Tor UK is to follow its US sibling by taking Digital Rights Management (DRM) off its e-book titles. US science fiction list Tor become one of the first mainstream imprints to say it intended to put its books out without DRM. Tor, Forge, Orb, Starscape and Tor Teen—all parts of Macmillan USA—said that from July 2012, its entire list of e-books would be made available DRM-free.
The move to abandon DRM on e-books has built up recently with industry observers believing that such a move could help to break Amazon's hold over the fast-growing e-book market, while enabling e-book lovers to shift e-books more easily between devices.
"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."
Other related publishers such as Baen and Angry Robot already sell their e-books without DRM.
In the UK Tor said it would make its ebooks DRM-free over the next three months. "We know that this is what many Tor authors passionately want. We also understand that readers in this community feel strongly about this," says Jeremy Trevathan, Pan Macmillan's fiction publisher.
According to Mike Shatzkin, the removal of DRM across e-books is now under serious discussion.
In a blog written after the London Book Fair, Shatzkin noted: "I heard a rumor from a very reliable source that two of the Big Six are considering going to DRM-free very soon. The rumor is from the UK side, but it is hard to see a global company doing this in a market silo. Another industry listener I know was hearing similar rumors from different sources."