Tor/Forge has announced, via a posting to blog Tor.com, the impending creation of a direct-to-consumer DRM-free e-book store, to carry SF books from Tor and fantasy books from Forge. The store is scheduled to go live sometime in “the summer of 2012,” which meshes with Tor’s prior announcement that all its books would be going DRM-free by July.
“This isn’t in lieu of the existing online retailers, but in addition to them,” said publisher Tom Doherty. “We think there’s room for all kinds of retail models in the growing e-book field—and we aim in particular to provide a rich, informative browsing experience to fans and devotees of the kinds of books Tor and Forge have made their reputations publishing.”
The e-book store will be hosted at Tor.com, as with the blog—an interesting choice, given that Tor-the-publisher has its own separate and distinct web site where it hosts links to its books, which would seem like a more natural choice to turn into an e-book store. Except that Tor.com has built that community and lots of traffic over the last few years, while I’d imagine a lot fewer people have any reason to go to Tor-the-publisher’s website.
I found it interesting that several posts in the comment thread said, essentially, that a DRM-free e-book store was very nice, but when was Tor going to fix things like excessive pricing and international region restrictions. I wonder the same thing—but given that Tor is part of Macmillan, a company concerned enough about consumers not getting the idea that e-books are “supposed” to be cheap to fight the Department of Justice’s antitrust case in court, I find it doubtful that the company will be lowering its e-book prices any time soon.
Update: Tor.com also has a post on the panel talk given by Tor authors John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, and Cory Doctorow at Book Expo America, along with Fritz Foy, Macmillan EVP Digital Publishing and Technology, in which they discussed why Tor is going DRM-free and launching its own e-book store.