Tor Books plan to end DRM may help end eBook format wars
Tor Books, the world’s largest science fiction publisher Tor Books, along with its UK sister company, Tor UK, announced that they will be eliminating DRM from its eBooks by the summer. This announcement made at the end of April has become a major event in the publishing history, marking the end for DRM, which hardware manufacturers and publishers use to limit how customers use or where they can purchase their digital content.
The biggest problem DRM had was that pirated versions of the eBooks were more convenient and flexible than purchased DRM-locked versions, as like other pirated content, they have the DRM removed and thus can easily be converted to work on any eBook reader. DRM also did not affect those pirating the books, as taking screenshots and running OCR effectively got around the DRM. As a result, DRM mainly affected the legitimate paying customers. Another problem is that if a book publisher switched distributer, customers may be forced to buy a new eBook reader that supports the new distributor’s DRM. For example, the Kindle will not work with a competing distributor’s DRM.
While people devoted to reading typically buy 100 to 150 titles a year, a typical person buys just a single book every year or two. It’s these occasional customers that are poorly served by DRM, since these are very unlikely to own an eBook reader or don’t know much about their device, leading to the likelihood of buying books that they will have trouble opening or not being compatible with their reader. When counted up, this customer base cannot be ignored either by the publishers.
By eliminating DRM, this will also end eBook format wars, as customers will be able to convert their eBooks to play on their reader, such as with the donation-based software Calibre. A strong DRM-free eBook market will also encourage manufacturer to produce low cost eBook readers that handle the various DRM-free eBook formats, where eBook customers no longer need to worry about the format at all when choosing a reader, either for themselves or as a gift. For example, at present, a customer buying a DRM-protected book on Amazon cannot read it on a Sony Reader, Kobo eReader, etc.
This Guardian article goes into in-depth detail about how killing DRM will be good news for readers, writers and publishers.
1 Comments on Tor Books plan to end DRM may help end eBook format wars
- Posts: 9578
- Posted on: 09 May 12 21:44
Perhaps they've learnt a lesson from the way the music market has changed.
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