J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore site recently opened their shop to allow the sale of Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free eBooks of Harry Potter’s adventures, and now she’s being joined in the DRM-free world by Macmillan’s TOR and Forge imprints.
This signals a big change in the eBook industry, and it’s one we’ve seen before. The music industry went through a similar change when iTunes signaled the end of audio DRM in the iTunes store.
While this move does run the risk of increasing piracy, if that is indeed an actual risk, it also means that paying customers don’t get penalized for being honest as they do right now. I have an extensive collection of Amazon Kinde eBooks for instance, and so I’m effectively locked into Amazon’s ecosystem. If I buy an eReader from a different manufacturer, I can’t bring my Amazon library over to it; they won’t work because of the DRM. When all my TOR titles go DRM-free, that restriction vanishes; I’ll be able to freely convert those TOR books into any other eBook format I want and read them on any device I want, now or in the future.
This is a huge win for many consumers, and has already gained Macmillan an awful lot of attention and praise just today. I can’t wait to see which imprints and which publishers are going to be the next to wade into these more open waters?
(via John Scalzi)