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Old 06-05-2012, 09:46 AM   #1
stonetools
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Tor/Forge Books Announces DRM-Free E-book Store

The other shoe drops.

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On April 24, 2012, Tom Doherty Associates, publishers of Tor Books and Forge Books, announced that beginning in July, all of its e-books would be sold free of DRM.

Now Tom Doherty Associates is pleased to announce the impending debut of the Tor/Forge DRM-Free E-book Store, which will sell all Tor, Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen, and Orb e-book titles directly to readers—along with, eventually, offerings from other publishers as well.

“This isn’t in lieu of the existing online retailers, but in addition to them,” said publisher Tom Doherty. “We think there’s room for all kinds of retail models in the growing e-book field—and we aim in particular to provide a rich, informative browsing experience to fans and devotees of the kinds of books Tor and Forge have made their reputations publishing.”


LINK


Now you' ll recall when Tor announced it was going DRM free, I said that its not surprising that a Macmillan line was going to do that, since:

1.Macmillan is run by John Sargent,
2.DRM helps Amazon lock in customers according to some,
3.Sargent is willing to go to the line to beat Amazon(See last February's showdown).

Also too, I posted that the BPHs might be willing to do a "Pottermore" and sell direct DRM free to customers as a way of reducing their dependence on Amazon.

Well, lookee here. Tor. com is opening a DRM free book store. Charlie Stross, who swears that publishers "cut their own throats" by letting Amazon impose its own DRM on books, is a big booster of this strategy and swears it will be help smaller retailers . John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow say amen HERE.

Think this will work?

Last edited by stonetools; 06-05-2012 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
Charlie Stross, who swears that publishers "cut their own throats" by letting Amazon impose its own DRM on books, is a big booster of this strategy and swears it will be help smaller retailers .
Amazon don't "impose" DRM on anyone - they simply offer it as an option for those who choose to use it. Anyone is free to sell DRM-free books at Amazon.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Amazon don't "impose" DRM on anyone - they simply offer it as an option for those who choose to use it. Anyone is free to sell DRM-free books at Amazon.
Are you sure that's the case right now, because it wasn't at first. Yes using DTP you can choose DRM free, but publishers uploading through existing Mobipocket accounts to get their books in the Kindle store didn't have an option in the past, they had to use DRM. This according to what Tom Doherty (Tor) told Jeffrey A Carver (Tor author & MobileRead member) a few years back.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
Are you sure that's the case right now, because it wasn't at first. Yes using DTP you can choose DRM free, but publishers uploading through existing Mobipocket accounts to get their books in the Kindle store didn't have an option in the past, they had to use DRM. This according to what Tom Doherty (Tor) told Jeffrey A Carver (Tor author & MobileRead member) a few years back.
Yes, that is the case now. You're right - when KDP started up, it wasn't.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Amazon don't "impose" DRM on anyone - they simply offer it as an option for those who choose to use it. Anyone is free to sell DRM-free books at Amazon.
Stross' argument, not mine. Personally, I think Stross overstates DRM lock-in as a factor in Amazon's dominance. He argues thusly:

Quote:
DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform. If you buy a book that you can only read on the Kindle, you're naturally going to be reluctant to move to other ebook platforms that can't read those locked Kindle ebooks — and even more reluctant to buy ebooks from rival stores that use incompatible DRM. Amazon acquired an early lead in the ebook field (by selling below cost in the early days, and subsidizing the Kindle hardware price to consumers), and customers are locked into the platform by their existing purchases. Which is pretty much how they gained their 80% market share.

An 80% share of a tiny market slice worth maybe 1% of the publishing sector was of no concern to the big six, back in 2008. But today, with it rising towards 40%, it's another matter entirely.

