know the author as a real person, not a figure cloaked behind the pages of their imagination. They want to read unabridged versions of Les Misérables. Unbound opens up that opportunity in unprecedented fashion, to everyone.