Apr 25 2012
Tom Doherty Associates - comprising the Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape, and Tor Teen imprints - has announced that their entire list of ebooks will be available DRM-free "by early July." In a separate, following notice, Tor UK said that it will do the same. Digital rights management (DRM) is the term used to describe any technology that limits the use of digital content on devices after sale.
President and publisher Tom Doherty writes: "Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time. 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." The company says that as part of the move, they "expect to begin selling titles through retailers that sell only DRM-free books."
Forsaking DRM, and/or experimenting with "lighter" DRM schemes that allow more customer freedom, has been under discussion at a number of houses recently, intensified in the wake of the agency pricing lawsuits and settlements. Tor/Forge are the first "Big Six" imprints to make this move, though Pottermore's recent release of DRM-free Harry Potter ebooks (watermarked in some versions; still encrypted if purchased for the Kindle or Nook platforms) remains the most prominent. The Tor move raises the likelihood that other big publishers will head in the same direction, and also increases the chance that they may do so by division or imprint rather than companywide.
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