back to article Major science fiction publisher to zap DRM

Specialist Sci-Fi publisher Tom Doherty Associates, best known for its Tor, Forge and Starscape imprints, is calling time on DRM.. From today, its e-book offerings will be free of digital rights management shackles, TDA said. As well as TDA's US output, the move will apply to Pan Macmillan, which offers Sci-Fi titles in the …

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  1. Slow Joe Crow
    Alien

    I think it was competitive pressure

    Baen, http://baen.com/ the other huge SF publisher in the US has been DRM free from the start and has a policy of giving away back catalog for free and allowing copying and redistribution of the CDs bundled with some of their books. According to author Eric Flint, this dope dealer business model has driven sales of series and related works since the free ebooks create demand for paid ebooks and paper copies.

    1. Justicesays
      Thumb Up

      If only they could make a decent website

      The Baen websites (baen.com and webscription.net) are pretty awful, but I do appreciate their book prices and DRM free stance.

      Bought a book from them last night in fact , $6 and my choice of DRM-free format to download in.

      This was a new release title mind, although you can pay $15 for a pre-release copy (with whatever spelling issues etc. might still be in there) and get it a bit earlier.

      Best if you like military sci-fi / fantasy , as thats what they specialize in.

      1. Dave Bell
        Linux

        Re: If only they could make a decent website

        The look of the Baen website isn't the best, but it works. By my definition, that's a decent website.

        Your eyeballs may vary.

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: If only they could make a decent website

        That's just tradition. Baen covers are notorious for their crappiness so the website has a lot to live down to.

  2. Gideon 1

    Erm, Douglas Adams isn't likely to be telling them to drop DRM anytime soon, he's dead.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      If you can find where the article says this, let us know!

    2. Si 1

      I think the Megadodo Publishing Corporation has been putting pressure on them.

  3. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    Yay

    Now just need to find an epub supplier for them and I'll have myself a lot of ebooks. Though I still might get the pbooks anyway.

  4. Dan Paul
    Pirate

    I will buy more of their Hardcopy because of this decision

    Folks,

    I have close to 3,000 hard and softcover science fiction books from the last 30 years and probably another 1,000 of old technical/instruction books that go back to early 1900's.

    I will gladly purchase more from Tor specifically for their decision to get rid of DRM even if I am no fan of E Books.

    Call me a luddite but I like physical media, especially books. There is substance and permanence with paper books that just cannot be had with E Books.

    When technology fails, paper books can always be read and they have no DRM or region codes and they can't be retracted like Amazon did with Orwells 1984.

    Rules, regulations and technology that can or do interfere with the availability of knowledge are among the most despicable things on earth. The 1% wants the 99% to be an unknowing, unquestioning "Idiocracy" and they cannot be allowed to win. DRM is only one front against the 1% that must be conquered.

    1. Figgus
      Facepalm

      Re: I will buy more of their Hardcopy because of this decision

      "Rules, regulations and technology that can or do interfere with the availability of knowledge are among the most despicable things on earth. The 1% wants the 99% to be an unknowing, unquestioning "Idiocracy" and they cannot be allowed to win. DRM is only one front against the 1% that must be conquered."

      I'm pretty sure the 99% had the ability to legally buy and view the ebooks even with the DRM. Perhaps you need to cut back on the Kool-aid?

  5. Kevin Johnston

    Baen

    For a long time now I have purchased the physical books and collected the CDs where they have included them. This gives me the best of all worlds as like many I have a very large collection of both paperback and hardback books but when I am away for short periods it is nice to have a large chunk of the library with me as ebooks.

    The Baen philosophy has got me to try new authors as a result of reading a sampler ebook and they have had more money out of me that I like to admit.

    Kudos.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality Sci Fi - DRM Free

    I've recently been reading quite a lot of Sci Fi in Stanza on my phone. OK for the trip into work

    Currently enjoying a collection of short works from the Feb 1930 issue of Astounding Stories. Classic gear, with similar stories rehashed ad infinitum in paper and on screen. Available in a wide variety of formats from ManyBooks. Not affiliated in any way, just enjoying it.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Must be getting old.

    I haven't even read through the latest Neal Stephenson telephone book... or Gardner Dozois latest few yearly 1-kg compilations of shorts. How can I consume all this stuff???

    In my times, getting ahold of SciFi involved ACTUAL WORK and asking the frowning lady at the counter to please order the stuff. Which then never arrived or was "no longer in print" Oh my.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HitchHiker's Guide was free from the get-go

    I wonder how many people realise that a big part of the popularity of HHGTTG was driven by the first book being given away free to people who sent off for it? Of course they had already planned on books 2 and 3 and wanted to hook people but cool even so.

  9. Blarkon
    Facepalm

    DRM and Locks

    I've seen the argument that given that a competent hacker can strip the DRM from a file, that it's pointless. I wonder if these people also don't bother locking their house as a competant lock picker can open those locks in just a few moments.

    The jury is out as to whether or not this will cause a jump, a slide, or make no difference to sales. What it will do is make it easier to locate this stuff posted on pirate sites because just like locks on house doors don't stop the skilled, DRM free means that the barrier to "sharing with all your mates on the Internet" is a lot lower.

    1. RIBrsiq
      FAIL

      Re: DRM and Locks

      The difference is that a competent lock smith will have to turn up in person and do her thing at each and every lock, whereas a single breach of the DRM means there's now an easy-to-copy copy of the protected work out there.

      Clear?

      If you want further evidence, or a practical demonstration, just look around and see all the movies, ebooks, games and whatnot floating out on the 'net. 99% of that has DRM on it in its source format. Surely if DRM did anything it was supposed to do there wouldn't be so much of this stuff out there clogging up the Inter-tubes...?

    2. Ben 42

      Re: DRM and Locks

      "locks on house doors don't stop the skilled"

      Here's the thing, you don't have to be skilled to strip DRM from books these days. In fact, it's pretty trivial for most formats.

      For the hypothetical record, if I were to strip DRM from books like that it would be so I know I can read them in 10 years, not to share them. I wouldn't buy eBooks that were irrevocably tied to the store I bought them from.

  10. Dave Bell

    Both the US and UK announcements seem to describe the same scheme, a three-month transition to DRM-free, and I suspect new releases, after a week or two, will be DRM-free from both.

    I'm not finding it easy to find anything published by Tor books on Amazon, they don't appear to have a search-by-publisher option. They've had hissyfits with Macmillan before, but I could just be using the wrong search terms.

    They tell me that nothing in the Kindle Vanity-Slushpile is DRM-free. Back to Gutenberg, I suppose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Kindle does support some standard formats (I would not have bought one otherwise). If Amazon doesn't provide Tor books then perhaps not having to manage DRM will make it easy for the publisher to sell direct like Baen does.

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