As ebook sales mushroom, the Big Six's insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy[*], it has locked customers in Amazon's walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon's leverage over publishers. And unlike pirated copies (which don't automatically represent lost sales) Amazon is a direct revenue threat because Amazon are have no qualms about squeezing their suppliers — or trying to poach authors for their "direct" publishing channel by offering initially favourable terms. (Which will doubtless get a lot less favourable once the monopoly is secured ...)
LINK

I agree that Amazon didn't impose DRM at first-but they may not want to give it up now.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:26 AM   #6
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It's the publishers who are insisting on DRM, not Amazon. Stonetools can try to make it seem otherwise, but the publishers are the ones that are holding back the tide. Now that lock-in is coming back to bite them in the rear, literally.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaughnmr View Post
It's the publishers who are insisting on DRM, not Amazon. Stonetools can try to make it seem otherwise, but the publishers are the ones that are holding back the tide. Now that lock-in is coming back to bite them in the rear, literally.
You need to read what I wrote. I'm saying that according to Stross, the publishers did insist on DRM initially, and now its locking book buyers into Amazon . One BPH is now trying to go around that lock-in by offering a DRM free store selling one of its lines of books.
Now, frankly, I think that DRM lock-in plays little role in Amazon's dominance, since most of Amazon's customers don't know Amazon uses DRM (or even what DRM is) . But according to Stross and many of the digerati, going DRM free is the key to overturning the Amazon "monopoly".
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
But according to Stross and many of the digerati, going DRM free is the key to overturning the Amazon "monopoly".
Much as I respect Mr Stross's views, I strongly disagree with him about that. I don't think the typical punter is even aware of DRM. They buy from Amazon because of their great bookstore and customer service.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Much as I respect Mr Stross's views, I strongly disagree with him about that. I don't think the typical punter is even aware of DRM. They buy from Amazon because of their great bookstore and customer service.
I agree. For many, the only time they become aware of DRM is when they try to use their books on some other reader. As long as Amazon keeps them happy they will stay blissfully unaware.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:57 AM   #10
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Think this will work?
That depends on what one means by "work."

Tor is a genre publisher; as such, they have a much better chance of launching their own store than, say, a general interest publisher.

However, they do face a few challenges.
• The users will need to get the Tor ebooks onto their devices. In comparison, the big players (Amazon, B&N, Apple) all have free delivery directly to the devices.
• They need to execute at a very high level, or face irate and vocal complaints.
• This may deepen ties to their existing consumer base, but won't necessarily improve broader brand awareness.

In general it's a good thing, and I do expect we will see more of it. However, it's not a magic bullet, and I suspect that many consumers underestimate exactly how hard it is to run one's own store.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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It would be nice if the books they'll be selling would be offered multiformat (meaning buy once, download any offered format) like publishers such as Baen and Samhain do. Yes, I know there are various ways to convert, but a lot of average users don't want to have to bother with that. Anyone read anything as to formats for this new store?
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
It would be nice if the books they'll be selling would be offered multiformat (meaning buy once, download any offered format) like publishers such as Baen and Samhain do. Yes, I know there are various ways to convert, but a lot of average users don't want to have to bother with that. Anyone read anything as to formats for this new store?
At the bottom of the article it's stated that "As previously announced, Tor Books expects to offer all of their books DRM-free through all retailers by the end of the July." So it sounds like they are going to have their books available in the formats of their various retailers. If that's the case it seems plausible that they will offer the choice of which format to download from their own store.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #13
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Great thread! Nice variety of different opinions and great information.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Much as I respect Mr Stross's views, I strongly disagree with him about that. I don't think the typical punter is even aware of DRM. They buy from Amazon because of their great bookstore and customer service.
It is not just Amazon. Nook users probably buy most of their books from Barnes and Nobles. Kobo users probably buy most of their books from Kobo.

Just because they can buy from other stores does not mean that they do.
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:23 AM   #15
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So it sounds like they are going to have their books available in the formats of their various retailers. If that's the case it seems plausible that they will offer the choice of which format to download from their own store.
It would make a very good reason to buy from the TOR ebook store instead of Amazon or B&N or nook or Apple: Buy from TOR and have the ability to download both Kindle and ePub formats.

But I've no idea if that's what they're going to do.
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