Well, that didn’t take very long. The first major publishing imprint has announced it is going to go entirely DRM-free. Tor/Forge has just posted a press announcement to Tor.com that its entire list of e-books will be available DRM-free, both through the current vendors and through retailers that can only sell DRM-free e-books, by July 2012.
“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.”
Well, good for Tom Doherty and Tor! Though the cynic in me has to wonder just how much this is related to Tor’s parent company, Macmillan, being one of the three companies that has chosen to fight the DoJ’s antitrust suit in court. Perhaps they see this as a way to appeal more to readers without having to lower their prices? But I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
It’s interesting to note that this is not the first time Tor has intended to go DRM-free. In 2006, Tor had planned to release some of its e-books DRM-free via Baen Webscriptions, and actually got so far as having several titles available for a day or so before execs at Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan, which owns Tor, shut it down immediately. Back in December 2007, Charlie Stross said he’d spoken to “unimpeachable sources” who claimed Tor would be reactivating the service “as soon as the lawyers finish sorting out the contractual agreements.”
Only took them four and a half years. I guess the wheels of lawyers grind slowly but fine.