Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the reason why ebook publishers do not allow users to share digital books. It's also the reason why changing a digital book's format is impossible to do. For a long time, digital publishers have been telling the general public that piracy would greatly increase were it not for DRM guidelines. What if none of that were actually true?
One Ebook Publisher Tests It Out
One year ago, Tor Books decided to do away with DRM guidelines. Guess what Tor Books is reporting today? Absolutely no increase in piracy. The UK bookseller told press that the move away from DRM protection has actually been extremely beneficial. Sales have increased, and consumers are more than happy to purchase books that are not protected by DRM regulations.
What about author support? Believe it or not, Tor has stated that authors more than support the new decision, and that both readers and authors are happy about the direction that Tor is headed in. Even if that direction means a place without DRM guidelines. How are the rest of the ebook publishers in the world taking this news?
Other Publishers Criticize Non-DRM Decision
Some publishers have attempted to make Tor Books revers the no-DRM decision. Others have tried to get Tor Books authors to rally against the company. All of this has been to no avail. Tor Books is doing just fine without the protection of DRM, and that's good enough for the ebook publisher. Plus, both authors and readers are more than happy with the way that things are, so why would the company change its popular policy?
But, there is a good reason why other ebook publishers aren't crazy about the no-DRM deal. For one, hiding behind DRM guidelines means that ebook publishers can make more money. If a digital book can't be resold or shared with anyone else, other readers seeking to read a book will have to purchase that book. Likewise, authors stand to make more money if books are sold more often -- but this isn't always the case.
Do DRM Guidelines Really Work?
The digital publishing industry stands behind these guidelines citing less piracy with the standards in place. Yet, Tor Books has proven that this is not actually the case. In fact, people are more compelled to buy additional books knowing that the books can be shared with friends. So, are the DRM standards even necessary? Or, are they just a way for companies to make more money?
Even though the latter explanation seems to be the truthful one, it doesn't look like additional digital publishers will be ditching the DRM factor any time soon. Rather, it looks like the DRM guidelines are here to stay, and Tor Books will be one of the few publishers to go the opposite direction.
What do you think about the DRM guidelines? Is this something that's necessary or not at all? As a writer, I can honestly say that the DRM guidelines seem to be more of a hindrance than anything else, which might be one of the main reasons why Tor Books writers aren't arguing.