DRM: Not that great for books
Tor Books, a publisher of science fiction books, it going to be joining forces with Baen Books to release Tor's books in electronic formats. The most interesting part of this is that the books will be DRM-free. Here's a nice blog post from one of Tor's authors going into detail why the DRM-free move is a good idea. Some choice quotes:
Tor's not doing this because it's a golly-neat idea, they're doing it because it makes money -- or at the very least, makes money for Baen, a book publisher who happens to be in the same line of business as Tor.
The problem with digital rights management for literature is that there's a huge analog hole in the security called "books." Over at Baen's Bar, the online bulliten board run by the Baen folks, one of the members there describes how he's made an unofficial personal e-book version of Old Man's War with "a hardcover copy, an Epson scanner, FineReader 6.0, and some eyeball sweat."
The major problem for authors is not piracy but obscurity, as I and so many others have noted again and again and again and yet again after that. I'm doing pretty well as far as readers go, especially as a newer-ish novelist, but I wouldn't mind having more readers, and people sharing the book is one way to do that. Please, folks, won't you let your friends borrow a copy of my book? I thank you for your evangelism.
It's good to see that not all media distributors are adding knee-jerk DRM to their products and making the electronic consumption of their works a difficult thing for their honest customers. It's also good to see that going DRM-free is starting to be seen as a good business decision.