This one slipped by me when it was first announced, almost a month ago. Tor Books, my publisher, has announced that all of their ebooks will be going DRM-free. (DRM is the digital right management—or copy protection—that on most books from major publishers locks purchased books to a single type of reading device.) Here’s the announcement in part:
Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen, today announced that by early July 2012, their entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free.
“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”
This is great news for ebook readers everywhere, whether they use Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Androids, Sony Readers, or anything else. Baen Books has for years been the only big SF publisher that has eschewed DRM, and it has served them and their readers well. Tor’s move may represent a break from the practice of the parent company, Macmillan U.S.; it may also be the first crack in the wall of the Big Six publishers, whose ebook publishing practices have been fairly anti-consumer for some time now. Instead of treating their customers as criminals who can’t be trusted with the books they’ve paid for, Tor/Forge will now be treating them as, well, valued customers.
No word yet on whether this signals a change in Macmillan’s policy of not selling ebooks to libraries, or whether customers who previously purchased DRM-restricted Tor/Forge books will be able to replace them with DRM-free editions.
My own policy has always been, if you’ve bought one of my books with DRM and it’s causing you any problems in reading it on the device of your choice, just let me know. I’ll personally replace it with a DRM-free copy.