Read all the installments of “My DRM-Free Year”
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DRM-FreeIt’s been a busy month for me, work-wise, so I haven’t had that much reading time—I logged just five books this month, which is pathetic. But this doesn’t reflect my daily reading. I have a few longer-term books I’m reading (a book of daily essays, some reference books) which should bump my total when they’re done, but that won’t be for some time. I also have a special reading project I’m working on, which I’ll explain shortly.

So … how is my DRM-free year going?

The Library

DRM-freeI’m still reading from them! My objection to DRM is solely from a purchase standpoint—I won’t buy a book I can’t own. But the library DRM feels OK to me. We all know it’s a borrow going in, so I’m OK with it expiring when I’m done. Library borrows this month included an older Nora Roberts title I somehow missed when it came out; a really interesting memoir by Dara-Lynn Weiss, a mother who made waves with a Vogue article she wrote about putting her young daughter on a diet; and a reserve from January that finally came due.


I succumbed to the buzz about the Wool series and bought both the original omnibus (which I reviewed for TeleRead) and its sequel. I know that author Hugh Howey is famously anti-DRM and sure enough, the book was unencrypted, so it was easy to move into Calibre and convert for my Kobo and iPad. I greatly enjoyed the book, and have the sequel on my virtual to-read pile once I finish some other stuff.

Project Gutenberg

I was able to retrieve my books from Delphi Classics following their site erasure debacle, but the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I may pick up the occasional new release with a coupon code, but they’ve fallen off the must-buy watchlist for me.

DRM-freeSo, where to go next? Project Gutenberg, of course! I think Project Gutenberg is one of the best gifts the Internet has given the world, and I’m eager to explore the site’s riches. The one issue for me, though, is that the formatting on some of the books is a little rough. So I have a few beloved favorites, not available elsewhere, that I plan to download, clean up, and put on MobileRead for others to enjoy.

I also plan to put together a few custom anthologies—I want to compile the poetry I especially enjoy into one giant Favorites anthology, and I want to put together a short story collection as well. I will, of course, share when I’m done!

Stay tuned for further updates next month. I have my March break coming up, so I’ll get in a lot of reading time!


  1. I always thought Amazon labeled books without DRM so customers could tell. A quick check of my own shows that there is no “DRM free” label, but there is a line:

    Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

    That line also occurs in the the info about Hugh’s Wool and doesn’t appear for several books I checked put out by traditional publishers. My guess is that’s the giveaway as to whether an Amazon book has DRM or not. Maybe it’s just the indie authors I hang out with (those on Kindle Boards), but I think most savvy indie authors put their books on Amazon without DRM. It’s a choice we’re allowed to make.

  2. I believe the lack of a device limit is indeed an indicator of a lack of DRM. None of my books have DRM and they all have the Unlimited indicator. In the KDP platform interface that a self-published author sees, this is a simple radio button option: DRM, yes or no. Furthermore, there is a warning that unlike the price, once this is set it cannot be changed.

  3. “Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited”

    Yes this indicates there is no DRM, but there is no explicit label on any books except those from Tor which say “At the publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied”.

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