Tor goes DRM free
This one is fascinating news!
that all of its e-books (both in the USA and the UK) will be DRM (Digital Rights Management) free by July of 2012.
It’s a bold move by a major publisher (Tor is part of Macmillan) and this will be watched closely by the industry.
Let’s start out with what it means.
DRM is typically accomplished by inserting code into a book file (in this case) to control its use.
For example, DRM might prevent someone from copying a file, or converting it to another format, or accessing it through text-to-speech.
Many people on the internet have expressed distaste (and that’s putting it mildly) for the concept.
Releasing a book DRM free means that purchasers can buy it from the Kindle store and convert it for use on a NOOK.
It doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want with the file. You are still bound by laws and your license agreement.
Here is what I think people may not see as the unintended consequence of this: more legal prosecution of pirates (even unintentional ones).
That’s what I have liked about DRM (although there are things I don’t like). It’s a preventative measure, not a punitive one.
It doesn’t stop serious pirates, we know that.
Suppose you buy a book file, and your license agreement says you can’t copy it for anybody else. Of course, you haven’t read that. If there is an electronic prohibition, when you send it to your grandparent, you get a call: “It says I can’t use it.” You say, “Oh, well…sorry about that.”
If there is no electronic prohibition, your grandparent opens it.
The publisher could, hypothetically, go after you for that violation…and that might not be pretty.
Those are the choices: prevention or prosecution, basically.
Amazon gives publishers using their Kindle Direct Publishing the choice to include DRM or not. I don’t know what the statistics are as to how many do. It’s odd to me that it doesn’t say it explicitly on the product page…I’d like to see a lot more things on the product page, but that’s a different issue.
So, are you likely to care about what Tor books does?
I think so.
They do mostly science fiction and fantasy…and well known ones, at that.
There is a major movie being made of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, for release November 1st of next year. That’s a Tor book…and a widely-read one. I’d be willing to say it is some young people’s favorite book.
Here is a search for
Other imprints of theirs are included
Oh, and they do say that the books “…will be available from the same range of retailers that currently sell their e-books”. That certainly suggests you’ll still be able to get them at Amazon.
There is some interesting back story on this, since I think Macmillan formerly cracked down on Tor releasing some books without DRM. Does this signal a shift? If it works for Macmillan, will other big publishers follow?
It will be interesting to watch.
What do you think? Will these books get a sales boost? Will there be a crackdown on infringement? Is this the beginning of open e-books being the norm? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.