There’s something fitting about the fact that Tor, which publishes a lot of books in which people think about what the future might look like, has decided to remove digital rights management protection from their ebooks. From the company’s press release:
“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.”
DRM-free titles from Tom Doherty Associates will be available from the same range of retailers that currently sell their e-books. In addition, the company expects to begin selling titles through retailers that sell only DRM-free books.
I don’t think that all DRM protections are inherently evil, though I think the limits on the number of devices on which you can consume content from Amazon and Apple could be higher to be responsive to consumers’ needs. But ditching DRM is a sign that Tor trusts its customers and wants to meet them where they’re at. More signals like that would be a welcome thing from the entertainment industry. Something like the movie industry’s Ultraviolet effort to bolster DVD sales by packing discs and digital copies together are sort of missing the point. They’re trying to create a new space rather than going to the cloud lockers and the means of distribution and consumption their consumers are already using day to day.